Pick a box-office record and The Avengers has probably broken it. Biggest opening weekend of all time? Check. Biggest Saturday gross of all time? Check. Most popular movie released this year featuring intense archery scenes? (Sorry, Hunger Games.) Highest-grossing superhero movie ever? Not yet, but consider this a warning: Dark Knight, your days are numbered.
But as we all know, the most important thing about The Avengers is undoubtedly its role in the brilliant career of one Samuel Leroy Jackson. Back in October, the Guinness Book of World Records named Jackson the highest-grossing actor in the history of movies — the result of Jackson’s insane four-films-per-year work ethic, his willingness to take supporting roles in mega-productions, and what we can only assume is a tremendous sense of humor.
Now that Avengers looks set to make a billion dollars before the end of this sentence, the question becomes: Can anyone ever outgross Jackson? After his cameo in Iron Man, the actor signed a nine-film commitment with Marvel, which means we can expect him to pop up in the next cycle of Avenger movies. (Easy money says that he has a brief appearance in Iron Man 3 and a bigger role in Cap 2. Hard to see how he fits into Thor 2, unless it turns out he’s the human incarnation of Odin, which would be cool.) Even if phase 2 of Marvel’s mad-scientist movie plan isn’t as successful as phase 1 — heck, even if Avengers 2 makes half of what Avengers has made in two weeks of global release — Jackson looks likely to achieve a career global tally of $10 billion. By comparison, Tom Cruise has only grossed $7 billion. And Tom Cruise doesn’t get invited to devour the scenery in Quentin Tarantino movies.
In short, that eyepatch might turn out to be the single most lucrative prop in movie history. If you could wear that eyepatch and Dorothy’s ruby slippers and Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany‘s dress while riding Rosebud the Sled and swinging Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber… well, you’d be a real weirdo, but at least you’d be wearing a totally sweet eyepatch.
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