Right now, Marvel is behaving a lot like they just graduated from college. Yes, that "Iron Man" internship opened a lot of doors, but the "Hulk" side venture didn't really yield the results they were hoping for. Their side projects for next summer -- "Thor" and "Captain America" -- do show promise, and it's good to see them taking initiative. But, if reports are to be believed, the folks at the House of Ideas are looking underneath their sofas and mattresses for extra change, because "The Avengers" might be a bit too costly for their inexperience.
Bleeding Cool, in a bit of specious rumor-mongering, claims that, true to form, Marvel is looking to cut costs on their upcoming tentpole that begins shooting next spring. While they don't have any exact sources, or even anonymous quotes, they theorize that Marvel is eying a budget on par with what Sony spent on the original "Spider-Man." Even with "X-Men" breaking out, Sony was memorably gun shy about "Spider-Man," though Box Office Mojo lists the budget at $139 million. Still, considering the first "Spider-Man" featured one superpowered hero and a villain in a plastic robot suit, you'd think the adventures of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Hawkeye and whichever world-beating supervillain would cost, oh, $100 million extra?
The site goes on to point to (apparently) overheard bar conversations between people involved in the movie, where some have plotted their exit from the project, while others intend to keep working, assuming that Marvel finds a way to eventually tack some extra cash onto the budget at the eleventh hour from what is supposedly a very quickly emptying bank account. Shooting is meant to start in spring, in not-that-cheap Manhattan, and if the film clocks in at less than $200 million, that means it will likely be cheaper than fellow 2012 releases "Battleship," "The Dark Knight Rises," "Men In Black 3D," "Star Trek 2" and "John Carter Of Mars." Which... didn't seem likely when Marvel first announced their "Avengers" plans in the wake of "Iron Man."
Bleeding Cool continues to posit that, despite the lack of an official comment from Marvel or "Avengers" distributor Disney, the film's pre-production might be delayed weeks, perhaps even months due to staff turnover. Given the indefinite postponement of Marvel's "Runaways" and the seemingly desperate scheduling of "Iron Man 3" for 2013, it does seem like Marvel is trying to move fast before their parents realized they graduated without a stout financial plan. It will be interesting to see how this rumor plays out in the coming weeks; a number of actors have obviously cleared their schedules and turned down offers to reprise their roles and Marvel will want to make sure they keep their talent, already agreeing to modest pay for the gig, happy.