Marvel plans "Iron Man" sequel
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Buoyed by the blockbuster success of "Iron Man" over the weekend, Marvel Studios on Monday announced plans for a string of superhero properties, including an "Iron Man" sequel set for April 2010.
"Iron Man 2" will be followed in June 2010 by the big-screen adaptation of another of Marvel's popular comic book characters, "Thor," the mighty, hammer-wielding hero based on the Nordic god of the same name, the company said.
"Captain America" and "The Avengers" are next in line for the summer of 2011.
The nearly $99 million opening weekend of "Iron Man," Marvel's first fully self-financed production, gave Hollywood's summer movie season a solid start and set the stage for a robust earnings report from the studio's corporate parent, Marvel Entertainment Inc.
Drawing largely favorable reviews, "Iron Man" stars Robert Downey Jr. as billionaire industrialist and playboy Tony Stark, who wrestles with a mid-life crisis as he invents a high-tech suit of armor that transforms him into a superhero.
Kevin Feige, head of production for Marvel Studios, said Downey would return in the sequel as part of his three-picture deal for the franchise. Feige said the gifted actor deserved much of the credit for the film's broad appeal.
"It's great to see a sold-out audience that you know is made up of comic book fans and people who had never read an 'Iron Man' comic in their life," he said.
Marvel shares soared nearly 10 percent on Monday as the company reported first-quarter profits above market estimates and raised its 2008 financial outlook. Continued...