There was a Marvel, Inc. financial conference call today and a number of tidbits were mentioned by Avi Arad that relate to upcoming superhero-based films.
Since I'm a big fan of Iron Man, I was disappointed to hear that the movie has been pushed back to a 2007 release at the earliest and is in fact now considered TBD (to be determined). Avi confirmed that Nick Cassavetes' leaving the project was not Nick's decision, but was due to New Line executives having an issue with him being chosen as the director. At least they're still moving ahead with the animated version of Iron Man which I believe is a straight to DVD title.
Avi stated that the new distribution agreement they've struck with Paramount will give Marvel more control over it's films moving forward, and that will keep issues like this from arising. I, for one am happy to hear that Marvel will have more control over it's own properties on the big screen. When they license a property to a studio, they lose creative control over the product.
It sounds like Captain America and Nick Fury are first in line to be produced, as they were referred to as "tentpole movies". Interestingly, "The Avengers" was also mentioned in the same statement, although I don't know of any plans to turn that into a feature film (there is an animated Avengers cartoon in the pipeline, however).
- X-Men 3 target release date is Memorial Day, 2006 and all principle actors are returning (I assume that means Halle Berry as well).
- Ghost Rider will be PG-13 and was described as "edgy".
- There will be a Fantastic Four animated series coming out that will tie into the upcoming film.
- Punisher 2 starts production in three months.
- The Luke Cage and Deadlock films are in the same limbo status as Iron Man, although they were referred to as being "in development".
This is going to push production for related films back by at least a year, but in the long run I think it's a good thing for the quality of these films.