I've read the phrase "Avengers bump" quite a few times since Iron Man 3 came out. This is pretty much just the idea that Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier all did better at the box office because of the success of Avengers. It's very possible these films would have done the same without Avengers, but unlikely. Are other comic book movies getting "bumps" from Avengers without even being involved?
First of all, let's take a look at the Iron Man series. Iron Man is definitely Marvel Cinematic Universe's most popular and successful character.
Iron Man (2008)
- Total Domestic Gross: $318 million
- Opening Week: $123 million
- 38.68% of total gross
- Second Week: $64 million
Iron Man 2 (2010)
- Total Domestic Gross: $312 million
- Opening Week: $159 million
- 60% of total gross
- Second Week: $65 million
Iron Man 3 (2013)
- Total Domestic Gross: $409 million
- Opening Week: $212 million
- 51.83% of total gross
- Second Week: $89 million
Totals and Averages
With just a quick look over some basic box office information, it's safe to assume something made this series explode. Could be inflation, or 3D ticket sales costing more, but audiences were undoubtedly wanting more after The Avengers.
- Total Domestic Gross: $181 million
- Opening Week: $84 million
- 46.4% of total gross
- Second Week: $45 million
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
- Total Domestic Gross: $206 million
- Opening Week: $108 million
- 52.43% of total gross
- Second Weekend: $45 million
Totals and Averages
- Total Domestic Gross: $387 million
- $193.5 per film
- Average Second Week Drop: 52.5%
- Pre-Avengers Gross: $181
- Post Avengers Gross: $206
Now with Thor there isn't as noticeable of an increase, so maybe the theory that Avengers is helping these other films isn't as accurate as previously thought. Let's take a look at Captain America before drawing a conclusion.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- Total Domestic Gross: $176 million
- Opening Week: $91 million
- 51.7% of total gross
- Second Week: $38 million
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Total Domestic Gross: $246 million (so far)
- Opening Week: $95 million
- 38.62% of total gross
- Second Week: 41 million
Totals and Averages
- Total Domestic Gross: $422 million
- $211 per film
- Average Second Week Drop: 57.45%
- Pre-Avengers: $176
- Post Avengers: $246 (so far)
So Captain America has definitely seem a pretty drastic increase in ticket sales since Avengers. Captain America probably went through the biggest changes in Avengers, and the world was waiting to see how he would adapt to a modern world.
Just purely looking at numbers, Iron Man got a 22.99% boost, Thor got a 12.14% boost, and Captain America got a 28.46% boost after Avengers. It appears almost evident that Iron Man definitely benefited from Avengers, as Iron Man 2 actually did worse than Iron Man financially and critically.
The surprising part is Thor only gaining 12.14%. Avengers heavily relied on things that were started in Thor to tell the story, and while the ending wraps it up, there are a few questions left that Thor: The Dark World answers. That being said, there probably isn't any way Thor 2 could have passed $200 million without Avengers helping out.
Captain America is less surprising. With a 28.46% boost, it has achieved the highest "bump" from Avengers, and it's still making money every day. The reviews for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and generally fantastic, and word of mouth is helping too.
The next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the "space opera" Guardians of the Galaxy. This is the first original movie in the series after Avengers. Obviously this film can't exactly have an "Avengers bump", and I'm sure the film will do well either way, but making it abundantly clear that this film is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would undoubtedly increase it's chances for success. Anyone who has seen Thor: The Dark World has seen the Collector during the post credit sequence, and if you look closely, the Collector is in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. While it's a connection to the MCU, it's not exactly obvious. There's really no reason the film won't stand on it's own, but a little "bump" wouldn't hurt at all.