The Problem with Superhero Sagas: Why Treating Movies Like Television Is a Bad Idea

by     Posted 20 days ago

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When Marvel Studios started producing its own films with Iron Man in 2008, many in the industry and the public at large were quite sure that they would fail.  Headlines famously accused the comic book company of delving into its “second-tier superheroes” in order to compete with the likes of Batman and Spider-Man at the box office, and few could have predicted just how successful the studio’s new venture would be—or that Iron Man was only the beginning.  The tag at the end of the Iron Man credits introducing Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury kicked off one of the more ambitious feats in recent film history, beginning a series of interconnected movies that featured different lead characters inhabiting the same cinematic universe.  This culminated in the 2012 team-up film The Avengers to the tune of $1.5 billion.  Marvel Studios is now no longer just a production company; it’s a brand.

As with any successful brand, imitators followed.  Other major studios are aiming to mimic Marvel’s success with their own interconnected universes, and just recently Warner Bros. announced release dates for nine untitled DC Comics adaptations that will surely all connect to one another.  However, this new approach to franchise filmmaking—ostensibly treating movies as episodes in a TV series—may actually be robbing us of more creatively satisfying superhero adaptations. 

Watch: Every Marvel Easter Egg Explained Through THOR: THE DARK WORLD

by     Posted 28 days ago

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When Marvel Studios kicked off its first independent production with Iron Man in 2008, few could have predicted that it would become the juggernaut that it is today.  “Marvel” is no longer just the company, it’s the brand name.  This is why Guardians of the Galaxy is much less of a risk than people might think; a “Marvel Movie” is a massive selling point in and of itself.  One of the benefits of the autonomy that Marvel Studios has enjoyed over the past few years is the ability to pepper its films with Easter Eggs that actually pay off, rather than ones that are just simply sly nods to the source material that never go anywhere (though there are a few of those too).  In celebration of this weekend’s release of Guardians of the Galaxy, a video has been put together that points out every single Easter Egg in the Marvel films through Thor: The Dark World, from obvious ones like Cap’s shield in Iron Man to more obscure comics references.

Hit the jump to watch the Marvel Easter Eggs explained, and sound off in the comments if there are any that were missed. 

TOP 5: First Trailer and Poster for GRAVITY, NINJA TURTLES Set Pics Galore, Kevin Feige Interview, ENDER’S GAME Trailer, IRON MAN by the Numbers

by     Posted 1 year, 110 days ago

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Last night I turned to Xbox Live to check out Shane Carruth‘s Upstream Color for the first time. While not quite as impenetrable after one viewing as its predecessor, 2004′s Primer, Upstream still demands the utmost attention of its viewers in exchange for the slightest hint of clarity. The dialogue is sparse, the setting is ever-changing, the editing is heavily dependent on juxtaposition as a way of creating meaning, and the sound design/foley work is turned up to “11″ at times. Whereas Primer played more to the intellect behind making time travel a reality, Upstream is an extremely visceral experience that is more interested, or at least more successful, in eliciting an emotional response than explaining how a rare organism can be harvested, used as a method of mind control, and ultimately link humans to pigs. The exact degree to which it succeeds will vary from viewer to viewer but it’s ultimately an experience I recommend taking in.

Of course a movie like Upstream lends itself to more than a few lines of my humble analysis, but that’s not actually why we’re here. In this week’s Top 5 you can check out the first trailer and poster for Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity, a generous number of set pics from director Jonathan Liebesman‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, Steve’s exclusive phone interview with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, the first trailer for Ender’s Game, and a look at Iron Man by the Numbers. A brief recap and link to each will greet you after the jump.

Iron Man by the Numbers: IRON MAN, IRON MAN 2, and IRON MAN 3

by     Posted 1 year, 116 days ago

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Just five years ago, Iron Man was on the fringes of pop culture.  Marvel Studios capitalized on the opportunity to make Iron Man the flagship superhero of Phase 1 on the way to The Avengers, and with the help of a resurgent Robert Downey Jr. and an eager Jon Favreau, turned Tony Stark into a household name.  I try to capture that journey with Iron Man by the Numbers, a feature that provides a numbers-based snapshot of each movie and its place in the filmography by looking at the box office, critical reception, and miscellaneous facts.

Hit the jump for a comprehensive review of Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Iron Man 3.

Weekend Box Office: IRON MAN 3 Scores Second-Highest Opening Weekend Ever with $175.3 Million

by     Posted 1 year, 116 days ago

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Everyone said it would be big and, for once, everyone was right. In its first three days, Iron Man 3 has earned an estimated $175.3 million, making it the second-highest domestic debut of all time behind The Avengers. Worldwide, the Marvel/Disney sequel has earned $504.8 million since its international roll-out began on April 24th, giving it an enormous global cume  of over $680 million in twelve days.

