The Avengers

Here’s the reason Marvel signs actors to long contracts whenever possible. After the success of Iron Man, Robert Downey, Jr.‘s agents worked out a deal with Marvel in which the actor would receive  a percentage of the first-day gross for future films. That’s what led him to nabbing between $50m and $75m for The Avengers. Studios hate paying anyone up front like that whenever it can be avoided, and even Downey has laughed about the unusual pay rate he got to play Tony Stark.

Now, after the release of Iron Man 3, Downey has no contract with Marvel. In fact, a few actors have no contract to appear in The Avengers 2, and after the billion-dollar-plus success of the first film, bringing them back together won’t be cheap. Marvel likes cheap, and so actors have begun to master the art of negotiating in public by letting us know that there’s a chance Marvel will make films without them. How’s that going to work out?

Well, Downey is reportedly in talks for two more Avengers films, but there’s no plan set in stone just yet, and no public talk of Iron Man 4. Read More »

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Briefly: Tony Stark has defeated the Iron Monger, Whiplash and now he’s beaten Harry Potter, Jack Sparrow and Batman, too. Iron Man 3 opened this weekend with a whopping $175.3 million box-office take, the second best opening weekend of all-time. The only film Stark couldn’t beat? His own. 2012′s The Avengers remains the all-time record holder with $207.4 million from Friday to Sunday.

What’s even more impressive about the Shane Black-directed film? As it opened internationally a week prior to the US opening, Iron Man 3 has now grossed $680 million globally in its first week, outgrossing the entire run of both Iron Man ($585.2) and Iron Man 2 ($623.9 million).

The only questions now are, can Iron Man 3 combine the grosses of 1 and 2? Which other summer movie could topple it, if any? And will there be an Iron Man 4? [Box Office Mojo]

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Iron Man 3 is a bundle of contradictions. It is light and genuinely funny, yet a vein of deep cynicism acts as the movie’s spine. At times it is gleefully silly, but it indulges ideas that are merely goofy. It wants to reconcile real-world violence into larger-than-life escapism. Yet the contradictions don’t quite break the movie. Director/writer Shane Black and co-screenwriter Drew Pearce understand the mode in which they have to work, and manage to make both impulses live side by side.

Those contradictions give Iron Man 3 a weird sense of pace, and a personality that isn’t quite like any other superhero movie. This isn’t the gleeful candy-colored romp of The Avengers, and I sympathize with any audience thrown by the film’s shuffling rhythm. Shane Black writes and directs movies that walk a fine line between idiosyncratic and mainstream, and many of the director’s impulses (winking narration, in-jokes, the subversion of cliches) are on display here.

Black and Pearce struggle at times to keep all their ideas in the frame, but that struggle alone makes Iron Man 3 interesting to watch. The film’s giddy highs are quite wonderful, and its personal quirks are testament to the power Marvel Studios has accumulated. The film plays loose with characters and ideas from the comics, but in doing so presents a story that is more unique than we have any right to expect from a threequel. In fact, crossover between real and heightened worlds has defined Marvel Comics since day one, and Iron Man 3 may be more true to Marvel’s spirit than any other film.

(Note: Iron Man 3 features a couple big plot elements that shouldn’t be spoiled, and so the following review avoids discussing those elements. I’m not going to say this is 100% spoiler-free, but I’ve avoided the big points. ) Read More »

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At movie junkets, the cast and crew of movies sit in a chair all day while hundreds of interviewers rotate in, most asking the same exact questions. The result is that the talent begin repeating the same soundbites over and over again. So much so that it almost becomes a script. Sometimes you go into one of these rooms, asking a different question that no one else has asked, and the tired actor might just try to find a way to work one of the dozen now-scripted soundbites as the answer, never really touching on your question. I always try to ask questions that aren’t asked by other journalists, but I try to stay away from the tv interview set-ups as they create an environment of recycled soundbite with not enough time to delve into any real substance.

But I do enjoy watching the tv interviews from the few journalists that find a way to keep the talent on their feet, and out of the soundbite zone. Daniele Rizzo is a German comedian who we’ve featured on the site in the past, usually working fun sketch interviews in at international film junkets. This time around Rizzo has shown up at the Star Trek Into Darkness junket as “Spocko”  to grill both cast and crew on the details of their missions. He also showed up at the Iron Man 3 junket to ask Robert Downey Jr & Gwyneth Paltrow the important questions in full costume as Italian Iron Man. He may not get any serious answers or scoops, but its fun to watch.

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Briefly: In the big GQ profile of Robert Downey, Jr. that ran a few weeks ago, the actor mentioned the version of Pinocchio that he had been working on with Tim Burton set to direct. Downey pitched the idea to Warner Bros. (his first pitch, he said!) and positioned it as a high priority for him. In another interview, Downey suggested that Burton had fallen away, and that Ben Stiller had become his choice to sit in the director’s chair.

Now Deadlne has confirmed that Stiller is in talks to direct the movie. Downey’s a pretty powerful guy right now, and with his career in a state of semi-free agency thanks to the end of his Marvel contract, one would guess that he can get just about whatever he wants, so it’s not surprising to hear that this is in motion. Stiller and Downey have a working history as well, thanks to Tropic Thunder. And with footage from Ben Stiller’s new film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty drawing raves and early Oscar predictions after debuting at CinemaCon, he’s in a good place as well.

Jane Goldman wrote one draft of Pinocchio; but now the film will go in a new direction with a new writer.

Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr

Tim Burton and Robert Downey Jr. have been linked to Warner Bros.’ live-action Pinocchio since early last year — in fact, Downey pitched the movie to the studio — but during the fall the director admitted that he was starting to doubt the film would ever get made. Now it appears Pinocchio is, in fact, moving forward, and there’s reason to think it will be without Burton.

Italian publications have quoted Downey as saying that he hopes Ben Stiller will direct the film. The pair previously worked together on 2008′s Tropic Thunder. Hit the jump for more info.

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Iron Man 3 screened for press in London last night, and while reviews remain embargoed, Twitter reactions were given the OK by the studio. And so now we’ve got the first slate of responses to Shane Black‘s film featuring Robert Downey, Jr. in his fourth turn as Marvel’s armored hero.

They’re not the most measured group of reactions, and as with any collection of first-blush responses to a big film the first Twitter posts only hint at what we might find in the movie. But if you’re looking for a general “is it good or not?” answer, you might get an idea below. Read More »

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It’s no secret Iron Man 3 marks the end of Robert Downey Jr.‘s contract with Marvel. The actor has been vocal about it, the president of the studio Kevin Feige has talked about it, but everyone agreed concentrating on Iron Man 3 was the most important thing. That film is now done and hitting theaters in mere days. So talk once again turns to Downey’s future with Marvel. The actor’s charismatic turn as billionaire playboy Tony Stark is credited for igniting the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while he feels like an integral part of that universe Downey recently revealed he has an end in mind for his Marvel run.

In a new interview with GQ magazine, the actor said he’s had a ton of fun playing Iron Man and hasn’t decided anything for sure, but suggests about three more years is as far as he can go with the role, at least physically. After that, he’d like to direct and star in a Halloween-set thriller. Read the quotes below. Read More »

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