There is currently an opening night ticket to “Avengers: Endgame” on sale on eBay for $25,000. Though this listing is the most egregiously expensive, other listings for highly marked up tickets fill the site, some of which have up to fifteen watchers despite their triple-digit price tags — and they are selling, too. Someone in New Jersey purchased a pair of opening night tickets for a whopping $15,000. These auctions are a result of the fact that tickets for the highly anticipated finale to phase three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) are already sold out in most theaters nationwide. “Avengers: Endgame” set the record for the most pre-sales in a day, smashing the previous record held by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in six hours. Experts estimate that the movie will bring in anywhere from 200-300 million during its opening weekend. But what is it about this movie that’s driving fans into such a fervor?
Of course, one has to address the possibility that people are simply excited to see a high-quality film, but that’s not necessarily the case. “Avengers: Infinity War” only received an 85 percent from critics as compared to a 92 percent for the first Avengers film. Film quality is not necessarily the answer, it appears. So then what’s the hype? In my opinion, there are two main factors at work: the nostalgia factor inherent to this finale and the brilliant marketing campaign of Marvel executives over the past year — and perhaps even over the past decade.
Let’s talk nostalgia first. “Iron Man,” the first movie in the MCU phase one, was an unprecedented success that came out in 2008, right when most of us were in elementary or middle school. The first Avengers was released in 2012, and those of us in the fandom fondly — or perhaps not-so-fondly — remember days in which the compelling character dynamics and amusing quips were pretty much all people could talk about. Sure, many of us are now extremely wary of the formulaic films released like clockwork by what has become just another stone in the Disney monolith, but the idea that a franchise that we all grew up with is ending stings a bit whether we liked it or not. Regardless of whether you bought opening night tickets to every new film, or just watched “Black Panther “after its Oscar nomination, the idea that characters we know quite well may die permanently marks the end of an era. It’s closure for our childhoods.
The nostalgia effect is powerful for sure, but it is Marvel’s marketing team that has really worked a passionate fan base into a frenzy. They started by creating a three-hour long trailer for this final film. You may have heard of it; it’s called “Avengers: Infinity War.” Yes, I would argue that the cliffhanger ending of “Infinity War,” and the subsequent radio silence from Marvel executives, is some of the most effective movie advertising ever seen. Fans were reeling from the abrupt and tragic ending of the third Avengers movie and nursing the shock that came with the villain’s victory.
Desperate for more information about what happened to some of the biggest fan-favorite characters in the franchise – T’Challa, Bucky Barnes and Peter Parker come to mind – fans turned to the internet, and for months received nearly nothing. The movie title for Avengers 4 was only released on Dec. 7, 2018, over seven months after Infinity War’s opening night, and fans only received trailers more substantial than teasers after the release of “Captain Marvel” last month. It’s clear that months of teases, hints and director-fueled conspiracies have created a trail of breadcrumbs leading right to the box office.
Though franchises like “Game of Thrones” and “Star Wars” have displayed the dedication of their fan bases time and again through TV ratings and box office sales, not much surpasses the intensity of Avengers hype. This carefully crafted fan response has certainly boosted Marvel’s sales, but it’s also reminding people of the upcoming endings in our own lives as the end of the school year approaches. Let’s use Avengers hype as a chance to look back on and honor the ways in which we’ve grown and changed over the past decade as well as a reminder of the fact that sometimes things we’ve loved need to come to an end in order to make room for the fantastic things to come.