Friday, 23 December 2011

The Avengers confirmed as 3D & the 2nd, Mystery, Marvel Studios film gets a new date; but still clue to its secret identity..?

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Disney set about announcing details for its 2 major studios, Pixar & Marvel Studios, today. Whilst Pixar’s  Frozen, a fairy tale, and will be released on the 27th of November 2013. (12 Days after, fellow Disney Company, Marvel Studios’ Thor 2). Bigger news is the confirmation that The Avengers will continue the pattern set by Thor & Captain America: The First Avenger and be released in 3D (& 2D of course).

Way back on the 8th of August Disney announced that 2 dates in 2014 were booked for Marvel Studios films. (Click the link below to see more.)

Marvel stakes out 2 Summer 2014 dates in response to Spider-Man webbing up their favourite release date!

But today they announced that the second of those two films got brought forward from the 27th of June to the 4th of April 2014. Unfortunately the film remains unnamed; so the speculation can continue unabated! Of course the most likely film to fill one of the slots is a sequel to Next Year’s The Avengers (3D). That being the case it would explain Disney’s / Marvel Studios’, reluctance to ‘Put the cart before the horse’ and announce an expensive sequel to film that hasn’t even been out yet (let alone proven to be profitable in these volatile times for many movies). Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim, Shaun of The Dead, Spaced & Tintin) has long been at work on Ant-Man and it’s 11 months since Marvel Studios commissioned Mark Bailey (Ghosts of Abu Ghraib) to write The Black Panther, based on Marvel’s (and mainstream, American, Comic books’) first ‘major’ black super hero. So that’s three films vying for 2 spots.

But there’s more than that waiting. Marvel Studios have repeatedly said that details on ‘Phase 2’ of their entry into the film making business (AKA what we do after we cement the MCU, unified movie universe) with The Avengers, won’t be finalised / released until after the success of The Avengers can be measured. Whilst it was sensible to very quickly stake out, and announce, dates for sequels to Iron Man 2 and Thor; the dates for sequels to Captain America and The Incredible Hulk (Which is still neither certain, nor off the table) are to be determined as Marvel Studios / Disney ponder the balance between sequels to the established characters solo and team efforts with the desire to launch fresh, new characters.

There’s also the balance to be found between expensive launches like Thor, Iron Man & Captain America, and the less risky path of introducing characters in Avengers films, or other MCU films; As has been done with S.H.I.E.L.D, Nick Fury, War Machine, Hawkeye & Black Widow. All of whom are to appear, together or apart in future films about S.H.I.E.L.D & / or Hawkeye & Widow. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has spoken about increasing the number of films Marvel Studios releases in a year from 1 or 2 (so far the pattern is 2-0-1-2-1-2-2: from 2008 – 2014) to 2 – 3 films a year. With Thor 2 now a winter film, perhaps moving Mystery film B up to the start of April is the precursor to a third mystery film being announced for November 2014? So font runners are The Avengers 2, The Black Panther and Ant-Man. But also in the hunt are Doctor Strange (which Kevin Feige has discussed more than once), Captain America 2, The Incredible Hulk Returns (The TV show may be based in the same timeline, but being a prequel would not affect the character’s future film appearances), Nick Fury agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, Hawkeye & Black Widow (although that film could be folded into the S.H.I.E.L.D movie, Luke Cage: Power Man and Runaways are all apparently in the mix having had some eat at one time or another this past year or 2.

The question is, with younger viewers absent from American cinemas for much of 2011; Fox & Sony restarting the Marvel Characters they have the rights to (X-Men, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Daredevil & The Fantastic Four) and Warner Brothers continuing to strive for life outside of Batman, with Man of Steel, Justice League and probably another go at Green Lantern; can Marvel Studios sustain a 3 or 4 film a year slate without watering down the desire for these films? Quality and diversity are key, of course, but it may not be enough. Many a quality film went to the wall in North America this year. That said it is hard to imagine The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises failing to be in 2012’s top 5 grossers list; even the Amazing Spider-Man has a shot; in fact based on the success of the other 3 Spider-Man films compared to the Batman and Marvel Studios movies, The Amazing Spider-Man is in best shape too challenge for $1b and number one film of the year. I’m not saying I think that will happen, just putting the numbers out there and the fact that Spider-Man remains the most popular American Superhero to the public at large. (Sorry comic book readers, but it is true.)

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