Post-‘Avengers’ Effect: How ‘Thor: The Dark World’ Leveraged Marvel Heritage

Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe Special

Sequel saw a 31% larger domestic opening than its 2011 predecessor

As if there was ever any doubt, this weekend’s colossal “Thor: The Dark World” box office performance lays to rest one thing: the Disney-Marvel machine works.

The $86 million domestic opening — more than $20 million more than its predecessor’s summertime bow — for “Thor: The Dark World” is a byproduct of the massive popularity of the Marvel brand and its characters; but namely, those featured in “The Avengers,” which stands as the industry’s third-highest grossing film of all time at $1.5 billion worldwide.

Globally, “Thor: The Dark World” has cumed $327 million in just two weeks, compared with the first “Thor” (2011), which amassed an almost $450 million worldwide total.

SEE ALSO: Box Office: ‘Thor: The Dark World’ Strikes Big With $180 Mil Worldwide

The “Avengers”-effect reaches beyond just the hammer-wielding god in “Thor” — it also has strengthened the mettle of the “Iron Man” franchise.

“Iron Man 3,” at $1.215 billion globally, the fifth-largest cume ever (and this year’s No. 1 pic), marks a remarkable 95% increase over “Iron Man 2,” which grossed $624 million worldwide in 2010. That kind of sequel-to-three-quel improvement is unrivaled so far in the Marvel world: for instance, Sony’s “Spider-Man 3” (2007) grew 14% over its 2004 predecessor, while Fox’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006) saw a comparable 13% increase over “X-2: X-Men United,” which was released in 2003.

Aside from being “Avengers” siblings, “Iron Man 3” and “Thor: The Dark World,” which had a 31% larger domestic opening than the original, benefit from huge growth in the international marketplace.

SEE ALSO: Film Review: ‘Thor: The Dark World’

This weekend, “The Dark World” collected $19.6 million in China in three days, surpassing the entire gross of the original “Thor” on the mainland. (A growing Chinese infrastructure also plays into the overperformance.)

“The Marvel guys are so fucking smart,” enthused one industry executive Sunday morning. “I don’t think anyone is as smart as them in the industry.”

The popularity of the Marvel brand has extended beyond fanboys to become an event for families, as well.

Although Tony Stark as Iron Man ultimately has more clout with audiences than Thor does, the success of the post-“Avengers” sequels regardless is very good news for another member of the team — Captain America.

The original stars n’ stripes Avenger pic — which was the last Marvel film to be distributed by Paramount — raked in more than $370 million worldwide, which was less than “Thor” (the penultimate Par-distributed Marvel pic) but more than the original “X-Men,” at 296 million globally.

Disney launches “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” on April 4; the “Avengers” sequel, “Age of Ultron,” bows May 1, 2015.

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  1. Hmm says:

    “The Marvel guys are so fucking smart,” enthused one industry executive Sunday morning. “I don’t think anyone is as smart as them in the industry.” — priceless idiot

    • Johnny says:

      The word ‘oversaturation’ comes to mind.

    • Draven Mc says:

      Yes, it’s luck of the draw for them.

      • 1477necr says:

        More like timing. They are having a good year, but let’s see if they’re ‘smart enough’ to keep the momentum going. They haven’t made many particularly good films to date, box office aside. Betting Winter Soldier does slightly less than both from this year, due to its proximity from the first Avengers. Further, it will be interesting to see how long before the public gets bored with these types of cartoons. Wonder if there will be another trend after superheroes?

  2. Michel Tol says:

    “…bi-product”? Really? How about “byproduct”?

  3. Alex Svensek says:

    These Disney-Marvel films are nothing more than a generic pop corn flicks!! They will never reach the heights that Nolan set with his Dark Knight Trilogy!!

    • Steve says:

      As a lifelong comic fanboy, I think all of the Nolan Batman films (and Man of Steel) are garbage. By many objective metrics, the Avengers is the GOAT comic book adaptation. Joss Whedon is a real geek and raconteur, while Chris Nolan is a charming man who likes to make films with nonsensical stories that serve setpieces and explosions and that are filled with terrible fight scenes.

    • OdinsEye says:

      I happened to like Batman Returns, the first of the trilogy. The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Returns I found lacking. The Dark Knight had too much in the movie. It could have ended with the Joker’s demise. The Dark Knight Returns was pointless. What separates the Batman franchise from the rest of the DC franchise is that Batman actually took the time to develop a character. Otherwise, DC characters are rather simple.

    • Steve says:

      Here we go again. Why do you guys have to mention Nolan all the time?

      You sound like a hater who are jealous because MCU is doing great business in the box office. That’s why you mention Nolan in an article about Marvel box office that has nothing to do with Nolan’s Batman.

    • Steph says:

      With them being popcorn flicks. It’s why I go to the movies. Nolan’s batman was great I agree.

  4. Lisa Guzzen says:

    Loved the movie. Amazingly marketed and a great film. Congrats

  5. Glenn C. says:

    Saw the film. The sequel. Ok. Not great. Never will I buy into that romance thing between Hemsworth and Portman. Fake. The story was so over the too complex. So many little details. Less is more. Not more is more.

    • Steph says:

      Tony and Pepper work because time was taken to devop the relationship also the two actors have great chemistry.

    • Steph says:

      I felt the same way. That relationship is forced. She knew him for three days in Thor and then dedicated two years of her life trying to find him? Just dumb

      • Bill says:

        I have heard a lot of female friends say they’d have spent years looking for “him” too (and have :-))

  6. U cant B Sirius says:

    “THOR”oughly amazing!

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