Those of us who saw Paramount's first Iron Man materials at Comic-Con--and witnessed the hordes lining up just to see the damned costume unveiled--don't need to be convinced that this picture will be a summer boxoffice juggernaut. It should easily pass $200 million. Will it get to $300 million is another question.
1. NEW ACTION HERO. This may be the robust male action fantasy hero that we've been waiting for. A new contemporary complex male who isn't Batman or Superman. (Face it, they've been around for a while.) Check out the latest clip and our photo gallery. Who wouldn't want to fly around like that? While Iron Man comicbook fans are legion, this is a new modern movie hero who kicks ass. And he's not a nice guy.
2. NEW STAR. Robert Downey Jr. has reached that magic moment when an edgy up-and-coming character actor ages into a certain masculine gravitas. No one ever doubted Downey's gift of gab, comedy and sexy appeal. But now Downey seems to have put his demons behind him. The one-two punch of actioner Iron Man and the late summer comedy Tropic Thunder may push him into real movie stardom.
3. SMART DIRECTOR. Jon Favreau is a gifted filmmaker with real chops. He can do character comedy: Elf, Swingers. He's smart. I don't care if Zathura tanked. It was a delightful smart fast-moving family adventure comedy. Selling it as a sequel to Jimanji was a mistake. But studios are loathe to sell originals and the movie never would have been made otherwise.
4. FUN MARVEL TOYS. My Iron Man action figure (above) is the envy of the office. (Launching repulsor projectile!) There's a lot more where that came from.
5. FEMME APPEAL. Add Gwenyth Paltrow to the mix, and I see a three quadrant movie. Who's left out? Older women. But I really want to see the movie. So who knows?
6. ORIGINAL. While Paramount can sell the movie to Iron Man comics fans, it is not a sequel, remake or retread of any kind. It is the presumable launch of a franchise. Every franchise had to start somewhere, as an original. They're harder to market, but if they work, you're off.
7. EARLY SUMMER LAUNCH. Iron Man opens wide on May 2 (basically the Spider Man date) at the start of the summer, when audiences are starving for a big popcorn picture. Things haven't gotten crowded yet. It should have a wide open playing field. Made of Honor will get the girls. Summer blockbuster sequel Narnia: Prince Caspian opens May 16, and Indy 4 May 22. (UPDATE: The Latin American press have seen the pic. Nothing yet for us stateside.)
Here's the trailer.
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]