Did ‘Iron Man 2′ Cost Jon Favreau ‘The Avengers’ Job?

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

When the first Iron Man surpassed even the highest expectations, locking director Jon Favreau in as the director for the sequel seemed like a foregone conclusion. However, Marvel initially made him a paltry offer and there was a brief moment where fans contemplated the possibility of Iron Man 2 moving forward without Favreau calling the shots.

Ultimately Marvel came to their senses, realizing how integral Favreau was to the continued success of the franchise – and a much more lucrative deal was worked out. Favreau was initially concerned over how quickly Marvel wanted to get Iron Man 2 into production but evidently one of the reasons he agreed to the accelerated schedule was the opportunity for first dibs on The Avengers.

Though Favreau won that particular battle, it may have cost him the war.

According to one of Cinema Blend‘s most trusted sources, Favreau’s Iron Man 2 payday was a huge factor in the studio’s decision to leave him off the list of candidates to direct The Avengers:

“Marvel wasn’t willing to pay that kind of money again when it came time for The Avengers, and so even though Favs wanted to direct their superhero team-up movie, they didn’t want him. Instead Marvel has made it a point to seek out cheaper talent to direct all of their subsequent movies.”

It seems extremely underhanded, if you believe that Marvel lead Favreau to believe he was the front-runner to helm The Avengers, while having already quietly decided they had no intentions of offering it to him. To add insult to injury, it was all the tedious Avengers set-up shoe-horned into Iron Man 2 that apparently kept Favreau from making the film he really wanted to make.

Cinema Blend‘s source claims that both Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. were unhappy with the end result of Iron Man 2 and blame Marvel’s interference for its shortcomings. They even speculate that the director’s relationship with the studio took such a beating he may not be interested in returning for Iron Man 3. The first Iron Man also entered production without a finished script – but Favreau was still able to deliver an extraordinary final product. I just assumed they weren’t able to catch lightning in a bottle a second time.

Downey has no choice but to appear in Iron Man 3 – as he’s still under contract. Although he was quite enthusiastic when the cast of The Avengers assembled for the first time at Comic-Con, Cinema Blend seems to think that after Iron Man 3, he won’t likely extend his contract – and we probably won’t see him as Tony Stark again.

I know Iron Man 2 has plenty of supporters and I’d never call it a bad film, but I don’t think it’s even close to the same league as its predecessor. I walked out of the theater feeling like Marvel’s initial film adaptation successes had made them trigger happy – and that the movie would have greatly benefited from another year of development.

To hear Favreau had other ideas for Iron Man 2 is especially disappointing, as the S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline continually derailed what should have been the focus of the movie – Tony Stark’s plight. It wasn’t the only thing wrong with Iron Man 2 but it certainly didn’t help. I wanted something that worked as a stand alone film in addition to being another stepping stone to The Avengers. Instead, the film only seemed concerned with telling us how cool the future Marvel movies were going to be.

Favreau didn’t spend too much time wallowing in his grief, and if there was indeed this level of friction, he remained extremely diplomatic about it when discussing his involvement with The Avengers last fall. He of course moved on to Cowboys & Aliens and Marvel found an affordable director for The Avengers in Joss Whedon.

As reliable as Cinema Blend‘s source may be, we obviously can’t consider any of this to be definitive – Favreau was discussing Iron Man 3 as recently as April and if there actually is some bad blood, there’s a good chance things could get patched up before the film gets underway. Fan reaction to Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers is also going to play a huge part in the direction of future Marvel movies.

Follow me on Twitter @chrisschrader1 and our main feed @screenrant.

Source: Cinema Blend.

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  1. Wow Kofi that post makes you seem more arrogant than I thought you were lol.

    Seem a bit pleased with your self. Try not to stare in the mirror to long jk

    • he has reason to be LOL. i wish kofi got more stories here…i still think whedon will surprise a lot of you out there with his vision of the avengers movie, i just hope downeys ego will be in check. from what i saw of the comic-con footage it needs to be.

    • Both of the iron man films were enjoyable, played out well but his bad guys have been complete toss. Obidiah and whiplash/hammer relly were not that interesting. The overall plots were good, the fx were cool and the dialouge work. The sheild stuff did not really infringe on the movie and it would be hard to believe that they’d let stark go unchecked and unregulated. Thor had an amazingly well done story, making it true to comic and accurate to the mythos and cap was very well done! All three work all work well towards the avengers and maybe just maybe jon favreau is a big boy now, working in the industry, capable of reading a contract, vocing his oppinions! Maybe be doesn’t antw to spend the rest of his career making superhero movies, maybe!

