The Avengers opens in US theaters today.  The movie opened internationally a week ahead of its US release date and (as of the time I’m writing this) has already grossed $304 million overseas.  Box Office Mojo estimates the opening weekend take in the US for the film will be around $172.5 million.

The flick has had a pretty amazing marketing campaign behind it.   Aside from countless television ads, multiple trailers and clips released from the film, there’s the tv talk show appearances with the stars, magazine coverage, press from comic, movie and Disney blogs (guilty as charged).  But let’s not overlook the best marketing of all…

May 2008 – Iron Man (total gross $585.1 million)
June 2008 – The Incredible Hulk (total gross $263.4 million)
May 2010 – Iron Man 2 (total gross $623.9 million)
May 2011 – Thor (total gross $449.3 million)
July 2011 – Captain America: The First Avenger (total gross $368.6 million)

After doing the math, that’s over $2.3 BILLION dollars for just the theatrical take alone on the 5 films.  And each of those films gave us a post-credits teaser about “The Avengers initiative”.

Plus there’s a rich history of comic book titles and cartoons for each of the characters, both individually and as a team.

I think Joss Whedon is one of the luckiest guys on the planet to direct such a talented cast of characters in this film.

Be sure to stick around past the ending credits, as there will be something worth watching (as in the past Marvel films).  I have no idea what it is yet, or whether it will tease a next Avengers movie, or be a lead-in to Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor 2 (2013) or Captain America 2 (2014) but I’m sure it’ll be worth talking about after seeing!