Over the past few years, Comic Con has become all about Marvel. The comic book company’s heroes are represented everywhere at the giant event from toys on the convention floor to costumed fans have worked on for months. So expectations are always high for Marvel’s panel presentation.
This year, the company (which is now owned by Disney) didn’t disappoint. Almost the entire cast of the upcoming Avengers sequel managed to make it to the convention in a massive showing on stage. Only director Joss Whedon, who had knee surgery and couldn’t fly out of London, and Scarlett Johansson, who is close to giving birth weren’t there. But Robert Downey Jr., Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth and rest of the gang showed up to present fans with the first footage of Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
The clip started with a classic Avengers scene of our heroes dressed as civilians having drinks and jokingly trying to lift Thor’s hammer (which can only be wielded by the person who is worthy) but segued into the meat of the upcoming movie – the threat from Ultron. The giant robot is voiced by James Spader and looks ready to exterminate The Avengers. The clip ended with a shot of Tony Stark standing over what looks like the dead body of Captain America.
There was plenty of action sandwiched in, including cars flying and robots attacking. Fans in the hall seemed thrilled by what they saw.
But despite all the happy joking that went on today, there’s a lot of pressure on this next film. The first Avengers movie is the third highest-grossing film of all time with $1.5 billion in global ticket sales. Iron Man 3 came close with $1.2 billion, but most sequels earn more than their original films. Can Age of Ultronbring in $2 billion at the box office?
Movie goers certainly show no signs that they are tiring of Marvel’s films. The movies are earning more money than ever. The latest Captain America film, The Winter Soldier, earned $713 million at the global box office, almost $400 million more than the first Captain America movie. Iron Man 3 was the highest grossing of that series and the second Thor movie out-earned its original by $200 million.
Other studios will be watching next May, when Ultron hits theaters, with a certain amount of hope that the Marvel gravy train may finally start to slow down. The films are setting the bar so high that other studios with comic book superhero projects, like Sony, Warner Bros. and Fox, are in the awkward position of having to explain why their successful movies aren’t earning $1 billion at the box office.
Marvel took advantage of the Comic Con setting to also push its Ant Man movie. The film ran into a snag in May when director Edgar Wright left the project citing “creative differences.” Director Peyton Reed, who is best known for directing the cheerleader comedy, stepped in and he was on hand at Comic Con along with stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly and Corey Stoll. The movie officially starts filming next week and is scheduled for release in July of next year (which is an incredibly tight time frame) but the studio had some footage for the crowd.
Ant Man looks like it will closely follow the Marvel mode of mixing humor with bright colors and lots of action. The clip showed a tiny Scott Lang struggling to master being Ant Man. Stoll, who was so good in the first season of House of Cards, plays the villain Yellow Jacket and Michael Douglas plays an aging, sharp tongued Hank Pym.
The presentation followed Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass panel and it was hard to ignore the fact that the Marvel panel was extremely testosterone heavy. Maybe in the next phase of Marvel films, we’ll finally see a movie directed by a woman or centered on a female super hero.
The final announcement during the Marvel panel was a date set for the sequel toGuardians of the Galaxy (which hits theaters August 1). That film was written by a woman, Nicole Perlman, which is a good start.
Authored by Dorothy Pomerantz via forbes.com.