  2. And this ^^^ is why I get so peeved when it comes to a comics fanbase sometimes Oh, Fox is messing up The X-Men and Fantastic Four! Sony is ruining Spider-Man and Ghost Rider! Give the rights back to Marvel so they can restart them and do them right! Now…what we have here…? Oh that’s right! “Marvel ruined Iron Man 2!”

    Riddle me this: why is Favreau co-producing The Avengers? I mean, you know, if he and Marvel are really at odds with one another? Could Iron Man 2 been better? Yes, I suppose so. But Favreau also expanded the role of Hogan in Iron Man 2…could more screen time been saved for Sam Jackson and Scarlett…seeing how the film is supposedly being called a mess because there are SHIELD references, a Hulk news cameo and the introduction to Black widow….yet the movie is about Tony Stark and his family history, his strained friendship with Rodney Rhodes, drinking problems…

    I don’t think Iron Man 2 was better than the first film. But it wasn’t horrible. But what gets me is fan overreaction to this news as seen in the comments.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either you folks want Marvel Movie Heroes to go back to Marvel or you don’t. But then don’t b**ch when you don’t like what Marvel allegedly does or didn’t do.

    • Couldnt agree more! Marvel didnt ruin iron man 2 it just failed to be better then one of the best superhero movies around and totaly agree with the ‘you cant have it both ways’ marvel either got it right enough for people to claim to get the other properties back in house or they got IM2 wrong

    • The fact is Sony and Fox have totally screwed up X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spiderman, etc….etc…

      MARVEL have scored 2 out 3 great films, but need to slow down and not rush these productions just to keep up with the fast flowing CRAP from Sony and Fox.

      They need to spend their money appropriately and stop being cheapskates.

      At the end of the day MARVEL know their characters far better than Sony or Fox.

  3. Actually Anthony he has no reason to b&r so cocky or arrogant. He thinks some how he was proven right but if you ask him (only when ge disagrees with you of course) a person can’t be right or wrong about an opinion so there is nothing to be arrogant about.

    Also this article makes a quick blink and you’ll miss it comment about RDJ and the quality of the film. I havnt seen any other site report this and I don’t see a direct quote anywhere. Why is it only being reported inthis article? Why only in a very small sentence and moved on from so quickly and why no qoute? I’d love to read the actual line he spoke because usually things get taken out of context and fairly often in today’s world things get reported as having happened when they really had not.

    Still non of that matters because as kofi says when he disagrees with you opinions are just that a simple opinion can’t be proven wrong or right so hard to imagine In that case that they can be validated.

    • Hey Daniel,
      Yes Nolan DID mention and say that Bat-man exists within his own world. But he has recently shifted gears though. And there has been rumors of reference to Green Lantern, or Metropolis. Nolan is going to become the Josh Whedon of DC. He is going to be involved in the JLA movie. So, yes, he did say that. But its a different story now. A different ball game.

      BTW. DC has been going about this much more professionally so far. We’ll see how things work out in terms of JLA in comparison to Avengers. Give some credit to Marvel though, this is a never before done ambitious project with tons of great talent all around. Consequently tons of ego. So, I think there is a big learning curve for not only studio and actors/directors but for all parties involved.

      • Nolan to become the Whedon of the DC universe? I hope not, Nolan’s films have always been of such high quality and standing.

        • Hey let’s do a swap. DC can have Joss Whedon and MARVEL can have Christopher Nolan.

          I know which Director I would rather have. :-)

      • @ Wepz

        “DC has been going about this much more professionally so far.”

        I’m afraid I’ll have to agree at this point. I’m more of a Marvel fan but have a little bit of DC stuff in my comic book collection.

    • The RDJ part wasn’t intended to be blink and you’ll miss it or tossed in arbitrarily. It’s because the story as reported by Cinema Blend focused almost exclusively on Favreau, not Downey. I couldn’t add what wasn’t there, only relay the info that was given.

  4. I thought that Favreau didn’t even want to direct the Avengers in the first place because he didn’t want to be the one to hybridize the sci-fi of Iron Man with the fantasy elements of Thor…

  5. I love how you are telling us why we will disagree with you like we can’t have reasons of our own.

    Oh and your wrong. You ruin any chance of having a valid argument by using SM3 as an example because it’s not connected or building to Avengers in any way.

    People are not going to be chased away because the films are building to a team movie. Plenty of non comic book fans are excited. People will be pushed away by bad comic films. SM3 was a bad film yes but had nothing to do with your argument at all. Bad films chase people away and bad films happen regardless of a JL or Avengers film.

