“You’ve become part of a larger universe,” Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) informed Tony Stark in the very first post-credits scene of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, “You just don’t know it yet.” That was the cornerstone set for The Avengers. Marvel Studios wanted to take an unprecedented direction and emulate the world of comic book storytelling on film, releasing a handful of solo superhero films before combining them all into one grand crossover adventure. This is now the status quo for big Hollywood filmmaking in 2022, but back in 2008, when that Iron Man post-credits scene was playing, it probably sounded like a fantasy. However, it became a reality in May 2012 with The Avengers, which became a huge box-office sensation.
While everyone is aware that The Avengers is a financial hit, it’s still shocking given how much the box office has improved over its predecessors. Prior to The Avengers, no Marvel Cinematic Universe title had grossed more than $621 million worldwide or $309 million internationally. Those numbers were blown out of the water by The Avengers, which grossed $1.51 billion worldwide. The dramatic increase in box office success compared to its predecessors is largely due to the historical nature of The Avengers, as well as incredible word-of-mouth from audiences. With The Avengers, the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched into a much larger box office universe.