Marvel Comics‘ PR teased yesterday that it would be revealing an explosive new comic book title on The View. Why would Marvel choose that girly gab fest to unveil a superhero? Turns out they had good reason. They seem to have fired the Mighty Thor (in the comics at least; don’t worry, Chris Hemsworth, you haven’t been axed from tentpole duty) and are introducing a female replacement for the venerable God Of Thunder. It’s a new female superhero creation who has been handed the baton, or rather the mighty hammer, and will swing it against evil. Explained Marvel editor Will Moss: “The inscription on Thor‘s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well, it’s time to update that inscription. The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute. She’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy.” Wow, Chris Hemsworth, call your agent quick! The new comic will be written by Thor: God Of Thunder‘s Jason Aaron with art from Russell Dauterman.
Holy Odin! Marvel Just Announced A Gender Change For Thor On ‘The View!’ Has Comic Empire Jumped Shark?
The Studio previously announced it had reached a record high on November 12, when it surpassed the $3.791 billion set in 2010. In July, Disney was the first studio to reach the $1 billion domestic box office milestone for the year, a threshold it has achieved for eight consecutive years. In August, in record time, Disney reached the $2 billion international box office threshold for the fourth year in a row, and in early November the studio surpassed its previous all-time international box office record of $2.302 billion, also set in 2010.
He has been on the big screen in the Big Apple doing Shakespeare a lot over the years but Kenneth Branagh is finally going to make his first appearance on the New York stage in Macbeth next summer. Fresh from a run this summer of the infamous Scottish play at the Manchester International Festival, the recently knighted actor will both co-direct and take on the lead role in the play at NYC’s Park Avenue Armory in June 2014. The actor will be joined in the New York Macbeth at the 55,000 square feet Armory by former ER star and former Royal Shakespeare Company member Alex Kingston. The actress also played Lady Macbeth in the UK version of the play last month. “I am delighted that we have the chance to recreate Macbeth in this epic setting,” said Branagh in a statement today. Though well known for his film turns in Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It and 1996’s Hamlet, for which the Thor director was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at that year’s Oscars, Macbeth is not only Branagh’s first onstage performance in New York but his first Bard performance since a 2002 role as Richard III.
Don Payne, whose screenwriting credits include 2011′s Thor, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer and My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and who was an award-winning writer/producer on The Simpsons, has died. He had been battling cancer. Payne started out in TV, hooking up with writing partner John Frink before graduating with a screenwriting master’s from UCLA. They penned episodes for such series as Hope & Gloria, The Brian Benben Show and Veronica’s Closet. Payne and Frink eventually joined The Simpsons in 1998, sharing in four Emmys for Outstanding Animated Program. In 2005, Payne received the WGA’s Paul Selvin Award for penning the Simpsons episode “Fraudcast News”, which skewered the TV news business. Another Simpsons episode — co-written as was the usual case with Frink — was “The Bart Wants What It Wants,” was nominated for a WGA Award for animation in 2003. Among his projects in the works, Payne, who described himself in a LA Times interview as “superhero geek”, wrote the first draft of Thor sequel Thor: The Dark World. He also was in development on Maximum Ride, based on the James Patterson books. In addition, as consulting producer he penned two Simpsons episodes that will air this fall: this year’s Christmas show “White Christmas Blues” and ‘Labor Pains”, which is set to air November 3. He is survived by his wife and three children.
EXCLUSIVE: Comic-Con fixture J. Michael Straczynski will launch a new media company here to handle his prolific output in comic books, digital, TV series, feature films and video games. Studio JMS is designed to bring his output under one roof, and the idea is for the projects to cross-pollinate in other media.
Straczynski’s work ranges from writing/producing TV series that include Babylon 5 and Jeremiah, scripting films that include Thor, Ninja Assassin, Underworld Awakening and the Clint Eastwood-directed Changeling, and hatching comic books that include the Amazing Spider-Man and Superman: Earth One.
Straczynski will run the studio with Patricia Tallman, who has done her share of acting in horror and sci-fi films, and appeared in Babylon 5 as an actress. For the past decade, she ran Talent To Go as creator and co-owner. They have a number of initiatives that include an ambitious feature that will mark his directorial debut.
