“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is piling up box-office receipts around the world and enjoyed a $191.3 million debut weekend in the United States, marking another huge success for Marvel and its stunning ability to turn comic-book heroes into big-screen superstars.
For Audi, the evolution of the Avengers franchise also is a major milestone, extending the brand’s partnership with Marvel that began with the Iron Man films. In “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Audi automobiles and brand excitement remain integral parts of the vibe of this film, just as in the three Iron Man movies.
In the latest installment of the Avengers franchise, Tony Stark – played, by Robert Downey Jr. – favors the R8. A scene involving the car even sets up the next Avengers movie. Dressed in street clothes, along with another superhero (identity protected here to prevent a spoiler), Stark summons the R8 to find him autonomously as it drives into the new headquarters of the Avengers squad. Other scenes feature an Audi A3 Cabriolet and the new Audi TTS. No other automotive brands are highlighted in the film, although there are of course other cars in scenes.
Audi has an auto-brand promotional exclusive with “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and the brand has been boosting that position for weeks now. An Audi TV commercial titled “Striking,” features the TTS, with scenes and music from the movie.
A related YouTube video, “Striking – Extended Version,” has garnered more than 6 million YouTube views. At the end of the video is a sneak peek at another Marvel movie due out this summer, “Antman,” a film that will feature an Audi A3 Cabriolet. In foreign markets, the car in the YouTube video is an R8, in part because the latest version of that car already is available outside the United States.
Audi also sponsored a “Superhero Marathon” on the FX television network on the last weekend in April. The network ran earlier versions of films starring Marvel characters such as Captain America and Thor. For the latest Audi magazine, Marvel created a custom comic that features the Audi TT and, in a cameo appearance, the Audi R8. Audi dealers across the United States sponsored screenings of the new movie in their showrooms.
And of all things, Stan Lee, creator of a Marvel cast of superheroes, starred in a humorous social-media video about the difference between cameo acting and regular acting. Lee, famous for making short appearances in each Marvel movie, as he does in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” is driven to and from Cameo School in an Audi S8. The video also has scored millions of views.
Today, Marvel announced the film’s premiere weekend was the second-biggest domestic opening weekend ever, and the worldwide box office total has climbed to $631.1 million since April 22. With Audi along for the ride, the movie seems to be on its way to one of the industry’s biggest box-office performances of all time.