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UPDATE: Coming Soon has discovered that Deadline actually stole the story from CNBC and took Iger's comments out of context. You can read the real comments below and watch the video, courtesy of CNBC.
"The Avengers isn't just a film," says Iger. "It's a franchise from our perspective. