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The Playlist

25 Blockbuster Threequels: Did They Sink Or Save Their Franchises?

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • May 2, 2013 3:04 PM
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  • 35 Comments
A lot's been written over the years about sequels -- when they go right and bring us a welcome return to characters and themes we'd flocked to see the first time out and, more often, when they do not, and instead deliver diminishing returns in everything except box office terms. But what of the second sequel, the so-called "threequel"? It's a franchise entry that presents its own specific challenges -- is it the conclusion to a trilogy (like "The Dark Knight Rises") or just the continuation of a franchise (such as "Die Hard With A Vengeance")? Does it have lost ground to make up after a disappointing second entry ("Mission: Impossible 3") or are expectations at an all-time high following a mark II triumph ("Return of the Jedi")? This weekend, we all get to see whether "Iron Man 3" rises to or sinks beneath its particular set of challenges -- you can read our judgement here -- but it's a situation with pitfalls Marvel head Kevin Feige, for one, was fully aware of.

Quicksilver & The Scarlet Witch Confirmed For 'The Avengers 2' (For Now)

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 1, 2013 8:09 PM
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  • 2 Comments
So, remember just over a week ago when Joss Whedon not-so-subtly teased that his script for "The Avengers 2" script contained, "two of my favorite characters from the comic book, a brother/sister act"? While he didn't come right out and say it, speculation centered on Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch -- sibling twin superheroes -- that thanks to complicated rights issues, are able to be used by both Marvel and 20th Century Fox. And it looks like the guesswork was spot on.

How Marvel's Movie Risks Paid Off & How The Studio System Could Stand To Pay Attention To Them

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 1, 2013 11:00 AM
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  • 39 Comments
Marvel RIsks, feature
In Steven Soderbergh's state of cinema address earlier this week, he remarked that, "Art is a very elegant problem solving model." He went on to describe his ideal model for a studio: "I think if I were going to run a studio I’d just be gathering the best filmmakers I could find and sort of let them do their thing within certain economic parameters." Now, the point of his impassioned address, which included such other applicable witticisms as "it's about horses, not races," is about what the studios should be doing versus what they are doing. But there is a studio that has followed his exact advice and it's not one you would expect: it's Marvel Studios.

Robert Downey Jr.'s Career In 7 Films

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • April 30, 2013 1:02 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Robert Downey Jr., essential performances
"Big man in a suit of armor. Take that away then what are you?" asks Captain America (Chris Evans) in Joss Whedon's "The Avengers." "Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist," shoots back Tony Stark, in a quip that, delivered either of two ways, is only slightly more impressive than the actual truth. Because of course, outside the suit, and outside the Marvel films, Iron Man/Tony Stark is in fact, Robert Downey Jr, and he's one of the biggest movie stars on the planet.

Tony Stark Jumps Out Of A Plane In Clip From 'Iron Man 3' Plus New TV Spot

  • By Joe Cunningham
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  • April 29, 2013 3:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment
“Iron Man 3” may not have opened domestically yet, but it has opened in near enough 80% of international markets and grossed a not inconsiderable $195 million already -ahead of last year's record-breaking “The Avengers." So the question now is: how big will its stateside debut be? And does it have any hope of actually rivalling "The Avengers'" massive haul?

The Most Anticipated Blockbusters Of The 2013 Summer Season

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 29, 2013 12:03 PM
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  • 5 Comments
The Playlist's Most Anticipated Blockbusters Of The 2013 Summer Season
Ah, summer. That time of year marked by long days, short skirts, and the application of sunscreen. It’s the season where even the most hardened cineaste can put aside their Criterion Collection discs, if only for a moment, and get excited about the jazzy, visual effects-driven blockbusters coming down the pike. The line between “summer” and “any other time of the year,” in terms of movies, keeps getting blurrier and blurrier, with big-budget studio fare like “Oz the Great and Powerful” and “Oblivion” coming out in the spring (we had a Michael Bay movie open in April, for crying out loud – before this it was questionable whether or not he even existed outside of June or July).

Box Office: 'Pain & Gain' Takes Top Spot; 'Iron Man 3' Earns $195 Million Overseas, On Track For $1 Billion

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 28, 2013 12:01 PM
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  • 0 Comments
One could argue it was the under-performance of "The Island" that led Michael Bay into the world of "Transformers" but whatever it was, Bay has not made a film outside of that franchise in eight years. The three films in that series collected $2.6 billion worldwide, however, giving him the freedom to take another risk in "Pain & Gain." And one week before the beginning of summer (considered a dumping ground before the big guns come out to play), the picture was able to capitalize on a tidy $20 million opening.

Watch: Tony Stark Talks From The Heart In New Clip From 'Iron Man 3'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 25, 2013 6:19 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Iron Man 3
While the speculation has already started on the status of "Iron Man 4" a week before "Iron Man 3" even opens stateside, let's put our focus back on the third film for a moment. As our review states, it's a solid film, but what fans really need to know is that despite Marvel's proliferation of marketing, there are some truly big surprises that haven't even been hinted at. So don't worry, this isn't a movie that's been given away before it's been released (though now that it has open internationally, you might want to stay off message boards unless you want it spoiled).

Shane Black Says Chinese Cut of ‘Iron Man 3′ Will Have an “Interesting Surprise”; Hopes To Make 'Doc Savage' His Next Film

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 25, 2013 12:55 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Iron Man 3, set photo, Shane Black
Earlier this spring it was revealed that China would get a special cut of Disney's "Iron Man 3," with additional footage from the Beijing shoot and a special cameo appearance by Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing. This isn't unheard of (a similar situation happened with last year's "Looper") but it is sort of amazing for a movie of this size and scale to be readjusted for an international audience (even one as vast and powerful as China). As Slashfilm points out, co-writer and director Shane Black recently acknowledged that there might be a little something extra in that version. He also commented on what his next, post-"Iron Man 3" project will be (hint: he's been attached to it for roughly one billion years).

Gwyneth Paltrow Says There Won't Be An 'Iron Man 4'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 25, 2013 9:21 AM
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  • 16 Comments
Iron Man 3, Gwyneth Paltrow
So just how mega big is "Iron Man 3" going to be? Well, if early projections are accurate, it's going to be a monster, with predictions of a $160 million weekend now being tossed around. That would not only make it the biggest opener of the franchise so far, but one of the year's biggest movies as well. So you might think it would be a no brainer for Marvel to greenlight a fourth installment. Guess again?

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