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What Next For Joss Whedon, Marvel & Hollywood After The Mammoth Success Of 'The Avengers'?

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 7, 2012 at 2:02PM

Most people thought "The Avengers" would make money. The five official Marvel movies to date, from 2008's "Iron Man" to last year's "Captain America" had, after all, made over $2.2 billion worldwide. But most figured that, given that the film followed on to four franchises simultaneously, that there would be a cap on it: surely if "Iron Man 2" made $600 million worldwide, that was the ceiling for the film's grosses? But thanks to sterling reviews, phenomenal word of mouth, and a strong marketing campaign, the film has already made that sum in less than two weeks of international release, topping it off with a record-breaking U.S. opening weekend of $200 million, $50 million ahead of estimates, and $30 million more than the previous record holder, last year's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2"

The Avengers Chris Evans
There are lessons to be learned from "The Avengers" -- principally, giving a talented writer-director like Joss Whedon who loves and knows the characters is probably a good idea. We don't expect that to be the lesson that Hollywood to take away, unfortunately. Hell, even Marvel don't seem to be paying attention, with little-known TV helmer Alan Taylor in charge of "Thor 2," and the Russo Brothers and George Nolfi in the running for "Captain America 2" (maybe they're big fans, but we suspect they're principally guns for hire).

What we do expect to become a new trend in Hollywood are team-up movies. The logic goes that clearly audiences will come in droves to see more than one hero together, so expect to see more and more development following Marvel's long-form plans. Warner Bros in particular are almost certain to start chasing "Justice League" or "World's Finest" pictures (both nearly became a reality in the last decade, with George Miller and Wolfgang Petersen directing respectively). With Christopher Nolan, who's been resistent to team-up ideas, soon to wrap up his Bat-trilogy, the next reboot of the character will almost certainly be moving towards an 'Avengers'-style end-game (though it should be noted, Zack Snyder has already said his Supes will be sepearate from any of WB's plans for "Justice League"). But as Marvel did with The Hulk, it means that the studio can reboot failed properties like "Green Lantern" with a fresh start, and help as-yet-untouched characters like The Flash and Wonder Woman boot-up.

Could we see the trend expand beyond that? With Fox planning reboots of "Fantastic Four" and "Daredevil," it's possible that some of those characters will crop up in "The Wolverine" or others such X-Men movies. Might they even join forces with Sony and create a rival Marvel team-up movie featuring Spider-Man? Studio politics makes it unlikely, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. And comic books aren't the only limitations here: with "Snow White And The Huntsman" planned as a trilogy, could Universal start greenlighting other revisionist fairy-tale movies, with a kick-ass Rapunzel joining up with Kristen Stewart eventually? Could Disney see "Maleficent" cross paths with "Oz The Great and Powerful"? Might their "Magic Kingdom" movie see Jack Sparrow and Buzz Lightyear side-by-side? We hope not, but we're sure some development executive is already preparing a pitch...

This article is related to: The Avengers, Joss Whedon, Marvel, Features

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