This past weekend <strong>Disney</strong> and <strong>Marvel Studios</strong> joined forces to release <strong><em>The Avengers</em></strong>, an all-star fan boy film based off the popular comic book series. While critics expected the film to do well, at the end of film’s opening weekend it not only secured the No. 1 spot but also broke domestic box office records, pulling in $200.3 million over the course of three days. <em>The Avengers</em>’ ticket sales eclipsed the previous record-holder, <em>Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2</em>, which opened with $169.2 million in summer 2011. The film’s success is not limited to US shores, as it opened internationally two weeks ago to the tune of $441.5 million across 52 global markets. As it stands at press time, <em>The Avengers </em>has grossed well over $642.8 million globally. <strong>BlackEnterprise.com</strong> takes a look at the “marvelous” success of the prequel films that led up to this record-breaking showing. —Anslem Samuel Rocque
<strong><a href="http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=hulk.htm" target="_blank">THE HULK</a> (2003) </strong><br><br>
Despite being panned by critics and fans alike, director Ang Lee’s telling of comic book anti-hero The Hulk pulled in over $62 million it’s opening weekend in June 2003. Starring Eric Bana as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, the film went on to earn $132,177,234 domestically and an additional $113,183,246 internationally, bringing it’s worldwide box office tally over $245 million.
<strong><a href="http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=incrediblehulk.htm" target="_blank">THE INCREDIBLE HULK</a> (2008) </strong><br><br>
With the original film considered a “flop” due to its bad reviews and muddled storyline, Marvel took five years of planning to reboot the franchise with a new star (Edward Norton) and director (Louis Leterrier). The end product saw slightly better results ($263 million worldwide) and reviews.
<strong><a href="http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=ironman.htm" target="_blank">IRON MAN</a> (2008) </strong><br><br>
The true tent pole of <em>The Avengers</em> franchise is the original <em>Iron Man</em> film, starring Robert Downey, Jr. as billionaire playboy Tony Starks/Iron Man. The film provided a resurgence of Downey’s career and fans’ hope for a superhero super-movie on the horizon. Also starring Terrence Howard, <em>Iron Man</em> made a whopping $318,412,101 domestically and an additional $266,762,121 internationally, bringing the film’s total haul to over $585 million.
<strong><a href="http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=ironman2.htm" target="_blank">IRON MAN 2</a> (2010) </strong><br><br>
Proving it was no fluke, <em>Iron Man 2</em> opened with an impressive $128,122,480 its opening weekend in May 2010. When the dust settled, Downey and director Jon Favreau eclipsed their previous work, pulling in a worldwide box office draw of over $623 million.
<strong><a href="http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=thor.htm" target="_blank">THOR</a> (2011) </strong><br><br>
While Iron man was living up to his name at the box office, <em>The Avengers</em> needed more than one star to be a success. Chris Hemsworth filled in nicely as the god of thunder Thor. The Kenneth Branagh-directed film opened strong with $65,723,338 its first weekend and went on to $181,030,624 domestically and an additional $268,295,994 in international ticket sales. The worldwide box office draw wound up at almost $450 million.
<strong><a href="http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=captainamerica.htm" target="_blank">CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER</a> (2011)</strong><br><br>
Rounding up the prequel films was director Joe Johnston’s <em>Captain America: The First Avenger. </em>Starring Chris Evans as the WWII super soldier who gets suspended in time, the film grossed $176,654,505 domestically and an additional $191,953,858 internationally, bringing the worldwide box office number to over $368 million.