Here’s a look at the top five US openings of all time, including today’s Iron Man 3 estimate:

  Title Opening
1.   The Avengers   $207.4
2.   Iron Man 3   $175.3
3.   Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2   $169.1
4.   The Dark Knight Rises   $160.8
5.   The Dark Knight   $158.4

Hit the jump for more details, including the weekend’s top ten.

Friday Box Office: IRON MAN 3 Earns $68.1 Million on Opening Day; On Track for Second-Highest Weekend of All Time

by     Posted 1 year, 117 days ago

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After setting records all around the world with its international roll-out last week, Iron Man 3 has finally arrived in US theatres. The Disney/Marvel sequel took in a reported $68.1 million from its 4,253 locations on Friday, including $15.6 million earned from its Thursday night/midnight screenings. That blows away the $51.2 million debut of Iron Man 2 on this weekend in 2010, though, as expected, it is well short of the $80.8 million earned by 2012’s The Avengers. Overall, Iron Man 3 now claims the second-highest May debut of all time and the eighth best single-day opening overall.

The current projection for IM3’s opening weekend is $169 million – though that number has shifted continuously for the past 24 hours. A couple of million in either direction would not be enough to put the film past The Avengers’ record of $207.4 million, of course – though anything over $169.1 million would replace Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 as the second-highest debut weekend of all time at the domestic box office.  Check back tomorrow for the complete Iron Man 3 breakdown.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Iron Man 3 $68,132,000 $68.1
2.  Pain & Gain $2,345,000 $28.6
3.  42 $1,790,000 $73.9
4.  Oblivion $1,700,000 $71.8
5.  The Big Wedding $1,200,000 $11.5

New Deleted Scenes from THE AVENGERS and an Alternate Ending for IRON MAN 2 [Updated with Shawarma Featurette]

by     Posted 1 year, 147 days ago

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Marvel finally released the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One box set earlier this week, and included in the collection is a bounty of extras from the studio’s past and future films.  We’ve already shared a collection of images, video, and concept art for a few of the Phase Two films, and today quite a few deleted scenes from The Avengers and Iron Man 2 have surfaced online.  The Avengers scenes are minor bits and pieces that were nipped out of the finished film, but the Iron Man 2 footage is fascinating because it reveals an alternate ending for the film that involves Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash kidnapping Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper.  It’s rather anticlimactic and it’s not hard to see why Jon Favreau went back and reshot the ending that now concludes the final iteration of the film.

Hit the jump to watch the deleted scenes from The Avengers and the alternate ending for Iron Man 2. [Update: We've added the "And Then Shawarma After" featurette after the jump, which takes a brief look behind the scenes of the Avengers tag.]

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled 10-Disc Blu-ray Box Set Images; Includes Captain America Trading Cards & Note from Tony Stark

by     Posted 1 year, 155 days ago

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After a bit of legal hassle, the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled Blu-ray box set is set for release on April 2.  The 10-disc set features the six Marvel movies Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers.

A bunch of pictures of the box set and the contents inside have surfaced online.  In addition to all the movies and special features, the box set suitcase offers Captain America trading cards, Thor’s drivers license, and a bar napkin note from Tony Stark among other goods.  A sticker also promises an exclusive look at Iron Man 3 and Phase Two.  See all the images after the jump or click here to buy it on Amazon.

Geek Gifts: Hot Toys IRON MAN 2 Hall of Armor Includes Mark I – VII

by     Posted 1 year, 238 days ago

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We’ve got a ridiculously impressive Geek Gift to share today.  Hot Toys is known for their highly detailed collectibles, but now they’re gearing up to release Tony Stark’s entire Hall of Armor from Iron Man 2.  This thing comes in two different versions, one with seven sets, and one with four, including Stark’s Mark I – VII.  It’s a beaut, but it’s not cheap.  The full set of seven will run you $799.99, the set of four is $469.99, and if you just want one it’s $129.99.

Hit the jump to check out the images and specs for the Iron Man 2 Hot Toys figures.

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One Blu-ray Set Release Delayed Indefinitely Due to Lawsuit [Update: Set to Release in Spring 2013 with Design Changes]

by     Posted 1 year, 358 days ago

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Over the past couple of weeks, Marvel has been releasing bits and pieces from the special features that will be included on the upcoming Blu-ray release of The Avengers, but the studio was also planning to release an ultimate collector’s set to coincide with The Avengers’ home video release. “Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled” was announced earlier this year as a collector’s Blu-ray set that included all the Marvel films that have been released thus far—Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers—on Blu-ray in one handy box set.

