Presenting our weekly round-up of the big news stories from the world of movie superheroes…
With the recent box office disappointment of Green Lantern (which currently stands on a world-wide gross of just $125m), TheWrap posted an article this past week looking at reasons why 2011’s ‘superhero summer’ has been ‘a bust’. Now, I’m not really sure I’d agree with that statement (with Thor standing at $437m and X-Men: First Class $322m, you can hardly call them flops), but the post does raise a few interesting points, such as the increasing decline in 3D, second-tier status of the characters (which I suppose even extends to the majority of the First Class cast) and the fact that there’s been a hell of a lot of superhero films these past couple of years.
Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar also chipped in on the debate over the summer of superheroes on the forums at Millarworld, describing Green Lantern as a ‘blip’ and speculating that the genre will rebound well next year. With The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel all set to arrive in 2012 that certainly looks likely. Nevertheless, I have a feeling that Superman could struggle to match up to its rivals in terms of financial success, while I’m fully expecting the Nicolas Cage sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance to go down the Jonah Hex route of vanishing without a trace.
Now, with all this talk of superhero overload you’d be forgiven for thinking that the studios could be starting to have a few reservations over their spandex cash-cows but – apart from the on / off saga over Green Lantern 2 – that certainly seems far from the case. This past week brought news that The Wolverine is set to start filming in October under new director James Mangold (Knight & Day), with Hugh Jackman speculating that the film “will probably come out a year after that”, while Deadline have revealed that Thor 2 should be hitting our screens in July 2003 despite the surprise “mutual and amicable” departure of Thor director Kenneth Branagh.
In other Marvel news, VP of Production Tom Cohen spoke to CraveOnline about potential future projects, confirming that they have reacquired the rights to The Punisher and are still looking into the idea of bringing Luke Cage and Black Panther to the screen. Meanwhile FilmSchoolRejects also reported that the studio are set to kick start their rumoured short film spin-offs and have already shot two movies to be included as special features on the home video releases of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. This appears to be accurate with a feature on the Thor release entitled Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant, which is said to feature Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson (with Hank Pym, perchance?), and if the studio plan to include future shorts alongside their theatrical releases then it really opens up a world of possibilities. Perhaps Patrick Dempsey will get his shot at Doctor Strange after all.
Turning to The Dark Knight Rises, and despite the super-tight security measures (even Michael Caine has had his bum smacked for talking about the film), there does seem to be a trickle of information emerging from the production. STV reported that an ‘epic’ stunt has been planned for Glasgow that will see Batman (well, not Christian Bale, but you know) pilot a burning Lockheed C-130 Hercules into an emergency landing on the A9 road, while a rumour emerged from Twitter that the Caped Crusader could be adding to his vehicle collection with a military-style ‘Batcopter’. Meanwhile some video footage emerged from the Wollaton Hall / Wayne Manor shoot in Nottingham, along with an image of the cemetery set for the Wayne family plot, while HollywoodLife revealed some potential details on Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman costume.
And, to finish off this week, a host of TV spots (and a new international poster courtesy of Empire) have been released for Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger, one of which includes a brief glimpse of Cap’s present-day discovery in a frozen block of ice. From what we’ve seen so far Captain America looks to have the potential to close the ‘superhero summer’ with a bang when it opens later this month… unless audiences really are growing tired of men in tights, of course.