Now that Iron Man is a bona fide blockbuster ($102+ million over the weekend, second best non-sequel debut opening ever, more than $201 million worldwide), expect more from the house that is Marvel Comics. Iron Man was the first movie produced fully in-house by the legendary comic imprint (and then distributed by Paramount Pictures), and it definitely will not be the last. Marvel today announced release dates for its upcoming pictures (previously rounded up in our 'Marvel'-ous New Movies spot). Besides The Incredible Hulk this summer, look for Iron Man 2 on April 30, 2010, followed by Thor on June 4, 2010. The following year will be another one-two punch, with the release of First Avenger: Captain America (working title only) on May 6, 2011, and the ultimate superhero group, The Avengers in July, 2011. If these projects can live up to the benchmark set by Iron Man, then we're all in for several big-screen treats. Hulk is looking better by the minute, since it does boast an A-list cast, a cameo from Tony Stark and is finally receiveing some better buzz with the release of its latest trailer. Hopefully, helmer Louis Leterrier has brought his A-game. Other than Robert Downey Jr., I attribute most of Iron Man's high quality to its director, Jon Favreau (maker of Elf, writer-star of Swingers).
At a screening yesterday on the Santa Monica promenade, we ran into Favreau, who was attending the afternoon matinee with just his young son. It was great to have him sit alongside us all through the end credits to see the special clip at the very end. When we congratulated him afterwards, he seemed as humbled and grateful for the film's success as we were to finally see a deserving summer spectacle. His approach -- that of a true fan -- are exactly what's needed for the rest of Marvel's projects.