From a marketing standpoint, “The Avengers” was a monstrous achievement. Building up a film by introducing one hero after another in separate movies for several years, up to the year of the big event in 2012. It was a completely new experience for the audience, a great gamble and an incredible success by Marvel Studios.
The Avengers was a blockbuster hit with a total domestic lifetime gross of over $623 million, including an opening weekend take of $207.4 million and a worldwide gross of $1.5 trillion, it was then the 3rd highest grossing film of all time (the 5th by the time of writing this).
Marvel studios gained the film rights to Iron Man from New Line Cinema in 2005. Then in March 2007, David Maisel was named Chairman and Kevin Feige was named President of Production as ‘Iron Man’ began filming with director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr. It was a pivotal moment in what would become the behemoth known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
In 2009, Marvel began to hire a team of writers to help come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties, such as Black Panther, Cable, Iron Fist, Nighthawk, and Vision. Many of the other Marvel Comics properties were and still are, owned by other companies in the film industry, such as 20th Century Fox and Sony.
The Avengers was foreshadowed by post-credits teasers in ‘Captain America’, ‘Thor’, ‘The Incredible Hulk’ and two ‘Iron Man’ pictures. That one post-credits scene featuring Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury as he talked about “The Avengers initiative” did nothing more than fundamentally change the movie industry forever.
Today, the MCU is the highest-ever grossing movie franchise. Its global total gross for all of its movies is $10.3 billion and puts it above the Bond and Harry Potter franchises, and all of the others.
Written and directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers revels in the individuality of its mighty, mythical, and superhuman characters with rough-edged egos colliding. The best scenes are not the overblown, skull-assaulting action sequences, even though these are great, the films best scenes are in between when the assembled heroes have the opportunity to brag, banter, flirt, and bicker.
Working on the movie, were concept artists and illustrators Phil Saunders, Raj Rihal and Andy Park.
Phil Saunders worked early on to create sketches and develop designs for the Leviathan, Quinjet, Helicarrier and Iron Man’s MK7 suit. He has since been the designer for movies such as the Iron Man and Avengers films, Captain America: Civil War, Tron: Legacy, Spiderman 3 and Cowboys & Aliens.
“Joss Whedon was looking for something that had the ‘cool’ factor of the suitcase suit [from Iron Man 2], while still being a fully armored, heavy duty suit that could take on an army in the final battle.”
– Phil Saunders
Saunders borrowed ideas that had been proposed in Iron Man 2 as well as some ideas that had been abandoned in Iron Man and merged them together in a modular suite that has big ammo packets on the arms and a backpack – as seen in the finished version of the movie.
Raj Rihal worked on several detailed environment designs for The Avengers. He has created concept art for game and film projects such as Thor, The Hulk, Men in Black 3, Oblivion, The Avengers and many more.
Andy Park work on The Avengers includes many character designs such as Thanos, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury and Thor. He is heavily involved in creating the Marvel Cinematic Universe, working at Marvel Studios as a Visual Development Supervisor. Andy has worked on many Marvel films such as Thor: Ragnarok, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3 and The Avengers.
Check out their amazing contributions to The Avengers, below, and head to their respective websites for more amazing work.
All images. © Marvel Studios.