Even though it's mid-week, the awe surrounding Marvel's "The Avengers" and its $207 million record-breaking opening weekend continues to permeate the world of pop culture. Director Joss Whedon deserves all the credit for creating not just an entertaining experience with rich characters, but a dazzling one at that.
The film's third act, which likely could have easily made $100 million on its own, was especially eye-popping. Without spoiling it for everyone who didn't join the squished masses last weekend, let's just say that it features an alien invasion and lots of destruction. We're talking "entire buildings getting lopped in half, zapped, and pulverized" type destruction.
Once again, Manhattan is science fiction's proverbial punching bag.
The Hollywood Reporter, which clearly was as impressed with the scale of destruction as I was, decided to do a bit of investigating into how much such a disaster would cost the United States. They turned to Kinetic Analysis Corp., a leading disaster-cost prediction and assessment firm, to perform the number crunching. Final estimate? A staggering $160 billion. From the article:
"In an exclusive report for THR, KAC, led by Chuck Watson and Sara Jupin, employed computer models used for predicting the destruction of nuclear weapons and concluded that the physical damage of the invasion would be $60 billion-$70 billion, with economic and cleanup costs hitting $90 billion. Add on the loss of thousands of lives, and KAC puts the overall price tag at $160 billion."
"For context, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks cost $83 billion, Hurricane Katrina cost $90 billion, and the tsunami in Japan last year washed away $122 billion."
The reports notes that Grand Central Station, which suffered a direct hit in the film, would be one of the more costlier structures to repair, as would the crushed tops of buildings.
Still, $160 billion is a bargain compared to some of the other fates that have befallen Manhattan in the movies. In the 1996 film "Independence Day" (which this fanboy saw four times in the theater), an alien warship let loose a blue laser cannon that effectively decimated most/all of lower Manhattan.
Watson says that the aliens in "Avengers" were "amateurs" compared to the bad guys of "Independence Day."
"Of course, the Chitauri/Loki alliance were more interested in conquest and ruling, whereas the 'ID' aliens were just looking for lunch or something," he quipped.
With the recent announcement that "Avengers 2" is in development, I'm sure Whedon has plenty more costly ideas for ruining downtown Manhattan in the works. Just keep the Hulk away from Central Park, OK?