    If JL or Avengers turn out good there is no reason for it to chase people away. The general public that loved the first IM doesn’t run around saying a team up? Oh no I’ll never watch a comic film again.

    He’ll bad films don’t even really chase people away. It might make less people watch that specific franchise but plenty of people will still watch comic films. X3 and sm3 were awful and both came out before IM and TDK those films still went on to make truck loads of cash TDK even out grossed spidey 1. You site Sm3 and IM2 but both films still made over 300mil.

    Right now it seems more people are watching comic films not less. Xmen was more mainstream than IM but it came out to early and IM made a lot more because comic films took off after x1 and 2

    • Its not that Spiderman 3 was a push toward avengers the movie tone it self felt to much like a comic book.

      the dance scene, venom writing things in web it lacked depth in the characters.

      As these movie push toward avengers directors and writers will have a lot less liberty with content of the individual properties. They will have to match each universe with the super heroes. The plots will have to intertwine and it will be like writing a star trek movie in a pre defined universe and no flexibility. The movies will become about how many characters can we get in here for the Toy shelf and not about the substance of the film.

      directors, and real writers will run and each movie will become more similar to Spiderman 3, Hulk(With Bana), Elektra, Daredevil, Gijoe, Transformers, Mummy 2.

  6. it pains me to say but, after see iron man 2 i’m sure the avengers will not live up to its hype. the avengers is in a way, incredible hulk 2, iron man 3, captain america 2, and thor 2, and if the latter two aren’t as good as iron man was then its just going to be…iron man two. its sad to see even marvel sprialing down slowly like this. after seeing the thor and cap. trailers, it really isn’t looking well. i really really hope i’m wrong.

    • @Alex

      You’re not. You’re willing to accept the truth before it comes to pass.

      DC is going to crush Marvel’s movies in the end. DC is being adapted by an actual studio, while Marvel Studios is still trying to learn how to walk.

      DC has Martin Campbell and Chris Nolan – Marvel’s best bet is Branagh and Thor already looks to be somewhat silly with a boring middle section (there on Earth in the New Mexico) filled with disposable character (Kat Dennings).

      But let the fanboys rage on, I say. As with IM2 – time will prove who was right and who was misguided.

      • I’m DC all the way, but Iron Man 2 was hardly the mess you describe it as being, just wasnt as good as the first one.
        And as for your DC directors, Nolan and Campbell, both of whom are awesome. Campbell has directed the odd stinker, and Nolan, well, he has yet to make anything truly bad. And no director can go on like that forever, he has to make part 3 of his trilogy, the hardest part of any saga, where so many have failed before.

        I think Marvel might be in trouble.

        • “With Disney now behind Marvel, Marvel Studios will hopefully ramp up production to four features a year, a target number mentioned as a goal for the studio. This would allow them to carry on with their current franchises with sequels for Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and The Avengers while keeping things fresh by introducing new franchises through other characters.”

          That’s from Rob Keyes on another thread at Screen Rant and I’m more inclined to agree with that statement and say that when DIsney starts backing and distributing these films after the first six are made..WB will more than get a big run for it’s money..for my other thoughts see my post below :)

  7. Lol in sorry but that’s funny to me. Please show me this article where Nolan said “I changed my mind” or are you making a blind assumption because he is attached to the superman film?

    • its probably on the same article where RDJ and JF said they hated IM2. Imaginationland.

      • Hated is definitely too strong a word. And there’s no article- if you look at Cinema Blend’s original piece, they explain this info was delivered by a trusted source.

        Both their site and ours cautioned that this isn’t a definitive declaration. I made a point of saying that at the end of the story.

        If the news is true (even partially as the real truth often tends to be somewhere in the middle), it helps explain portions of IM2 that us fanboys have been debating since the film was released.

  8. I don’t think RDJ is wanting to back out of being Stark–he loves the character and he seems to have the best time playing him. There were a lot of weird things happening with Iron Man 2, but I actually loved it on different levels from the first one. I ultimately like the first one better, but the second one is great!


  9. I liked Iron Man 2! and the 5 mins of Avenger stuff I say Big Deal it didn’t hurt the film. Oh and I can like both Chris Nolan AND Joss Whedon
    I’m not a snob like that.
    Hell they should team up Nolans got Brains and Mucho Talent Whedons got Humanity and mucho talent they both have extraordinary vision could be something special.
    But no it would be TO creative

  10. DANIEL F

    I really really think IM 1 was better than the second…..cheadle ruined it,and the plot about his faher did too. Oh and the absence of alot of whiplas…..