One of the draws to the bundle was its briefcase-like packaging that mirrored the case containing the all-important Tesseract from The Avengers.  It was a neat idea and superfans were eager to get their hands on it, but there was just one problem: Marvel neglected to get permission from the briefcase’s maker to reproduce and distribute it to hundreds of thousands of fans.  As such, the release of the collector’s set has been halted indefinitely.  Hit the jump for more. [Update: More info follows after the jump.]

Artwork for Marvel’s AVENGERS ASSEMBLED Blu-ray Set Revealed; Great Individual Covers for Each Film by Matthew Ferguson

by     Posted 2 years, 48 days ago

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Last month, Marvel announced that they’ll be releasing a 10-disc, six-movie Blu-ray collector’s set called Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled.  The ginormous set will include all of Marvel’s films up through The Avengers, as well as loads of special features.  Now Marvel has released some truly gorgeous box art for the set, as Matthew Ferguson has cooked up some fantastic sleeves to go with each corresponding movie.  The sleeves will house each individual movie, while the actual box for the whole set looks like it’ll be in the shape of a briefcase.

Hit the jump to check out the images, and begin the debates over which one’s the best.  Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled will hit stores on September 25th.

First Preview Trailer for Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled Blu-ray Set

by     Posted 2 years, 61 days ago

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Marvel’s The Avengers just officially crossed the $600 million mark domestically, making it the third highest grossing film of all time both domestic and worldwide.  It’s safe to assume that plenty of those who saw the film multiple times in the theater will be grabbing the Blu-ray once it hits shelves this fall, but Marvel is also releasing a 10-disc 6-movie Blu-ray collector’s set that includes all of the studio’s superhero movies thus far.  A preview trailer for the set has gone online, and while it doesn’t unveil the exclusive special features or even the box art, it’s a pretty exciting mash-up of footage from Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers.

Hit the jump to watch the preview trailer.  More information on the set is poised to be announced on July 15th, but no official release date has been revealed just yet.  The Avengers hits DVD and Blu-ray on September 25th.

Marvel Set to Release AVENGERS ASSEMBLED 10-Disc Six-Movie Blu-ray Collector’s Set

by     Posted 2 years, 88 days ago

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In the event that you haven’t picked up all of the previous Marvel movies separately, the studio has a beast of a Blu-ray collection headed our way.  We previously reported that a 10-Disc special edition set was in the works, and now Amazon has provided a listing for Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled.

Hit the jump for more details.  There’s currently no official release date or price for Avengers Assembled, but Amazon says more information about the set will be announced on July 15th, which makes a 2012 release highly likely.  The Avengers will hit Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download on September 25th.  If Avengers Assembled does hit this year.

Weekend Box Office – THE HUNGER GAMES Stays Ahead of WRATH OF THE TITANS and MIRROR, MIRROR

by     Posted 2 years, 149 days ago

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Surprising no one, The Hunger Games stayed in first place for a second week in a row with an estimated $61.1 million, or a decline of 60%.  Meanwhile this weekend’s new releases – Wrath of the Titans and Mirror, Mirror – had to settle for second and third, respectively. And, again, we’re back to being really, really not surprised.

Title Weekend Total
1 The Hunger Games $61,100,000 $251
2 Wrath of the Titans $34,200,000 $34.2
3 Mirror, Mirror $19,000,000 $19
4 21 Jump Street $15,000,000 $93
5 The Lorax $9,010,000 $189.5
6 John Carter $2,005,000 $66.2
7 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen $1,274,000 $3.1
8 Act of Valor $1,006,000 $67.7
9 A Thousand Words $915,000 $16.5
10 Journey 2 $835,000 $98.4

See IRON MAN, INCREDIBLE HULK, THOR and More in Theaters Again at AMC’s Ultimate Marvel Marathon

by     Posted 2 years, 169 days ago

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We’re a little less than two months away from the release of The Avengers, and the impending premiere is becoming quite apparent. Just yesterday we brought you a bevy of information on the all-star superhero movie from writer-director Joss Whedon, and now AMC Theaters has announced a movie marathon event set to take place the day before The Avengers hits theaters. “The Ultimate Marvel Marathon” will unfold in select AMC theaters across the country and will feature back-to-back-to-back showings of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, and ultimately The Avengers.

The whole thing starts on May 3rd at 11:30am and runs all the way through the midnight showing of The Avengers. It’s quite an ambitious feat, and I’m not sure I’d be able to make it all the way through without feeling like a zombie during The Avengers, but I’m sure there’s plenty of you out there up for the task. It’d definitely be interesting to watch all the Marvel films in a row and spot how well the films do—or don’t—lead into one another (Bruce Banner’s been Ruffalo-ed!). Hit the jump to find out when advanced tickets go on sale.

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