Marvel Entertainment has just announced that Robert Downey Jr and Don Cheadle have signed on for both Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau will also executive produce The Avengers. As previously reported, Cheadle will be replacing Terrence Howard as Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes.

The announcement also comes with the first look at a plot synopsis tease: ” “In a movie event, The Avengers will bring together the super hero team of Marvel Comics characters for the first time ever, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk and more, as they are forced to band together to battle the biggest foe they’ve ever faced.” Who could that be? With Hulk on the listed team line-up, does that mean that the big green guy is out as a possibility?

Iron Man 2 hits theaters on May 7th 2010, and The Avengers hits theaters on July 15th 2011. Check out the full press release after the jump.

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Favreau gives Tony Hawk a Tour of Stan Winston Studios

The Pitch: While filming an episode of Iconoclasts, Jon Favreau gave skateboard legend Tony Hawk a tour of Stan Winston Studios.

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It has always bothered me when a new actor is brought in to replace another actor who has already been established as a franchise character. I don’t think I’m alone in this viewpoint. The first time I noticed this occurrence was when I was a child and Sarah Chalke replaced Alicia Goranson as Becky (otherwise known as the “Two Beckys”). Sometimes the situation is forced upon a movie studio, like with Richard Harris’ untimely passing, which forced Warner Bros to recast Michael Gambon as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series of films. But other times it just comes down to a disagreement over money. And so appears to be the case with Iron Man 2.

Marvel Studios has hired Don Cheadle to replace Terrence Howard in the upcoming Iron Man sequel. Cheadle will play Jim Rhodes, Tony Stark’s best friend and future War Machine. Director Jon Favreau has made numerous hints that War Machine may play a part in the second film. The Hollywood Reporter’s sources claim it was a conflict due to financial differences. Earlier this year, it was widely speculated that Marvel was trying to low ball Favreau with an offer not much higher than his initial payday for the first film. It is not unusual for salaries to double for a sequel, especially when the first film outperformed to the level that Iron Man had. But from what I’ve heard, Marvel believes the superhero characters themselves are the real stars, and some have said that the company is being thrifty in their negotiations for their future projects.

Most people will agree, Howard and Downey Jr had incredible chemistry. Who knows if Cheadle will be able to reproduce the same magic in the sequel. That said, it is difficult to be angry with a a-level actor like Cheadle coming in for the assist.

Discuss: How do you feel about Don Cheadle replacing Terrance Howard as Jim Rhodes/War Machine?

Disclaimer: The War Machine photo in the header is a fan creation.

Iron Man director Jon Favreau announced on Thursday’s Howard Stern Show that the Blu-ray edition of Iron Man has already outsold every other blu-ray disc release to date. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for only two days on store shelves. Of course, no official numbers have been released to back up Favreau’s claim, but we’ll trust his word for now… It’s believable, and besides, when has he let us down in the past? Favs a good guy. Which is why I’m sad to say that Iron Man’s new record will likely be short lived, as The Dark Knight hits store shelves on December 9th.

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It sounds like Jon Favreau has thought a lot about why some superhero movies just didn’t work while others are super successful. Here is a quote from the Iron Man director from a recent LATimes chat:

“Either the director was unfamiliar [with the] source material or the director chose to depart from it for personal reasons. Another reason is that the studios that had the rights to a particular franchise would never think twice about compromising the source material if thought it would enhance the commercial appeal.”

But is Marvel Studios trying to “enhance the commercial appeal” by rushing the project into production for a 2010 release?

“The date is daunting. We are making much faster progress than the first time around and have much less to design and fewer casting issues. I am confident that 2010 is achievable if we continue working together as we have for the past few months. It has to be great, though. It has to be great.”

Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn will reteam in Couples Retreat, based on an idea by Vaughn, scripted by Favs and directed by Peter Billingsley. This will be Billingsley’s directorial debut. He began has career as a child actor, best known as Ralphie in A Christmas Story, and later the producer of Favreau’s films: Made, Zathura, The Break-Up, Iron Man and Four Christmases. Jason Bateman and Faizon Love are also attached to the film which will start production in late October in Bora Bora and Los Angeles.