The Flickering Light, Straczynski tells me, is a fact-based film about how Nazi propaganda director Leni Reifenstahl, making a film that required Spanish actors, rented ethnic-looking Jews and gypsys, men, women and children who were imprisoned in the Max Glan Concentration Camp outside Berlin. During the course of the shoot, bonds were formed between the “actors,” who were brought back to resume their hellish existence in the camp after each day’s shooting. If you think that Reifenstahl is getting slack …
It was expected that intellectual property lawyer Marc Toberoff, who is suing Disney/Marvel on behalf of the heirs of legendary comics artist Jack Kirby, would appeal the decision by a federal judge in U.S. District Court for the Southern District Of New York that went against him. The judge not only granted the studio motions for summary judgment but also denied the Toberoff/Kirby’s cross-motion for summary judgment. The ruling revolved around character ownership and the fact that Kirby was a freelance writer who did work-for-hire and so didn’t retain the copyright. As Toberoff had told me at the time, “This is just the beginning.” The notice of appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal was filed today. Specifically, the estate of comic book superhero legend Kirby — co-creator of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Thor — sent notices terminating copyright to publishers Marvel and Disney, as well as film studios that have made movies and TV shows based on characters he created or co-created, including Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. Normally these kinds of lawsuits are run of the mill for Hollywood. But not when they’re litigated by Toberoff, who is the bane of Big Media studios because he has a winning track record.
UPDATE, 3:10 PM: CEO Bob Iger told analysts that Disney hasn’t seen much change in consumer spending plans as a result of the stock market gyrations and recession talk over the last few days. He adds that he doesn’t think that price discounting at the theme parks is “something we’ll have to do quickly.” In the conference call analysts mostly wanted to know Iger’s thinking about when and how he’ll offer Disney movies and TV shows to online streaming services such as Netflix. He says that “we’re in discussions with Netflix and a number of other entities and it’s likely we’ll make more deals” soon. Online services will land ”little, if any” TV shows the same season they initially air. Iger wants to “protect and respect” current cable and satellite pay TV providers. Indeed, even though Iger wants to sell Hulu — which Disney co-owns with News Corp and Comcast’s NBC Universal — it’s unclear whether he’ll help the cause by guaranteeing that a buyer fresh Disney programming on an exclusive basis for several years. Speaking generally about online Iger says that “I don’t think we’ll make long term deals for the content. The world is changing” too quickly. “It’s exciting, but we’re still at the beginning of the beginning.”
PREVIOUS, 1:23 PM: The bad news is that Cars 2 and Thor, both released in the quarter that ended in June, were no match for last year’s Toy Story …
EXCLUSIVE: Intellectual property lawyer Marc Toberoff has a winning track record when he goes after Hollywood studios on behalf of rightsholders. But not today. I’ve just learned that he lost big in Federal Court for the Southern District Of New York after suing Disney/Marvel for the Jack Kirby Estate. The federal judge not only granted the studio motions for summary judgment but also denied the Toberoff/Kirby’s cross-motion for summary judgment. The ruling revolved around the fact that Kirby was a freelance writer and did work-for-hire and so didn’t retain the copyright. Well, you win some and you lose some. But all the Hollywood studios are chortling because they now see Toberoff as vulnerable and not invincible. “This is just the beginning,” Toberoff just told me, noting that, after the Kirby Estate exercised their termination rights under the Copyright Act, Marvel (backed by Disney) was in the middle of settlement negotiations in December 2009 and sued the Kirbys on January 8, 2010 in NY to benefit from that state’s more favorable work-for-hire case law. UPDATE: The
Walt Disney Companyissued this statement regarding the Marvel Worldwide Inc. v. Kirby ruling: “We are pleased that in this case, the judge has confirmed Marvel’s ownership rights.”
Specifically, the estate of comic book superhero legend Jack Kirby, co-creator of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Thor, sent notices terminating copyright to publishers Marvel and Disney, as well as film studios that have made movies and TV shows based on characters he created or co-created, including Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. Normally these kinds of lawsuits are run of the mill for Hollywood. But not when they’re litigated by Toberoff, who is the bane of Big Media.