    • and thats one of the many reasons why i wont see IM2

  11. I thought Jon really didn’t wanna direct the Avengers because he wanted to focus more on the Iron Man films, especially Iron Man 3 that would follow afterwards.

  12. personally, i think the best thing that Favs have done EVER was his little stint on Friends particularly the ultimate fighting championships episode :)

  13. How about… after the Avengers and JLA movies… do the Avengers/JLA movie… the ultimate crossover… to be handled by Nolan, Favreau, Whedon… and all the other awesome directors that MARVEL and DC have at their disposal… hell… make it 5 hours long…

    of course I’m being an ass… Although, I really wouldn’t mind the Avengers/JLA movie… but seriously now…

    You’re talking about different approaches… Favreau’s approach at IM was slightly comedic… because, well… Stark is an ass, and that’s funny.. and Nolan’s approach to Batman is well… Dark and serious, because that’s Bruce Wayne.. so it’s really not fair to be comparing them… and you can’t have Favreau turning Avengers into an Action-with-a-little-bit-of-comedy type of film. And Jon knows that… there’s no real bad blood here… its just a bunch of guys going paranoid…

  14. There is no director anywhere in the history of filmaking that could live up the the level of expectation that Marvel has to deal with for these next three films. WB has it made because they can sit back and learn from Marvels’ mistakes and thereby try to get a better end product out in theaters. I think Marvel is doing an admirable job with it’s films so far and when all is said and none I think I will be satisfied with what they have delivered.

    @ Kofi

    “DC is going to crush Marvel’s movies in the end. DC is being adapted by an actual studio, while Marvel Studios is still trying to learn how to walk.”

    That’s a pretty bold statement!!! You may be right about the quality of Nolan an Campbell as directors but I think Farveau has done enough to rival anything Campbell is capable of doing with GL (and GL is my favorite character in any super hero universe). Are you more of a Marvel or DC guy Kofi? I think that may be affecting your opinion on this especially with you being such a fanboy for Nolan. Nothing wrong with that but I’ll wait until I’ve seen all the major Marvel films and all the major DC films before I make that broad an assumption. At least Marvel is taking chances with their properties. WB has owned DC forever and they are still so tentative to get their characters into film..Marvel at least has some b@!!$ to actually put their proverbial neck on the block and have three or four of these films in production at the same time..WB has GL and nothing else right now..playing it safe all the way and they are still copying Marvel’s template for how to get the individual characters in their own films and then bring on the super-hero team-up picture..just doing it A LOT slower..WB should pay Marvel for copying them so much.

    I am a DC boy these last 5-6 years but WB is a Marvel wannabe with these films as far as I’m concerned. If Superman Returns had been more successful we probably would not have had a Dark Knight film because the plan for WB was to start a Superman sequel BEFORE a Batman film..WB was only mildly impressed by the box office of Batman Begins and were willing to start Supes’ sequel first only that was a big loss for them. They have the most famous super-hero on the planet (Superman) and they have done nothing new with him in 30 years. WB IMO has dropped the ball over and over and over and has Marvel to thank they are getting the opportunity to make GL.

  15. Kevin Feige is a blight on Marvel motion pictures. There, I said it…

  16. If you knew anything you would never say SM3 was to much like a comic. SM3 wasn’t enough like the comic that was it’s major failure the comic was very serious and dark when venom showed up and there was no dancing.

    • thats kinda the point.

      I won’t waste your time with a know nothing response.

  17. OK, who the heck brought Nolan and TDK into this discussion too??? I mean, come on!!!

    • i still say they should get the Hoff for Fury…..

  18. Damn Ken I was with you on Nick Fury until I saw Kurt Russel.

    Yep not a big fan of Sam Jackson
    yep wish they did the original Fury
    yep Kurt Russel….. wait WTF? Kurt Russel?

    I can’t Stand him as an actor. I wouldn’t of even bothered with Iron Man had he been cast. I’ve reached the point I refuse to even watch anything with him anymore. He not only is not a good actor but he makes awful films.

    • Come on, stop exaggerating, he’s not the best actor, but his resume isn’t horrible, Stargate, The Thing, Escape from New York, Backdraft, Tombstone, and how could you not like The Fox and the Hound??? lol.

      • Ok I admit I liked the fox and the hound lol

  19. I think blame has to go all around. We are all so willing to jump down Marvel Studios, particularly Kevin Fiege
    but lets break it down shall we.