The movie will tell the story of four couples who go on a couples retreat to a tropical island. Variety lists the logline as follows: “While one couple is there to work on their marriage, the others are there to play but soon discover that participation in the resort’s couples therapy is not optional.”

Yeah, it doesn’t exactly sound like a follow-up to Swingers/Made.  I’m hoping the duo will eventually film one last movie to complete that series. Which begs the question, is it really a series if the films are not connected?

Four Christmases Movie Trailer

Four Christmases looks like your standard holiday romantic comedy, but I’m still holding out hope considering the film reteams Vince Vaughn with Swingers/Made co-star Jon Favreau, and is directed by Seth Gordon, the filmmaker behind King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters. It was also filmed in my city, San Francisco, which seems to be a reoccurring shooting location for Reese Witherspoon. I wonder if it is in her contract.

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When upscale, happily unmarried San Francisco couple Kate and Brad find themselves socked in by fog on Christmas morning, their exotic vacation plans morph into the family-centric holiday they had, until now, gleefully avoided. Out of obligation—and unable to escape—they trudge to not one, not two, but four relative-choked festivities, increasingly mortified to find childhood fears raised, adolescent wounds reopened…and their very future together uncertain. As Brad counts the hours to when he can get away from their parents, step-parents, siblings and an assortment of nieces and nephews, Kate is starting to hear the ticking of a different kind of clock. And by the end of the day, she is beginning to wonder if their crazy families’ choices are not so crazy after all.

Watch the trailer in High Definition on Yahoo Movies. Four Christmases hits theaters on November 26th 2008.

Like many of you, when I first saw The Dark Knight on the IMAX screen, I knew then that Hollywood had no choice but to follow Nolan’s lead, at least on some of the big tentpole films. How could they not? The footage was just that incredible. Our friends at Collider were at an Iron Man DVD press conference today when director Jon Favreau announced that he would love to shoot part of Iron Man 2 with IMAX cameras. Not only that but the director also said he would love to shoot the sequel in 3D. Will it happen? It will all come down to costs.

Seeing Iron Man flying around the screen in 3D could be very cool, but also limiting. Filming in 3D means that you have to do shorter cuts so that the audience won’t suffer from eye fatigue. However, I think Marvel would be stupid not to shoot some sequences in IMAX. The result for The Dark Knight is undeniable. Many fans went to the theaters twice just to see it again on the huge screen. An extra $60 million from the IMAX box office is certainly enough to at least consider the idea.

Discuss: Do you think they should shoot Iron Man 2 sequences using IMAX cameras? What about 3D?

Jon Farveau Already Working on Iron Man 2

Jon Favreau told the Los Angeles Times that, while there has not been any formal announcement, he has already begun developing an Iron Man sequel.

“We’re working on it now, which hasn’t been officially announced,” he said. “It will be released in 2010.”

Here is a recap of what we already know:

  • Tropic Thunder screenwriter Justin Theroux has been hired to write the script
  • Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrence Howard are expected to reprise their roles.
  • Marvel is hoping to have the film in theaters on April 30th 2010.
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Iron Man Deleted Scene Fills Plot Hole

Iron Man will be released on DVD/Blu-ray next month, and one of the deleted scenes has been released via Access Hollywood. The three-and-a-half minute sequence shows what happens when Tony Stark wants to throw a last minute party at his house in Dubai. This sequence gives an answer to a plot hole some had, because Stark can’t fly from California to the Middle East in the suit, as it would be technologically impossible. There is also a cameo from Ghostface Killah. For those who don’t know, the members of Wu Tang are supposedly big comic book fans, and one of Ghostface Killah’s aliases is “Iron Man” and sometimes “Tony Stark”. The scene also provides Stark with an alibi for his work in the Middle East incident. Essentially, this is the yacht scene from The Dark Knight, but not done as well. But at the end of the day, like most deleted scenes, you can easily see why it was cut.