Thanks to the bounty from such films as Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Super 8, Thor, Rango and Kung Fu Panda 2, Paramount confirmed today that it has crossed the $1 billion mark at the domestic box office for the year. It is the first studio to surpass the milestone — the fifth consecutive year it’s been first. From Jan. 3-July 4, the studio’s overall domestic cume is $1.024 billion. Earlier this month, Paramount Pictures International crossed the $1 billion mark in overseas box office.
EXCLUSIVE: In the past month, the screenwriting team of Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz have seen their script work on Thor and X-Men: First Class lead to big opening weekends. The scribes are capitalizing on their heat by making film and TV deals. The duo just made a pre-emptive pitch deal worth high six-figures with Skydance Productions principals David Ellison and Dana Goldberg for an untitled contemporary disaster/action film. The style is ’70s fare like Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno and Earthquake. Specifics are being kept under wraps.
Miller & Stentz have also just sold a pilot to 20th Century Fox for mid six figures, with Shawn Levy and Marty Adelstein producing. The scribes are currently writing a remake of the Lee Majors stuntman TV series The Fall Guy for producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. The project is set up at Imagenation, with an eye toward distribution through DreamWorks. They wrote an untitled “Knight Project” for Fox, and did production rewriting work on the Dimension Films “found footage” thriller Apollo 18. The feature success comes after Miller & Stentz spent years as writers/producers on series that include Fringe, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Andromeda. The scribes are repped by Principato-Young and WME.
Looks like May wasn’t so bad for movie studios after all. Five of the month’s eight major theatrical releases tracked by SNL Kagan are poised to be profitable. Averaged together, each of the films will generate $464.7 million from theaters, home video, and TV sales. That’s 2.13 times the films’ estimated average cost of $217.7 million — making this the most lucrative May since 2007 when revenues on average were 2.4 times higher than expenses. Since the cost tallies don’t include distribution fees, interest, profit participation and residuals, Kagan figures a film will be profitable if revenues are 1.75 times higher than the estimated expenses.
Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides sailed to the head of the profitability armada. Kagan figures the studio ultimately will see $1.2 billion in revenue, 2.88 times its estimated $421.9 million cost. Warner Bros’ Hangover Part II follows with expected revenues of $611.4 million vs costs of $213.8 million. The winners list also includes Universal’s Bridesmaids ($311.0 million over $139.6 million in expenses), Paramount’s Thor ($660.7 million over $301.5 million) and DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 ($652.3 million over $301.8 million).
Expected losers are TriStar’s Jumping The Broom ($63.4 million vs costs of $66.9 million), Warner Bros’ Something Borrowed ($94.2 million over $135.9 million), and Screen Gems’ Priest ($108.7 million over $160.6 million).
Monday’s box office actuals show that No. 1 Marvel/Disney’s Thor distributed by Paramount finished its opening weekend with $65.7 million. No. 2 Universal’s Fast Five ended wih $32.4M, or -69%. But the real story was the +13% Mother’s Day leap from Saturday’s gross by No. 3 TriStar/Sony’s African American-targeted Jumping The Broom for a $15.2 debut weekend. Sony crowed that it was “an indication of the electric word of mouth among its audience”. No. 4 Alcon Entertainment/Warner Bros’ Something Borrowed finished with $13.9M. And rounding out the Top 5 was Blue Sky Studios/Fox’s Rio 3D toon with $8.5M.
