Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame carved out its own niche in history with a stunning box office debut. On its opening Friday in the US, Endgame grossed $156.7 million, and has now become the second largest movie of all time, crossing the $2 billion mark in only 11 days.
All this for a lengthy, seat-numbing three-hour movie. But, considering that long runtimes didn’t stop Gone with the Wind (1939 – 3 hours, 58 minutes) and Titanic (1997 – 3 hours, 15 minutes) from becoming “certifiable cultural phenomenons,” Endgame will rivet viewer’s attention to the screen.
These are impressive numbers already, to say the least, in a franchise that overall reaps mega-millions, with Black Panther (2018) being the top grossing entry (so far), followed by Infinity War. Of course, the most obvious tentpole holding up such tremendous opening numbers is the fact that Endgame opened in 4,662 theaters in the US, with some staying open around the clock to meet demand. Not to mention a simultaneous rollout worldwide, including in China.
A Stunning Franchise Success
Avengers: Endgame is the sequel to Infinity War, culminating an unprecedented 22-movie series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The blockbuster series of films began with Iron Man in 2008 and included new movie installments almost every year for 11 years. The majestic Marvel Cinematic Universe includes such larger-than-life heroes as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel.
Endgame is also the fourth and final chapter in a series of movies about the core team of these superheroes, the most prominent of which is Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, that began with The Avengers (2012) and was followed by Age of Ultron (2015) and Infinity War (2018). The entire generation of movies can be a bit confusing to follow, but several guides exist online, including this one that proved to be most helpful in understanding the entire timeline of all 22 films.
There are two common ways to watch all the Marvel movies in the timeline. The first is in the release order by years, which would place Iron Man (2008) in the pole position. The second is in a chronological Marvel movie order, following the order of events. That means beginning with Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and shuffling the other movies around accordingly.
The following thematic approach was suggested by a fan, and it provides an interesting way to view all the movies.
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- Captain Marvel (2019)
- Iron Man (2008)
- Iron Man 2 (2010)
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)
- Thor (2011)
- The Avengers (2012)
- Thor: The Dark World (2013)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
- Iron Man 3 (2013)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
- Ant-Man (2015)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Black Panther (2018)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
- Doctor Strange (2016)
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
- Ant-Man & the Wasp (2018)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Avengers: Endgame (2019)
VFX: The Keys to the Kingdom
More and more, movies are incorporating complex VFX scenes and characters, making the newest stars of Hollywood the talented, unseen artists who create these larger-than-life characters – VFX artists. There really is no exaggerating the incredible importance and influence of visual effects in modern movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
In modern movies, animators and special effects team members are no longer second-class, post-production unit add-ins, but crucial team members who work side-by-side with filmmakers throughout a movie’s entire production. Complex films like Infinity War, and now Endgame, require that several groups be engaged to create the enormous amount of high-quality VFX that make today’s movies literally charge out of the screen.
The credits of Avengers: Endgame include the notable talents of Industrial Light & Magic, Weta Digital, Double Negative, Cinesite, Framestore, Digital Domain, Rise VFX, Lola VFX, Cantina Creative, Capital T, Technicolor VFX, and Territory Studio. As an example of the span of work allotted to each in such a vast VFX-charged picture, Framestore alone delivered more than 300 shots for the movie.
VFX and Academy of Art University
Arts education from schools like Academy of Art University in San Francisco is the doorway to exciting creative careers in motion pictures, TV, gaming, and many other industries. At the Academy, students gain the skills needed for a vibrant and exciting career in the only Animation and VFX school that teaches in a studio production environment. Aspiring visual effects artists, 2D and 3D animators, and storyboard artists study and learn in StudioX from industry professionals in the heart of the animation industry, who themselves are actively working creatives.
The Academy Animation & VFX teaching faculty have contributed to such films as Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Marvel’s Iron Man, Disney’s The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Little Mermaid, Shrek 2, Pocahontas, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Cocoon, Avengers: Infinity War, and now, Avengers: Endgame.
The following Academy alumni contributed their considerable talents to Endgame at these digital animation studios:
- Industrial Light & Magic (ILM): Digital Artist, Megan Dolman
- Weta Digital: Lead Matte Painter, Scott Brisbane; Motion Editor, Vanessa Cook
- Double Negative (DNEG): FX Technical Director, Ioanna Mailli
- Framestore: Animator, Heriyanto Tio
- Cinesite: Compositor, Anuj Anand
- Digital Domain: Compositing Department Supervisor, Matt Smith; Animation Director, Jan Philip Cramer
Academy of Art University is the largest, as well as one of the top arts and design schools, in the entire country. Academy graduates from the School of Animation and Visual Effects, as well as 21 other artistic specialties, have a range of opportunities from which to choose. Academy facilities, faculty, and unique hands-on learning approach are all part of the comprehensive design that provides students with the tools they need to succeed as a true professional in many artistic industries, including VFX.