Marvel’s ultimate goal is to have total control over the filmed adaptations of their characters; mission accomplished. However, their other goal of two films per year appears to be in danger. Due to the Writers Strike debacle, things have been delayed. Unlike a major studio, which has billions to spend on 24/7 re-writes, Marvel Studios only has about $525 million from Merrill Lynch, though that number could be higher with other investments, with movie budgets ranging from $45 million to $165 million. Paramount Pictures is distributing (except Hulk, which is Universal–a holdover from the Ang Lee film).
Based on reports, it looks like Marvel may have already spent around $130 million on Iron Man and $150 million on Hulk. So where does that leave Ant-Man and Thor (still being re-written to get the budget down)? With script re-writes, apparently. Already the directors (Edgar Wright and Matthew Vaughn, respectively) are actively working on new projects.
In 2006, former Marvel Studios head Avi Arad said the director he wanted for Captain America, at the time their hoped-for debut film (now Iron Man), wasn’t available until 2009, but the strike may have hurt that (and no, I don’t know who that director was). So Cap in 2009 may not happen (Colin Ferguson for Cap!).
So if Vaughn is waiting for Thor and working on a film adaptation of Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass comic, while Wright moves onto Scott Pilgrim: Precious Little Life before making Ant-Man, what do we have for 2009? Do we even have one movie? I’d say yes, and it could very well be…Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD. It’s pure speculation on my part, but if rumors are true, we’ll be seeing Fury in Iron Man, played by Samuel L. Jackson (since they based Ultimates Fury on the awesome Jackson), so why not?
I’m extremely excited for Iron Man, and Hulk is looking killer; I want to see Marvel keep up with the momentum, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that 2009 brings more Marvel Studios awesomeness! Yes, I know X-Men Origins: Wolverine opens then, but that’s a FOX movie first, Marvel second.