Something funny happened on the way to Comic-Con for Marvel Studios.  All the attention next week should have been focused on the introduction of Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans as Captain America, two cornerstones of Marvel's long anticipated "The Avengers" super hero team-up movie.  Instead, in a series of stories broken exclusively on HitFix, director Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige are going to have to face numerous questions about the departure of Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk. 

The intention was to have the entire Avengers team including Hemsworth, Evans, Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man), Scarlett Johansson (the Black Widow), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and whomever will now play Banner take the stage together for the first time.  With production expected to begin sometime next spring or early summer it was unclear whether the cast could make it back to San Diego for next year's convention.  That "surprise" plan is now in doubt.  Feige has promised to cast a known actor as the Hulk in the next few weeks, but it will take a lot of Downey, Jr. and Evans' charms to make this a comfortable photo opportunity for all involved.  But, then again, that's why these actors get the big bucks isn't it?  The drama was certainly enough to shoot "The Avengers" to the top of this week's power rankings, but it was hardly the only big mover on the charts.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

1. "The Avengers" (not ranked)
If this much drama is occurring before the movie begins production, what's going to happen once the cameras start rolling?

2. Comic-Con 2010 (last week no. 12)
Who needs '"Twilight" with "Scott Pilgrim," "Thor," "Captain America" and "Megamind" making their Comic-Con debuts?

3. "Inception" (last week no. 1)
Pre-release polling shows a $50-60 million debut.  Not bad for a Nolan flick without 'The Dark Knight.'

4. Miramax (not ranked)
Disney - stop the insanity!  Every day there's more evidence of how unprepared the construction magnet Ronald Tutor is to own an Oscar-winning film library.  The latest?  Director David O'Russell quits the Tutor-produced "Nailed." It's time to stop this crazy sale before its' too late!

5. "The Kids Are All Right" (last week no. 10)
Wow. The biggest limited debut of the year in the middle of the summer.  Critically acclaimed dramedy is now coming to a city near you in the very near future.

6. MGM (not ranked)
Lionsgate presents a merger plan to the MGM board.  Does the mighty lion really have a choice at this point?

7. "Predators" (last week no. 8)
A $24.3 million debut is pretty amazing considering how weak 20th Century Fox's marketing effort on this one was. And the film ain't bad either.

8. "The Twilight Saga" (last week no. 2)
'Breaking Dawn' will shoot in both Louisiana and Vancouver.  Oh, and 'Eclipse' is already at $459 million worldwide with many international markets to go. 

9. Roman Polanski (not ranked)

The legendary filmmaker won't be extricated back to the U.S., but, sadly, most of Hollywood is just glad the whole mess is over...and for all the wrong reasons.

10.  "Wicked" (not ranked)
Development is heating up on a movie version of the Broadway megahit.  Will J.J. Abrams, Ryan Murphy, James Mangold or Rob Marshall end up directing it?

11. "Despicable Me" (not ranked)
$56 million opening for the underdog animated flick.  Huge win for Universal Pictures that everyone in town is already ignoring.  Except for Pixar and DreamWorks Animation of course.

12. "X-Men: First Class" (not ranked)

Matthew Vaughn's latest has a Prof X, a Magneto, a Banshee, a Beast and a Havoc.  They better find a Cycops and a Jean Grey pretty quick.

13. Academy Awards (not ranked)

The Academy doesn't take the summer off. New rules and new board members.

14. "The Social Network" (not ranked)
David Fincher's Oscar contender will open the prestigious New York Film Festival.  'Nuff said.

15. "The Hobbit" (not ranked)
Peter Jackson is traveling the states meeting with actors, but still doesn't have a contract or a greenlight.  Sigh.

Dropping like a rock...

*"Knight and Day"

Still has a chance to hit $80 million domestic, but its poor performance appears to have made Paramount Pictures skittish about moving forward with "Mission Impossible IV" with Tom Cruise. But they say they are still doing so.

Movie Power Rankings usually appear every Tuesday on HitFix.  Share your thoughts on this week's list below.
 
Last weeks rankings:

July 6, 2010