Marvel's The Avengers (classified under the name Marvel Avengers Assemble in the UK and Ireland), or simply The Avengers, is a 2012 American superhero film produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures,1 based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It is the sixth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is scripted and directed by Joss Whedon and features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård and Samuel L. Jackson. In the film, Nick Fury, director of the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D., recruits Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor to form a team that must stop Thor's adoptive brother Loki from subjugating Earth.
The film's development began when Marvel Studios received a loan from Merrill Lynch in April 2005. After the success of the film Iron Man in May 2008, Marvel announced that The Avengers would be released in July 2011. With the signing of Johansson in March 2009, the film was pushed back for a 2012 release. Whedon was brought on board in April 2010 and rewrote the original screenplay by Zak Penn. Production began in April 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio, in August and New York City in September. The film was converted to 3D in post-production.
The Avengers premiered on April 11, 2012, at Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre and was released theatrically in the United States on May 4, 2012. The film received positive reviews from most film critics and set or tied numerous box office records, including the biggest opening weekend in North America and the fastest film to gross $1 billion. The Avengers grossed $1.51 billion worldwide, and became the third highest-grossing film of all time. The film was released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on September 25, 2012. A sequel to be written and directed by Whedon is scheduled for release on May 1, 2015.