While THE AVENGERS has been hailed as a feel-good ball of action-comedy that kicks off the summer with smiles and cheers, in one regard it is a bit unsettling.
You see, it is yet another in a long, long line of movies that has trashed Manhattan real estate in a willy-nilly fashion. For about a hot minute after 9/11, destroying Manhattan in entertainment was considered crass—who needed fakery, when you had the real thing?—however, it soon came into vogue again as a symbol of the unsettled post 9/11 era.
So of course, when you see primo midtown real estate smashed into smithereens during the big Chitauri showdown at the end—even the landmark Grand Central Station—although it’s all for fun, us New Yorkers might feel just a wee bit unsettled. And as an expert report reveals, the damages shown—to property and human life—would dwarf any other recent disaster.
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 entire report on the damages is available here. Although we laughed and cheered at THE AVENGERS story as much as everyone else worldwide, we couldn’t help cringing when we saw beloved buildings Hulk smashed to pieces.
It did call to mind DAMAGE CONTROL, the miniseries by the late great Dwayne McDuffie that followed a crew who was tasked with post-superhero battle cleanup. If the Avengers film did anything, it solidified the Marvel Universe in film as the same kind of nutty place with its own rules as the comic book version. And surely the film world will have its own damage control crew. And like Marvel U. Manhattanites, should such cataclysmic rubblizing ever occur, the real New Yorkers will surely cry, then sing “New York, New York” and then reach for a bagel with schmear….or even a shawarma.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.