Anthony Stokes on whether Avengers: Age of Ultron will out-gross The Avengers…
Marvel Studios is on top of the world when it comes to box office success and is just two months away from the Marvel Cinematic Universe becoming the highest grossing film franchise of all time when Avengers: Age of Ultron hits screens. Avengers: Age of Ultron is a shoe in to be one of the highest-grossing films of 2015 and might even break a few records. However, what I don’t think it will do is make more than its predecessor (which earned over $1.5 billion worldwide in 2012), and for a few reasons.
Let’s talk about the top five highest grossing films of all time, what they mean and why they ended up in the top five. Avatar at number one on $2.788 billion followed by Titanic ($2.788 billion), The Avengers ($1.519 billion), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($1.342 billion) and Frozen ($1.274 billion). What do all of these movies have in common? They’re cultural landmarks in cinema. Avatar ushered in an era of 3D movies, Titanic hit four quadrants, made technical achievements, and opened up the winter as a lesser utilized blockbuster season, The Avengers was the culmination of the first phase of the Cinematic Universe, Harry Potter was the finale in the most successful film franchise of all time, and Frozen was so popular that its song “Let It Go” is still the topic of discussion a year after. These movies struck the right cords at the right time and had they came out a different time, I don’t think they’d have made as much money.
So why was The Avengers so successful really? I’ve already touched on that it was an event and somethings that’s never been done before. Since its release it has a heavy effect on other superhero movies, for better (X-Men: Days of Future Past) or for worse (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). It also had a magic way of appealing to pretty much every demographic, but not really by pandering. It was funny, which gave it repeat viewing appeal and made people, including myself, see it 2-3 times in the theater. It also had the benefit of being what most consider to be a really great movie.
I know people like to dismiss The Avengers because it’s so popular and it doesn’t have a focus on story on the level of an Oscar-winning drama, but for what it was I think it’s a damn good movie. And people agreed, and people flooded to go see it. So much so that it flattened Dark Shadows and Battleship to the point were it basically had no competition for about a month. Lack of competition is almost entirely what made Avatar, Frozen and Titanic so much money. Avatar opened up low but then repeated its opening weekend gross almost two months straight.
So this brings us to Avengers: Age of Ultron. In order for this movie to do Avengers numbers it has to be as good, bring in repeat viewers, open as high or close to the first movie, and crush the competition for about a month. If any of these elements are missing it’ll take Harry Potter’s spot at best. And even if it ticks all the boxes there’s no guarantees it will reach third place. A billion and a half is not something that can be duplicated very easily, so while it is sure to perform very well indeed, don’t be too shocked if it takes a back seat to The Avengers.
Anthony Stokes is a blogger and independent filmmaker.