Mighty ‘Thor’ Hammers $242M Global Cume; ‘Fast Five’ $324M; ‘Jumping Broom’ $13.7M; ‘Something Borrowed’ $13.1M
SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 6TH UPDATE: Welcome to the first of the big comic book-inspired movies on the Big Screen this summer, with Fox’s X-Men: First Class, Warner Bros’ Green Lantern, and Marvel’s Captain America to follow Marvel/Disney’s Thor distributed by Paramount. Total gross for all films is $161M but still off last year’s by 10% (when Iron Man 2 did $128M all by itself). Here are the following Top 10 North American grosses for Friday and Saturday and this domestic weekend in addition to international and worldwide cumes:
1. Thor (Marvel/Disney/Paramount) NEW [3,955 Theaters]
Friday $25.7M, Saturday $23.5M, Weekend $66M
International $176M, Global Cume $242M
Saturday brought in younger and family audiences to this latest in the Marvel Studios productions which earned a ‘B+’ CinemaScore overall, and an ‘A’ for ages under 18. Hollywood was predicting a $60+ million domestic weekend opening for Marvel/Disney’s Thor, with Paramount distributing. The PG-13 Norse God actioner had already made $133M from 56 territories so far with Finland and China opening this weekend. Now, in its second weekend of widespread release on the international circuit, Thor posted a formidable $46M from 12,476 positions in 60 markets for an overseas gross of $176M to date — or global cume of $242M outside the US and Canada — and in only 11 days has already outgrossed the final cume of X-Men 1, Fantastic Four 1 and the first Hulk movie from Marvel. In the U.S. and Canada, the film debuted as the No. 3 Marvel title — well ahead of X-Men and Fantastic Four and The Hulk, which all did around $55M, but nowhere near the $100M+ of Iron Man or Spider-Man. With Universal’s holdover Fast Five speeding to another strong weekend, Thor opened against such stiff competition, even with $3.25M in midnight box office compared with Fast Five‘s $3.8M midnights for its U.S. and Canada debut. But the Norse god took advantage of 3D’s higher ticket prices, including at 214 iMAX theaters domestically, for $6.6M and another 70 screens overseas. Reviews have been good, and British Kenneth Branagh’s direction and Aussie newcomer Chris Hemsworth in the title role of The Mighty Thor earned a 92% rating currently on Rotten Tomatoes. The good-looking Hemsworth allowed for heavy PR to drum up appeal among women with his shirtless clip a popular choice for talk shows with large female audiences who also were targeted with a Royal Wedding blitz. To solidify male appeal, Paramount had spots during the Super Bowl and NCAA Basketball, the UFC Marathon and UFC Fight Night Live Premiere. And, to appeal to the feeble-brained, Thor ads aired on the finale of Jersey Shore.
Thor launched in 1962 and has endured for almost half a century across comics, toys, animated series, and now a movie. Like Iron Man, Marvel thought Thor deserved to be made in its own right and lends a long history to The Avengers. (Aka Marvel’s Avengers Assemble strategy. Expect to see agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., previously seen in the Iron Man movies, foreshadowing the coming of The Avengers). The challenge for Paramount was to market a reverse superhero story: a hero becomes a man. “Our challenge was to emphasize what was unique about his character and define him for audiences,” a studio exec told me. So the TV ads reminded: “The world has many heroes but only one is a God.” This epic adventure spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard with the powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth. Thor was produced by Marvel wunderkind Kevin Feige, with Alan Fine, Stan Lee, David Maisel, Patricia Whitcher and Louis D’Esposito serving as executive producers from a screenplay by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz and Don Payne and a story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich.
2. Fast Five (Universal) Week 2 [3,644 Theaters]
Friday $10.6M, Saturday $12.8M, Weekend $32.5M (-62%), Cume $139.9M
International $184.8M, Global Cume $324.7M
The -62% domestic drop was primarily due to the loss of all IMAX screens and large-format screens which had only been booked for one week. But abroad Fast Five is the No. 1 film in the world for the second week in a row and the biggest international weekend in Universal’s history. It continued its international rollout with No. 1 openings in 44 more territories this weekend for 58 total. Fast Five set records for the biggest opening of the Fast franchise, and was the biggest opening day and biggest opening weekend in Universal’s history in 12 markets, including Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Netherlands, Malaysia, Thailand, Italy, France, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, India, Vietnam. International grosses were an estimated $86.6M at 6,979 dates in 58 territories and raised the international total to $184.8M. The worldwide total including the outstanding domestic box office of $139.9M will reach $324.7M today.
