Update: The final weekend number is $207.4 Million. :-D
It is now official. The Avengers' opening weekend is over, and the final number is a whopping $200.3 million. (And that's just the estimate--the actual number, to be reported later this afternoon, could be even higher.)
This completely destroys the opening weekend record held by the final Harry Potter movie ($169 mill), not to mention The Dark Knight ($158 mill.) Worldwide gross is already $641.8M since it was released internationally about 12 days ago.
And not only that, the movie has incurred amazing and well-deserved reviews, with a 94% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and an A+ grade from CinemaScore. This kind of acclaim puts Avengers well on track to break the billion dollar mark, joining such films as Avatar and Titanic, and possible exceeding even those to become the biggest movie ever.
Dear old Joss must be riding high.
These kinds of numbers, aside from being super gratifying, confirm that putting Whedon at the helm of this major franchise film was a brilliant idea (a choice I never had a doubt about.) It also means that now people will know who I'm talking about when I say the name "Joss Whedon", a name I had to explain for years by referencing first Buffy, then Firefly, then Serenity. Only now, in case of any blank looks, one just has to say "Avengers" to make it clear. Whedon's in the bigtime.
With Cabin in the Woods a critical and financial success as well, and the inspired move of Joss' little homemade version of Much Ado About Nothing coming out later this year, well, Whedon's clearly now an A-list creator. I have no doubt he'll keep doing his small stuff (his recently created Bellwether Pictures has a few small projects already in the pipeline) and indeed I expect him to return to television one day, his favorite medium, but I expect that finally, finally he will be taken so seriously as to get Emmy and Oscar nominations for his work.
He already had an amazing career before this year, but now he's in a different stratosphere entirely.
And Marvel/Disney must be ecstatic too. With Iron Man 3 starting production soon, to be followed by Thor 2, their superhero movies are only going to become more frequent. Captain America 2 will happen, rumors continue about Ant-Man, and now Ruffalo's version of the Hulk is getting so much press that we may see another version of that (including an announced television series.)
Hopefully Whedon would come back for Avengers 2, which is expected to come out sometime in 2015.
So one lesson to take away from this giant triumph is that Whedon is a God and should be given everything he wants. Another is that perhaps Marvel should have all its properties back (I'm thinking X-Men mainly, but a consistent Spidey and Wolverine who could join the marquis team would be nice too.)
Marvel will keep going forward with the superhero movies, and even start churning out some of the B-list/street level folk, like Luke Cage and Iron Fist and Doctor Strange. Considering who appeared after the credits of Avengers, it wouldn't be a bad idea to produce some cosmic type heroes, and since they already mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy I don't think that's so impossible (throw a Nova in there too, but Richard Rider not this new blork.) They're also discussing a Black Widow movie due to ScarJo's solid performance, but before that happens expect a line of Disney/Marvel beauty products based on Natasha Romanova (seriously, there've already been reports on that one.)
The point is: He did it. Yeah Disney, Marvel, Kevin Feige, Downey Jr., they all had a big hand in the process. But this is Joss' big win. And I'm not gonna say I told you so.
...but I did.
Keep checking Nikki Finke's page for updates on the numbers, with the final total to be released later this afternoon.
Here's a nice little video interview with Joss from before Avengers came out. It has his usual quirky, kinda cheesy humor, as well as some insight, and a brief clip with his lovely supportive wife at their home in Santa Monica, and it also has the first footage from Much Ado About Nothing.