With "Iron Man" looking to score anywhere between $70-110 million in its opening weekend at the U.S. box-office, plans for a sequel are ramping up fast.
Sumner Redstone and Brad Grey tell Entertainment Tonight that should all go well, Paramount will greenlight a sequel for early May 2010. Adding to that, The IESB reports that Robert Downey Jr's personal trainer for the film is about to start training with Downey again and will have him "ready to wear the suit again in just 5 months".
The move comes at an interesting time for Marvel. The studio has been steadily churning out 2-3 films per year since 2002 using characters from their comics stable. Yet as independent producers now ("Iron Man" is their first production as a true independent entity), surprisingly little is happening in terms of the brand's future.
Whilst "Iron Man" is a guaranteed hit, reaction to their two other upcoming films this year ("The Incredible Hulk," "Punisher: War Zone") has been far more tepid and faces challenges from rival comic adaptations with far more anticipation and buzz - "The Dark Knight" and the "Hellboy" sequel.
On top of this, all of Marvel's other assorted projects from "Thor" and "Captain America" to established franchises like "Spider-Man" seem to be stuck in development phase.
Commendably president of production Kevin Feige said in an interview this week that "We're not going to risk our characters by rushing them... two or three years is the proper time between movies." It's expected that details of the next franchise they plan to kick off with will be announced on Monday.
"Wolverine", currently shooting in Sydney, is Marvel's sole release next year. After its debut next May, there's nothing set for what the studio plans to churn out next.