Without spoiling anything for those who haven't seen The Avengers yet, we can say that the movie features a rather large and destructive battle between superheroes and shape-shifting Chitauri aliens that occurs on the island of Manhattan. (Several shots from this sequence are included in the trailer below.) What if this was, um, real? Intrepid industry publication The Hollywood Reporter wanted to know, so it hired a consulting firm to estimate the real-world cost of damage to Gotham as depicted in the movie.
According to the Kinetic Analysis Corporation (KAC), the total cost to restore New York City if The Avengers wasn't just a movie would be $160 billion—$60 or $70 billion for physical destruction, the rest in various types of economic impact. For real-world comparison, the 9/11 attacks cost $30 billion, the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami $122 billion, and Katrina and the federal floods over $90 billion, all according to KAC.
To its credit, KAC got into the spirit of the occasion. The title of the two-page document is "Chitauri Invasion of New York City." Among the report's conclusions:
"Cleanup from monster attacks and alien invasions often have complications not found in natural catastrophes."
"There was considerable collateral damage of questionable necessity by at least one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives (Hulk)."
You can read the full report here.