During its opening weekend in U.S. markets, "Marvel's The Avengers" shattered several box office records. According to Box Office Mojo, it currently ranks as the first movie to gross $100 million, $150 million, and $200 million the fastest, and, at $200.3 million, it has beaten out last summer's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" as the film with the highest-grossing opening weekend box office in history.
Uncommon for a summer blockbuster, "The Avengers" also has the distinction of being a critics' darling. Its current Rotten Tomatoes score is 93 percent, and it has earned 69 out of 100 on Metacritic, indicating "generally favorable reviews" for a pool of 42 critics.
All in all, this is terrific news for the cast, the crew, the studios, and the backers, to say absolutely nothing of all the glorious merchandising opportunities that will inevitably arise. But now the question on everybody's mind is: How will the course of this or any future summer blockbuster season be affected by the unprecedented success of "The Avengers"?
Both past and future indicate it won't be affected to any great degree, if at all. The remainder of 2012 will see the release of three major superhero films: "The Amazing Spider-Man" on July 3, "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, and "Dredd" on September 21. This means that we have around two months to wait for the next comic book film adaptation. By then, interest in "The Avengers" will have dimmed, as it tends to happen to all movies at one point or another.
It's difficult to estimate how "Spider-Man" or "Dredd" will fare in theaters. In regards to "The Dark Knight Rises," however, we must keep in mind that this is the successor to "The Dark Knight," which was not only a phenomenal box office success but also one of 2008's most critically acclaimed films. As reported by Musicrooms.net, tickets for midnight IMAX screenings of "The Dark Knight Rises" went on sale back in January and immediately sold out in the cities of New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Four years is a long time for anticipation to build.
Leaving potential competition aside, it's simply a matter of quality and industry standards. As entertaining and competently made as "The Avengers" is, it's essentially little more than a culmination of several comic book franchises. It is not indicative of a shift in cinematic tastes, nor does it represent groundbreaking uses of technology. It was quite different in the case of films like "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope," or "Avatar," all of which in some way changed how movies are made.
"The Avengers" has found its audience, it will do spectacular business, and it will probably be recognized come awards season for it special effects and sound mixing. But in the long run, it will likely be remembered only as a series of box office statistics. The landscape of the summer blockbuster season hasn't changed one bit.
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