The news that Walt Disney Studios was finally taking control of Marvel Studios films ruled the news cycle Monday in Hollywood, but there was a bigger story in the release the company issued.
"Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger," which Paramount Pictures will still release next year, are already in production. "The Avengers," which Disney will now market and distribute, has an announced cast, a director and a May 4, 2012 release date. The surprise was the company's revelation that "Iron Man 3" is not only in the works, but it has a release date. The third sequel of the "Iron Man" franchise will hit theaters with a May 3, 2013 opening. That raises some big questions:
Will Jon Favreau return to direct?
He'll be finished with "Cowboys and Aliens" so it's possible...
Does this mean Robert Downey, Jr. is shooting two films as "Iron Man" back-to-back?
Could be. Hope they increased his paycheck from the original contract.
Who will the villain be this time around?
Could the Mandarin, who was hinted at in the original picture, actually appear on screen?
Does this mean no War Machine in "The Avengers"?
Probably. Did you see Don Cheadle on the Comic-Con stage this summer? No, so look for James Rhodes to return in 2013.
Will it be in 3-D?
You're right. Dumb question. Of course it will be.
As for the rest of this week's power rankings…
Oct. 19, 2011
1. "Iron Man 3" and Walt Disney Company (tie)
Disney exerts control and teases the fans that there is much more to come.
2. "The Hobbit" (not ranked)
We have a greenlight and rumors are rampant Peter Jackson's already has his cast ready to go. Why does this feel like old news?
3. "Spider-Man" (last week no. 1)
Oh, now we know who Rhys Ifans is playing (maybe). Sorry we asked.
4. "Jackass 3-D" (last week no. 11)
$50 million opening. Seriously, $50 million. For a second "Jackass" sequel. One word: insane.
5. "The Twilight Saga" (last week no. 9)
Nothing's better than an awards show red carpet to get your cast to rave about a screenplay they are supposed to be media silent on. That's our Jackson Rathbone!
6. "The Hangover 2" (not ranked)
Hey, Mr. Phillips, we're very excited about a "Hangover" sequel. However, we're really not interested in seeing this guy back on screen. What? Lindsay Lohan wasn't available?
7. "Batman 3" (not ranked)
You're not dreaming Tom Hardy. You've been cast in your second Chris Nolan movie. Good things come to those who wait.
8. "Top Gun 2" (not ranked)
Paramount just can't get out of the '80s. First a "Footloose" remake and now a "Top Gun" sequel? Is a "Golden Child" reboot next?
9. "Men in Black III" (not ranked)
Gemma Arterton, Sharlto Copely and Alec Baldwin just made this sequel much more intriguing.
10. "The Social Network" (last week no. 6)
Two weekends with under 35% drops? That's pretty great word of mouth.
11. "The Fighter" (not ranked)
A new preview that actually reflects the movie's true style and David O. Russell's direction. And, imagine this, a whole new audience is interested.
12. Oscar (last week no. 5)
Longer NFL schedule or not, the Academy Awards are officially staying in Feb. until at least 2013. After that point? Watch out.
13. "Alien" (not ranked)
Natalie Portman is circling the prequel to Ridley Scott's classic. We think she should have said yes to Alfonso Cauron's "Gravity" instead.
14. Brown List (not ranked)
Never heard of it? Think of it as a group therapy extension of "Swimming with Sharks."
15. "Winter's Bone" (not ranked)
After ruling the Gotham Independent Film Awards nominations, the Roadside Attractions indie hit makes the power rankings. If it makes
Dropping like a rock…
A $9,305 per screen in just 11 theaters is not how you want to kick off a Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell drama.
Last week's rankings:
Oct. 13, 2011
Power Rankings appear every Tuesday on HitFix. What do you think of this week's rankings? Share your thoughts below.
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