With Marvel Studios delivering Disney the biggest theatrical opening ever with The Avengers this weekend, there was nothing but smiles of the faces of those at The Walt Disney Company sharing the corporation’s second quarter earnings today.

The Avengers has banked over $700 million worldwide in less than two weeks, having been open only five days in North America. Disney Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger announced today that The Avengers 2 is already in development.

The reality of The Avengers 2 is a given, the only question is when. The film is such a massive hit at the box office that we wonder how it’ll affect Marvel Studios’ plans going forward. Next year they have Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, and the following year, Captain America 2. Do they want The Avengers 2 so badly that they’d put it in 2014? Or will they use their branding to start expanding the franchise and introducing other characters?

There are are still two summer slots in 2014 that Marvel could use for in-development and recently teased Ant-Man, a SHIELD movie or something totally different, like Guardians of the Galaxy, but the earliest we’d find out more is likely around time for Comic-Con in July where we hope Marvel Studios will hold a panel for the upcoming Iron Man and Thor sequels.

We doubt any serious development has actually occurred for The Avengers sequel outside of ideas Joss Whedon, Marvel President Kevin Feige and others at the studios have already discussed in their planning out of the franchise’s future. At this point we don’t even know of Whedon will return to direct although we expect that Marvel will pay what’s necessary to make that happen. Another reason The Avengers 2 shouldn’t release until 2015 is because they need a lot of time to develop it and to lay down more foundation in other films before they can gather everyone together for long shoot.

My money is on The Avengers 2 coming in 2015. There’s no word on John Carter 2

If you’ve seen The Avengers and want to share your thoughts, join our Avengers spoilers discussion and read our explanation of the post-credit ending scenes.

The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Tom Hiddleston and Stellan Skarsgard. It is of course written and directed by Joss Whedon.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes if you’re a Marvel fan.

Source: Disney (via Reuters)