Ever since Nick Fury appeared in the post-credits ‘easter egg’ in the first Iron Man film, comic-book fanboys and fangirls have been waiting for this news, that “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” were going to unite in a big-budget feature. It’s no longer speculation and rumor true believers! The Avengers (the Marvel super-team – not to be confused with the John Steed & Emma Peel duo) will be battling the forces of evil on the silver screen, featuring the stars of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, under the direction of Joss Whedon (creator of cult sci-fi classic Firefly & Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
Here’s the skinny from Walt Disney Studios, owners of the Marvel brand:
BURBANK, Calif. (April 26, 2011) — Production has commenced today in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Marvel Studios’ highly anticipated movie “Marvel’s The Avengers,” directed by Joss Whedon (“Serenity”) from a screenplay by Whedon. The film will continue principal photography in Cleveland, Ohio and New York City. Robert Downey Jr. (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) returns as the iconic Tony Stark/Iron Man along with Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) as Thor, Chris Evans (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) as Captain America, Jeremy Renner (“Thor,” “The Hurt Locker”) as Hawkeye, Mark Ruffalo (“The Kids Are Alright”) as Hulk, Scarlett Johansson (“Iron Man 2”) as Black Widow, Clark Gregg (“Iron Man,” “Thor”) as Agent Phil Coulson, and Samuel L. Jackson (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) as Nick Fury. Set for release in the US on May 4, 2012, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is the first feature to be fully owned, marketed and distributed by Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009.
Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Marvel’s The Avengers” is the Super Hero team up of a lifetime. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as SHIELD, finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster.
Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, “Marvel’s The Avengers” brings together the mightiest Super Hero characters as they all assemble together on screen for the first time. The star studded cast of Super Heroes will be joined by Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother) as Agent Maria Hill of SHIELD, as well as Tom Hiddleston (“Wallander”) and Stellan Skarsgård (“Angels & Demons,” “Mamma Mia!”) who will both reprise their respective roles as Loki and Professor Erik Selvig from the upcoming MarvelStudios’ feature “Thor.”
“Marvel’s The Avengers” is being produced by Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige, and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D’Esposito, Patty Whitcher, and Jon Favreau. Marvel Studios’ Jeremy Latcham and Victoria Alonso will co-produce.
The creative production team also includes Oscar® nominated director of photography Seamus McGarvey (“Atonement”), production designer James Chinlund (“25th Hour”), Oscar winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”), Oscar winning visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs (“Iron Man 2,” “The Matrix”), visual effects producer Susan Pickett (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”), stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell (“Superman Returns”), and four-time Oscar nominated special effects supervisor Dan Sudick (“Iron Man,” “War of the Worlds”). The editors include Oscar nominated Paul Rubell (“Collateral”) and Jeffrey Ford (“Crazy Heart”).
Marvel Studios most recently produced “Iron Man 2” which was released in theatres on May 7, 2010. The sequel to “Iron Man,” starring Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow as well as Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke, took the number one spot its first weekend with a domestic box office gross of $128.1 million. To date the film has earned over $620 million in worldwide box office receipts.
In the summer of 2008, Marvel produced the summer blockbuster movies, “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk.” “Iron Man,” in which Robert Downey Jr. originally dons the Super Hero’s powerful armor alongside co-stars Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, was released May 2, 2008 and was an immediate box office success. Garnering the number one position for two weeks in a row, the film brought in over $100 million its opening weekend and grossed over $571 million worldwide. On June 13, 2008, Marvel released “The Incredible Hulk” marking its second number one opener of that summer. The spectacular revival of the iconic green goliath grossed over $250 million in worldwide box office receipts.
ABOUT MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT:
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety ofmedia over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises inentertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com.
You’ve gotta give credit to Marvel for sticking with the plan of rolling out their series of films – Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America – to finally bring it all together in the ultimate cinematic team-up. And all despite Robert Downey Jr. having a falling out with his Iron Man director, Jon Favreau; Hulk star Edward Norton being dropped from the role; and Marvel Studios getting bought up by Disney. These issues could have derailed plans for creating a film version of the shared Marvel Universe. Some fanboys will argue that Favreau’s departure from the Iron Man franchise helped open the door for Whedon – the dream director for many comic fans – to be brought on to helm The Avengers. So it looks like “everything’s coming up Millhouse” for Marvel Studios right now.
And the marketing machine behind the whole endeavor has been impressive too. By rolling out a series of DVDs featuring the animated features, they’ve been able to raise awareness of these characters in a market that is oft-times unfamiliar with comic-book characters. (Again, when I say ‘Avengers’ do you think Tony Stark or John Steed?)
Now, let’s hope that that the movie doesn’t suck.:)
THE AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES Vol. 1 (Single Disc DVD) hits stores Tuesday, April 26. MSRP $19.99 Rated: TV-Y7 (*Bonus materials not rated) Run Time: Volume 1 – Approximately 154 minutes (seven 22-minute episodes) Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 (16×9 widescreen) Sound: Languages: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Sound English & Spanish