3. Jumping The Broom (TriStar/Sony) NEW [2,034 Theaters]
Friday $4.1M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $13.7M
Sony was only expecting TriStar’s Jumping The Broom this weekend to do somewhere between $8M to $10M on the film that was made for just $6.6M. Hey, if major studios keep making cheap movies like this that do double the predicted grosses, I’m going to have a tough time making fun of mogul tightwads. Pic received an ‘A’ CinemaScore straight across the board — women, men, all ages. “Exits show we hit our target as 70% of this weekend’s audience was female and 64% was over 35,” A Sony exec tells me. Aimed at older African-American women, the PG-13 film focuses on two “Uptown meets Downtown” families who meet for the first time at a weekend wedding on Martha’s Vineyard in what is billed as an ”insightful and inspirational” comedy. The key for Sony was reaching out to faith-based audiences. Bishop TD Jakes, who is a producer on the film, hosted screenings at religious conferences throughout the country. On the media front, Sony worked with TLC on special wedding programming and on tie-ins with Royal Wedding coverage in local markets. There also was strong BET promotion since both the director/executive producer of The Game, Salim Akil, directed the film, and a co-star of The Game, Pooch Hall, co-starred in this film as well.
4. Something Borrowed (Alcon/Warner Bros) NEW [2,904 Theaters]
Friday $4.8M, Saturday $4.9M, Weekend $13.1M
This run-of-the-mill rom-com based on the novel by the same title earned a ‘B’ CinemaScore: ‘B+’ among females, ‘C+’ males. Financed and produced by Alcon Entertainment (The Blind Side) with Warner Bros just distributing, the pic was counter-programmed against Thor and Week 2 of Fast Five and was always expected to open in the low teens. Luke Greenfield directed from a screenplay adaptation by Jennie Snyder Urman. Hilary Swank was one of the producers. Gee, Kate Hudson’s career looked interesting when she did Almost Famous. But a succession of mediocre romantic comedies like this one where two female frenemies fight over the same man (so anti-woman) have made her into yesterday’s news. Sad that.
5. Rio 3D (Blue Sky Studio/Fox) Week 4 [3,708 Theaters]
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $3.5M, Weekend $8.2M, Cume $114.9M
6. Water For Elephants (Fox) Week 3 [2,820 Theaters]
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $2.2M, Weekend $5.6M, Cume $41.6M
7. Madea’s Big Happy Family (Tyler Perry/Lionsgate) Week 3 [2,288 Theaters]
Friday $1M, Saturday $1.6M, Weekend $3.9M, Cume $46.8M
8. Prom (Disney) Week 2 [2,730 Theaters]
Friday $794K, Saturday $960M, Weekend $2.4M (-49%), Cume $7.8M
9. Soul Surfer (FilmDistrict/Sony) Week 5 [2,010 Theaters]
Friday $590K, Saturday $850K, Weekend $2.1M, Cume $36.6M
10. Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs Evil (The Weinstein Co) Week 2 [2,505 Theaters]
Friday $433K, Saturday $877K, Weekend $1.8M (-54%), Cume $6.7M
Meanwhile, Summit Entertainment and Participant Media platformed Mel Gibson’s comeback movie The Beaver directed by Jodie Foster in 22 theaters across the top ten markets in North America: weekend gross was $104K, with a paltry per theater average. Doesn’t bode well for pic which expands on May 20 and will be brought to Cannes.
I’ve had a front-row seat on a fascinating drama unfolding behind the international grosses for Universal’s Fast Five and Paramount’s distribution of Marvel /Disney’s Thor over the past 10 days. This weekend they went head to head in more than a dozen countries. The feud started because of Paramount’s decision to move onto Fast Five‘s Easter weekend Down Under. That created ill will, so Universal has been crowing about how much its street racing fivequel has been beating the Norse god pic overseas. Now Thor insiders are nervous that the lopsided victory of Fast Five internationally will hurt the Disney/Marvel’s domestic box office when it opens in the U.S. and Canada this coming Friday. Rarely have I seen studios bicker back and forth about box office as intensely as during this matchup. Especially when Paramount is only distributing Thor for its standard fee from Marvel. But it’s all about market share and just plain pride. Universal has been hit starved in the live action arena for so long that it’s releasing foreign numbers almost hour by hour, to the great consternation of Paramount which is pointing out that sequels always do better overseas. Paramount also is claiming that this may be Universal’s only really big hit of the summer. Strange thing to say, since Paramount is distributing foreign for DreamWorks/Universal’s Cowboys & Aliens. But, hey, all is fair in love and war and grosses, and I’m enjoying the heck out of this box office throwdown.
