You may have recently read some stories talking about Disney’s disappointment in the performance of Avengers: Age of Ultron and how it could mark the end of the superhero genre! Ahh it’s the end of days, everything is falling apart! Seriously though the hyperbole in some of the articles I’ve read about this topic have been ridiculous. But with a rational mind let’s discuss whether Avengers: Age of Ultron was a failure.
So according to Bleeding Cool, Disney execs were not happy with the performance of Avengers: Age of Ultron. The movie wound up doing $1.4 billion worldwide ($457 domestically) on a $250 million dollar budget. In comparison the first Avengers did $1.5 ($623 domestically) billion on a $225 million dollar budget. These numbers show that internationally Avengers: Age of Ultron did similar numbers compared to the first one, however the domestic gross has gone down. Although $457 million domestically is nothing to complain about, it’s a miracle for most movies to even get that worldwide.
And of course critically the movie wasn’t received as overwhelmingly positively as the first Avengers. The first Avengers is currently sitting on 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, whilst the sequel is on 74%. Audience response was more divided on Avengers: Age of Ultron, however overall most people enjoyed it.
Bleeding Cool went on to say that Kevin Feige used this disappointment as leverage to dissolve the Marvel Creative Committee’s power over Marvel films. And what is the Marvel Creative Committee? They’re basically the guys, including the infamous Ike Perlmutter, that Feige had to answer to. Bendis who is part of the committee described their role as, “They have us go through every outline of every draft of the script as they come in, and we give notes, and then meet on the phone or in person for hours at a time, sometimes just by ourselves, and sometimes with the filmmaker.”
So it seemed like they were pretty hands on, giving suggestions on improvements to make. The committee will still be in charge of television, however Feige will answer to Disney now. And whether that ends up being for better or worse, I guess we’ll find out. People seem to be concluding that this will mean that Marvel movies will be the best they’ve ever been without the committee’s interference. However this is the committee that brought us movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Winter Soldier, so they must not be all bad.
Anyways back to Avengers: Age of Ultron, maybe Disney did consider Avengers: Age of Ultron a failure, however what exactly were they expecting? Normally sequels to popular franchises make more money the second time around if the first was so well received, so it was surprising that Age of Ultron grossed less than the first one, but not by much.
Also considering the novelty effect the first film had, it was a new concept, bringing in together different superheroes from other films into one big team-up, I’m sure that added to receipts. Now we can watch a trailer with Batman and Superman fighting each other, and watch an Ant-Man movie where Falcon pops up, superhero crossovers aren’t as new and exciting anymore.
But regardless Avengers: Age of Ultron still made $1.4 billion dollars worldwide, and I think it’s a little worrying if we start considering that number a failure. We’ve started to enter into a culture of overly heightened expectations that surely cannot be met.
I’ve recently read some articles about the box office predictions for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and they’re pretty high. People are concluding that Star Wars will beat Jurassic World’s opening weekend and gross total. And whilst I agree it will probably beat the worldwide gross, Star Wars is opening in December, and to think it could do over $200 opening weekend is a pretty high expectation. It’s a possibility I guess but the highest opening weekend in a December has been $83 million. Now I already know that with these high expectations for Star Wars that if they do $175 opening weekend there are going to be headlines considering that number a failure.
I think it’s time to start adjusting our expectations and stop assuming that every big movie will easily break $2 billion at the box office. Next thing we know if Civil War grosses $900 million worldwide we’ll be deeming that a failure. And if Doctor Strange does $500 million, that too will be a disappointment.
I’m sure that the gross of Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t mark the beginning of the end for Marvel, so let’s all just calm down with the dramatic headlines and enjoy the greatness that’s going to come in 2016!
Categories: comic book movies