    1. Jon Favreau did a fantastic job on Iron Man, but he is still a young, up and coming director. He really shouldn’t expect Marvel, which is still a young studio with a tight budget, to give him a huge contract. Also he gave himself more screen time in Iron Man 2, created three plot lines not even including the Avengers references and had multiple villians. That being said Iron Man 2 was a very good movie. It wasn’t as good as the first but it was good. I don’t know why he would have so many problems with it but if he does, he should look in the mirror.

    2.RDJ IS Tony Stark! He has such a connection with the character and seems to truly love playing him. I find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t want to keep portraying the character. He owes Marvel Studios a lot of gratitude for giving him the chance to resurrect his career and become a blockbuster star. Before Iron Man he was a washed up, barely sober actor working in predominately low key films with not a lot of recognition. Marvel gave him the chance to turn that around. He should be very thankful. I’m not saying he shouldn’t disagree with the studio just that he should be respectful when doing so.

  20. 3. Favreau is an Executive Producer for the Avengers so I’m kind of suspicious of these rumors. He seems very dedicated to the film and exited about being involved same to Downey. He has already talked about deciding which villians he wants for IM3 so it seems he still wants in on the film. Joss Whedon is a much better pick for the Avengers given that he has directed ensemble casts before.

    4. All of the fans who are complaining about how Thor or Captain America are going to be awful, said the same thing before Iron Man came out. So many of you guys said it was going to be awful because Favreau had directed only a couple films and that Downey would be terrible as Tony Stark and do I have to mention how all of you ripped Heath Ledger to shreds when he was cast as the Joker…yea…How did that work out for you. I have my reservations about both of these films but I’m leaning towards optimism. Branaugh knows how to capture the kind of family dynamics and shaksepearean mood that are needed for Thor. Joe Johnston has worked on Star Wars and Indiana Jones and has directed the Rockateer, October Sky and Hidalgo which were all great films. Yes, he has had bad films but who hasn’t! He also says he is drawing inpiration for the film from Indiana Jones, which is a very good sign. Chris Evans is a good actor and although I can’t see him as Captain America yet, I’m sure I’ll be pleasantly suprised. By the way, the Thor footage (it really wasn’t a trailer) I thought looked wonderful for post production!

  21. 5.Edward Norton is NOT a victim in the Hulk debacle! I think the way that Marvel went about handling it was horrible and rude, but Norton is notorious for being a pain in the ass to work with. He is known to constantly rewrite dialogue for not just himself but other actors and then expects credit and more money for it, even though he’s not a part of the writers union. I love Edward Norton and wish he was coming back for Avengers because I believe he could really add a lot to the quality of the film. That being said Mark Ruffallo will probably do a very good job with Bruce Banner. Also I thought Don Cheadle was great as Rhodey! I thought he portrayed the character much better then Terrance Howard could. Cheadle is a much better actor in my opinion and Howard left because he wanted more money so it shows just how dedicated he actually was. I don’t why so many of you love Howard as Rhodey, he didn’t even have that much dialogue or screen time.

    6. Give Marvel and Kevin Feige a break! The man has produced 3 movies IM INH and IM2 2 of which were great adaptations and one which was a good sequel. We need more films to judge him as a producer. He is trying to create the Marvel Cinematic Universe that fans like myself have been waiting for. However, that takes introducing characters and other elements of that universe in films like IM2. I know many people will say ‘Well if only Favreau had more control’ but sometimes giving the directer more control over production can bring negative results. Superman Returns is a good example of studio letting a directer and screenwriter have too much control. Because WB let Bryan Singer have his way with Supes we got a boring, poorly acted, weak plotline kind of movie. Yes, letting Nolan have control over Batman was a good idea but sometimes it can go badly. One of the reasons the original Star Wars trilogy was so good was because FOX was always constraining Lucas. Now he has complete control over his films and look where that got us.

    • Like your opinions, not sure if I agree with all of them, but I certainly think you have a very valid point.

  22. wow..do you have stock in Marvel?

    • I actually do not (wish I did) however given how I went on and on I can see where you would get that impression. I just think the fanboys need to take it down a notch.

      • i agree dude :) everyone these days seems to just over analyze everything, just sit back enjoy the ride or choose not too

  23. Don’t worry, Jon. If Marvel treats you like crap, might as well transfer to WB/DC. Christopher Nolan can’t handle everything… Go, Jon, go!!!

  24. Seems that once the studios smell a profit the money making machine goes into over-drive, and they don’t seem to give a flying f##k about anythink else.

    Thank you for the article Mr Schrader, it was well wrote, researched and extremely interesting.