Marvel extends distribution deal with Paramount
Though hard to deny the colossal success of The Dark Knight, it can’t be said that Marvel slept through 2008. Iron Man was the second highest grossing film of the year, taking in $318 million domestically and $571 million worldwide. It wasn’t long after the appropriately Stark-sized success that Marvel Studios announced official development on further film projects. Today, it was announced that Shakespearean director Kenneth Branagh is in talks to direct Marvel’s Thor. Now, only hours later, Marvel has yet another big announcement.
Marvel Studios has extended their distribution pact with Paramount Pictures. Paramount will distribute Marvel’s next five films. These films include Iron Man 2 (May 7, 2010), Thor (July 16, 2010), The First Avenger: Captain America (May 6, 2011) and The Avengers (July 15, 2011). The deal also covers Iron Man 3, which was always an assumed project but is now officially in the woodwork.
The agreement includes theatrical distribution in foreign countries previously uncovered by Paramount. Such territories include Japan, Germany, France, Spain and Australia/New Zealand. Due to a prior arrangement, Iron Man 2 will be distributed in Germany by Telemunchen.
"Coming off of Iron Man’s incredible success this summer, we could not be more excited about extending our relationship with Marvel," Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said of the new deal. "Marvel’s iconic brand, its popular characters and its proven ability to create compelling and visually spellbinding films complement Paramount’s great history of filmmaking."
Iron Man 2 reunites the creative powerhouse of director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr. Terence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow are expeced back and director Favreau has been meeting with Iron Man scribe Matt Fraction top kick around story ideas although the War Machine armor is expected to debut.
Thor, set for release two months after Iron Man 2, was written by I am Legend screenwriter Mark Protosevich. Actor/director Kenneth Branagh is attached to direct.
The First Avenger: Captain America comes from a screenplay by Zak Penn, and is rumored to be a World War II-era period piece. No casting announcements have been made regarding Steve Rogers, but rumors have ranged from Leonardo DiCaprio to Will Smith.
These properties will culminate in 2011’s The Avengers, Marvel Studios’ big team-up epic. Captain America, Iron Man and Thor are set to headline with their respective actors in place. The films leading up to the project will feature interweaving cameos from other Marvel characters, such as Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury appearing after the credits in Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. at the end of The Incredible Hulk.
Assuming that the remainder of Marvel’s current slate succeeds on the same scale as ol’ Shellhead’s cinema outing, this could be the start of a very long, beautiful relationship between Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures.