Hulk Box Office Smash: What The Success of the Avengers Could Mean for Hollywood

by: Molly Geoghegan

As the perhaps the greatest collaboration of super heroes, super geniuses, and demi-Gods the world of movies has ever seen, The Avengers came out at the top of the box office for the second week in a row.  Josh Whedon’s highly anticipated hit has smashed multiple records at the box office including best all-time weekend gross—beating even Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2—and is now the film to fastest reach $100 million, $150 million, and $200 million.  It looks like the power of anticipation—and advertising—with this cast of superheroes has, indeed, paid off.

The film remains action packed from the first scene, whether it’s the Avengers fighting among themselves or the Avengers fighting off a giant alien invasion.  In the first scene, Loki—Thor’s half brother—comes to earth to take the Tesseract—a cosmic cube that has (obviously) the power to destroy earth and, or, control all its’ inhabitants.  As protectors of their planet, Samuel L. Jackson—I mean, Nick Fury—calls “The Avengers” together.  Consisting of the Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Captain America, and Thor, the idea was “to bring together a group of remarkable people, so that when we needed them, they could fight the battles that we never could.”

While the film is accessible to those who have not seen all the Marvel films—or even picked up a comic book for that matter—a certain knowledge of their past as superheroes and their past  before they were superheroes is vital.  The script is filled with references to previous experiences, providing much of the comedic elements.

More than the predictable, save-the-earth conflict that The Avengers follows, the true fun lies in seeing the interactions of six of the coolest—and hottest—superheroes that the Marvel world has to offer.  Hollywood has been receiving a lot of flack for the amount of sequels, prequels, and re-makes it has been producing over the past decade.  While the reasons for this are the consequences of the entirely different subject of the film industry’s slow decline, this idea of the collaboration of characters with superhuman stature from different movies might provide a good strategy for La La Land to hold on to what nuggets of gold they still have.

However, this idea is not necessarily a new one.  Remember when Scary Movie came out in 2000?  Everyone was excited to see all of their favorite horror film schticks wrapped into one, all-encompassing mock-up of the genre.  And with the following Scary Movies 2, 3, 4, and later Epic Movie, this was clearly a successful idea.  Just as only the truly dedicated fans will be rewarded with the “inside jokes” the Avengers share, by referencing things only scary movie connoisseurs would know, it created a sense of community.  What makes Avengers different is that it does not make fun of itself.  The scenes where Thor breaks up a fight between Iron Man and Captain America or when they make subtle references to their past run-ins with arch enemies is done not only smoothly, but believably so.  If you loved watching Mark Ruffalo turn into his Hulk form in The Incredible Hulk, why wouldn’t you love seeing him do it amongst Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man or next to Scarlett Johansson?

So with a smashing domination at the box office for the first two weekends and a worldwide gross of $1 billion, it is likely we will see other films combining popular characters.  The risk with these groupings will be in staying away from the cheap Scary Movie aesthetic, in which they deliberately make fun of themselves.  If Avengers did so well for the action and comic fans, what will they produce for the tween girls demographic?  Imagine the rom-com possibilities: Edward and Bella go on a double date with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey.  Or worse—an estrogen-filled Nicholas Sparks script combining the lovebirds of Dear John and The Notebook.  While the success of The Avengers should be celebrated and certainly deserves its high Rotten Tomato rating, I feel we must be wary of the future teams of “Avengers” Hollywood might have in store for us.

 

Molly Geoghegan is a sophomore studying Media and Cinema at DePaul University.  She spends most of her time making unnecessary lists, knitting, watching movies, writing things and is forever in search of the perfect pair of jeans.  You can find her on Twitter at @mollygeoghegan or on her blog, http://mollygeoghegan.blogspot.com/.

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