Today in Hollywood, Marvel lifted the curtain on “Phase Three” of its cinematic universe to a packed house of oohing and ahhing costumed Thors and Captain Americas. Studio boss Kevin Feige filled in all the blanks on the studio’s slate through 2019, introduced several new characters — including many fan favorites — and confirmed speculation that classic comic book storylines would be adapted for the screen. After the fan presentation, Feige answered questions about the future of a studio whose previous two phases included 10 films and more than $7 billion in worldwide ticket sales.
The most famous — and valuable — people in Hollywood today are fictional characters. Today Vulture released its annual ranking of Hollywood’s Most Valuable Stars. Using a formula that weighs hard data like box office numbers and intangibles like likeability, the site determined an A-list pecking order that — inadvertently or not — reflects the monumental shift that continues to reshape the movie industry as actors become more and more subservient to the franchises they headline.
UPDATE: Robert Downey Jr. continues with his big Iron Tease. The actor appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman Tuesday night and seemed to reconsider his previous stance, saying there is no plans or script for Iron Man 4 despite some persistent prodding from Letterman. Iron Man fans who’ve been desperate for signs of a fourth movie in the Marvel series got the answer they’ve been looking for today.
Disney/Marvel has released the official synopsis of next May’s astronomically anticipated blockbuster sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it sheds a little bit of light on just how director Joss Whedon plans to use the super-ensemble he has on hand. It doesn’t take a Dr. Bruce Banner to guess that sentient robot villain Ultron (voiced by James Spader) will have a major role – that became clear the second Whedon announced the title at San Diego Comic-Con in 2013.