Whether you love or hate the films, there’s no denying that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a major accomplishment in the history of the superhero film. The gritty realism of the millennial comic book film was burst through as the studio gave fans films filled with spectacle and high stakes while balancing the camp and fun, with each film feeling as though it jumped right off the page. Then came 2012 with The Avengers, an eventuality promised to fans in the end-credits scene of 2008’s starting point Iron Man, in which Nick Fury finds Tony Stark in his home and tells him about The Avengers Initiative. The culmination of these characters a mere 4 years later was a once-in-a-generation cinematic experience; we had seen many comic book teams such as the X-Men and Fantastic Four on screen already, sure, but this was different. This was THE Avengers, a superhero team many could have only dreamed of seeing in action a decade earlier.
While May has always signaled the start of Summer Movie Season, the past few years have showed that April is a ripe time for blockbuster dabbles. Last year, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” exploded into theaters in early April earning rave reviews and a $95 million opening weekend. This year, Cap’s record was quietly put to rest by “Furious 7,” which not only nabbed a $147 million three-day haul but has also crossed the $1 billion worldwide mark in record time. Has summer extended into April? Maybe not entirely (“Furious 7” had little mainstream competition for the entire month), but April has becoming one my favorite months at the movies as one unstoppable blockbuster is flanked by high-powered indies that have a good chance of resonating for the rest of the year (see: last year’s “Under the Skin,” this year’s “Ex Machina”). If April can remain as it always has with those under the radar picks, then I don’t mind a mega-budget film taking control of the box office all month. Plus, it makes for a nice range of options and with the weather starting to change, it’s the time when going to the movies starts becoming fun again.
But April has officially passed, and summer is firmly upon us yet again. As always, there’s a flood of cinematic programming heading our way. Blockbuster season always starts off with a bang, and three years after Joss Whedon’s first “Avengers” film blasted into theaters, his sequel will be setting the stage for the next four months. The film hits theaters today (we’ll be running our review later on) and is projected to make somewhere between $210-$230 million. That is insane! How is that even remotely possible you may ask? Well, here’s at least one reason. Like “Furious 7,” “Age of Ultron” will be crossing a billion dollars worldwide in no time, which will evidence 2015 as the potential rebirth of the blockbuster. Granted, many other summer films will have a hard time measuring up to “Ultron’s” precedent, but by the time we get to “Spectre” and “The Force Awakens” in the winter (both unquestionable hits), the summer will have made Hollywood a nice mountain of cash.