Universal preened about Fast Five results in Russia (where FF 68% ahead of Thor), Germany (FF 86% ahead of Thor), Spain (FF 30% ahead of Thor), Austria (FF 202% ahead of Thor), Switzerland (German-speaking area), Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, and Korea. But Paramount boasted that Thor recorded the highest opening weekend gross at the international box office this year and had big No. 1 openings this weekend in the UK, Ireland, France, Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, and Italy.
Here’s the strange thing about IMAX these days: the large screen exhibitor reported terrible financial results for the first quarter although analysts were projecting it would continue to report a profit. Yet its stock price closed up 6% at $34.24, for a more than 60% gain over the past year. Even this morning, Wall Street was reassured by the IMAX upbeat projections for ticket sales and global expansion plans. Which is why CEO Richard Gelfond today tells me that 1st quarter financial results are not nearly as terrible as they look.
GELFOND: If you strip out nonrecurring things, it really shows up as a 4 cent (earnings per share) number. That was a little short of expectations among analysts. And I think frankly some of that happened because we incurred expenses in China in building our business there. Some in R&D, and reinvesting in our business. And I think people didn’t understand that the first quarter was devoid of any blockbuster films. For us, if the box office drops 25% — as it did — as long as there are blockbuster films that doesn’t matter. We don’t play a full film slate. We play just a couple of films. But what made the quarter noteworthy was that there were no blockbuster films. That has a big impact on us. Fortunately, starting tonight at midnight, we have Fast Five domestically and Thor internationally. So the blockbuster season …
UPDATE 4 PM: It’s a big start to Summer 2011, with both the Marvel/Disney actioner Thor 3D distributed by Paramount and Universal’s Fast Five such huge hits in their opening week. Both movies opened earlier overseas than in U.S. due to the Easter holiday Down Under.
Friday numbers for the start of the Easter weekend have just come in for Fast Five from Oz and Kiwi. In Australia, Fast Five is No. 1 again with 35% market share. Today’s gross is $2.4M (U.S. dollars) at 229 dates, up 20% over Thursday. The two-day total is $4.6M and the three-day cume is now is $6.7M. In New Zealand, Fast Five is No. 1 again today with 40% market share. Friday’s gross is $230K at 55 dates for a two-day total of $490K.
1:45 PM: Through today, Thor 3D has grossed $3 million (U.S. dollars) in Australia, or 30% ahead of the first two days of the original Iron Man, which did $2.3M. (Of course, IM1 was only 2D, so no higher 3D ticket prices.)
Well, this is a surprising start for the first two big films of Summer 2011. Marvel/Disney’s Thor 3D distributor Paramount opened on Thursday in Down Under thinking its Norse God would steal Fast Five‘s thunder from Universal, which opened its street car racing pic the day before. Didn’t happen. Day Two of Fast Five beat Thor by 38% — $2.02 million U.S. dollars vs $1.5 million U.S. dollars — even though both films are playing in the same number of theaters (220), Fast Five is only 2D so can’t command the higher 3D ticket prices, and Thor‘s lead Chris Hemsworth is Australian. Universal is crowing that its Day 2 of Fast Five was ahead of Iron Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 and its cume there is now $4.43 million U.S. dollars. Meanwhile, also today, Fast Five‘s previews in Korea are running 34% bigger than Fast And Furious (the fourquel in the franchise). In North America, Fast Five opens April 29 and Thor on May 6.
In what amounts to a non-story, Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige has unwittingly whipped the web into a frenzy by acknowledging the possibility that both Thor and Captain America: First Avenger will be sequel-ized. Feige gave an innocuous interview to a Disney fan club magazine that hasn’t been published yet. And he didn’t really say anything. First of all, the promise of sequels is the whole reason Marvel makes and Disney finances/distributes these superhero movies, and the studio’s intentions were bared back when they signed Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans to superhero deals laden with sequel options. Same with directors Kenneth Branagh and Joe Johnston. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely reportedly are already working on the Captain America 2 script, and the same thing will happen soon with Thor. Most of the other news nuggets dropped by Feige were equally familiar, including the chatter about Dr. Strange percolating, which Deadline revealed last June.