April 11, 2012, brought the world premiere of Disney/Marvel’s The Avengers at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre. The premiere was a gala event, as movie premieres always were pre-pandemic, and members of the all-star cast walked the red carpet, greeting fans amid a media frenzy. Based on the success of Marvel’s Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010), great anticipation and excitement had built up for The Avengers, one of Marvel’s most popular comics.
It was an ideal storyline for the kind of star power and non-stop action Marvel was and is still known for since it revolved around a cast of superheroes, each of whom had unique powers to put to work for the team. The Avengers became the highest-grossing film of 2012, and the third highest-grossing film of all time, with $623.4M domestically and $895.5M internationally for $1.52B worldwide. Two of its sequels — Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) — went on to surpass the original globally, a testament to how the popularity of the Avengers franchise and its characters drives the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Avengers was, at the time, the highest-grossing film ever released by Disney — less than three years after the company’s $4.24B acquisition of Marvel Entertainment on August 31, 2009. The movie’s success left the media saying Disney had actually gotten a bargain! The film made special effects a prime ingredient in the formula for global blockbuster success, achieving parity with established ingredients like stars, directing, cinematography, production design, sound and music. Industrial Light & Magic took the lead in creating The Avengers’ special effects to dazzle audiences on the big screen. ILM’s contributions were recognized by the Motion Picture Academy with an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. Moviegoers loved it and in polling by CinemaScore they gave it a rare A+ grade. Critics agreed and Avengers scored 91% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, summed it up by saying it was “done well by (writer-director) Joss Whedon, with style and energy. It provides its fans with exactly what they desire.”
Since then, Marvel fans have advocated passionately for a stand-alone film about Scarlett Johansson’s Avengers character Natasha Romanoff – a.k.a. Black Widow. After years in development and multiple pandemic postponements of its release, Black Widow is now set to start meeting moviegoers on July 9. Here’s a quick look at Black Widow – then and now.