Director-writer Joss Whedon's The Avengers was an enormous success for Marvel Studios and Disney. The Marvel Cinematic Universe started with 2008's Iron Man, and 2012's The Avengers gave audiences the very first chance to see Earth's Mightiest Heroes assemble to take down Loki and save the Earth from an alien invasion. Thanks to a successful combination of offering plenty of fan service and a whole lot of fun, the movie earned overwhelmingly positive reviews (92% on Rotten Tomatoes and we gave the film 4.5 out of 5 stars) and it sold a ton of tickets.
The Avengers made over $1 billion dollars and sits behind only two James Cameron movies - Avatar and Titanic - when it comes to just how much money it made at the worldwide box office. Because of how big of a hit Whedon's movie was, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to hear that his followup, Avengers: Age of Ultron, is also performing well. Not only did it recently cross $1 billion total mark, but it's also crossed $900 million internationally - a financial feat the first movie did not accomplish.
According to Deadline, Avengers: Age of Ultron is the fifth movie to reach the milestone. The other four movies to earn that much money internationally are Furious 7, Titanic, Avatar, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. According to Box Office Mojo, the first Avengers movie almost reached the figure, earning just over $895 million internationally.
Even though Avengers: Age of Ultron has received somewhat mixed reviews (74% on Rotten Tomatoes and we gave it a 3.5 out of 5 stars), its success at the worldwide box office just goes to show how much of a fanbase Disney and Marvel Studios has generated with the brand in such a short time. While Warner Bros. and DC is taking its ever-growing cinematic universe is a darker direction (for now, at least), Marvel Studios and Disney's focus on making sure its movies often have a lighter tone and are sprinkled with comedy has worked very well for them. While these movies have had no problem winning over many comic book fans, the crowd-pleasing approach means these movies have the potential to be enjoyed by viewers of any age, regardless of whether or not they're familiar with the source material.
Whedon won't direct the next set of Avengers movies - Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 - and despite that being unfortunate news to his followers, his departure won't have a negative impact on the films' marketability. Whedon did his job in successfully establishing the Avengers brand. And not only will Infinity War finally deliver on the imminent conflict with Thanos (Josh Brolin) - a villain who has been teased on the big screen for several years now - but the team-up movies are being directed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier's directors, Anthony and Joe Russo who are already at work on Captain: America: Civil War, a project that will bridge Age of Ultron to what's coming next and "setup of the real battle" of Infinity War.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is still in theaters. The final chapter in Phase Two, Ant-Man, opens July 17, 2015, followed by Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5, 2017; Spider-Man on July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok on November 3, 2017; Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4, 2018; Black Panther on July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel on November 2, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3, 2019; and lastly (for now), Inhumans on July 12, 2019.