This is a busy week for Marvel Comics. Today, their $318 million dollar smash hit Iron Man gets released on DVD, just in time for the holidays! Well, the High Holidays that is. In even bigger news, Marvel announced a massive releasing partnership with Paramount, the studio that shepherded the aforementioned Iron Man into theaters. Over the next eight years, Marvel could deliver ten movies to the studio, including the previously announced Iron Man sequel (May 7th, 2010), Thor (July 16th, 2010), The First Avenger: Captain America (May 6th 2011) and The Avengers (July 15th, 2011). You read the release dates of the latter two films correctly; they’ll be released within six weeks of each other.
Is this a good deal? Obviously the Iron Man sequel is a no-brainer. Despite the fact that it was so under-rated that it became over-rated, that movie made bank. It’s the other the other films which have us shaking our heads. Is the world really clamoring for a Thor film? Even one directed by the great Kenneth Branagh, who is reportedly circling the project? Thor is about a Norse god who carries a hammer. That doesn’t sound like a summer tent-pole as much as it does an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess.
And quality aside, isn’t it possible that by the time 2011 rolls around, super-hero fatigue will be in full swing? Hollywood is cyclical. Right now it’s superheroes and Judd Apatow; in three years, it could, and most likely will, be something completely different.
The thing is, Marvel can’t really afford one misstep, even with Paramount (PARA) distributing these films. If Thor fails, it will be very hard for them to recover financially. For the sake of fiscal responsibility and quality control, maybe they should stick to making Iron Man 2 and call it a day. Be honest: it’s not like Iron Man was so good to begin with that they can’t screw up the sequel.