comic book movies

Avengers: Age of Ultron a failure? Calm down now.

avengers age of ultron a failure?

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.

the avengers

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.

was avengers age of ultron a failure

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.

star wars box office predictions

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!

16 replies »

  1. Although Age of Ultron didn’t do as well as Disney might’ve expected, or was as well received critically as the first Avengers film, I still don’t think it can be considered a failure. Perhaps expectations are now so high for new superhero films, it was inevitable one of the big films might not end up doing as well. Superhero crossover events are now becoming the norm, so they are not so unique an event now. I think Star Wars VII is going to be one of the biggest films ever, lets just hope it can like up to our expectations!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, I am especially puzzled that the sixths highest grossing movie of all time is seen by some as a sign for “superhero fatigue”. I mean, really? Those movies might not be the biggest thing out there in a few years. That is possible. But even if it isn’t, we are far, far removed from those movies NOT making a ton of money (unless they are named “Fantfourstic”).
    With Star Wars…we need to wait and see. I am kind of astonished that there is this assumption that it will be a giant blockbuster. I mean, it will make money, but a lot depends on the reviews. If the first reviews say it is a turd, it will only make a decent gross for its budget. And just because the fanbase can’t wait, the general audience might not be that existed. The same is true for Dawn of Justice, btw. Just because the fanbase has waited for ages for Batman going up against Superman, it doesn’t mean that the general audience will be interested.

    The only movie which is slated next year which I am sure will be a success is Civil war, simply because it is the sequel to Winter Soldier and I think the general audience is interested in seeing Steve and Bucky reunite, no matter if they are comic book fans or not. Dr. Strange…I guess it was very smart of Marvel to cast Cumberbatch, because it brings in an additional fanbase.

    In any case, in the end the important part is that a movie makes money. As long as it does, there will be a sequel, unless the studio sees a steady downwards trend…but it is a long way down from the Avengers grosses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah superhero movies are still one of the biggest genres out there right now, and if $1.4 billion is considered bad that just shows how big the genre is. Star Wars for sure is going to make a lot of money. The prequels had terrible reviews but even they made a lot. Star Wars is far too embedded within our social culture for it to not make a tonne of money.
      Anyways I think next year will be the big test for superhero fatigue, but I have feeling that most of the comic book movies that come out next year will be fine and do great business


      • I think a lot will hinge on reviews. I don’t think that any of them will outright bomb, but the general audience will be very careful which Superhero movie they pick.


      • yeah agreed, and with social media word of mouth travels fast, so these movies need the quality if they want to do big business (as we saw with FF)


  3. Great article yo, you bring up a lot of great points when it coes to not only the financial side of things with Age of Ultron but also with the recent changes at Marvel Studios with Kevin Feige and the fact that The Avengers was a special event back in 2012 and things have changed a lot over 3 years. I do believe that not only superhero films but a lot of big budget films have gotten so big that people expect so much more, they want critical and financial successes of the highest degree, so when it fails everybody moans and wants to find someone or something to blame for the apparent failure.


    • The budgets for these superhero movies just keep getting bigger and bigger, so it’s not surprising that they expect bigger returns. Everyone just needs to level their expectations a bit instead of expecting something that just isn’t possible


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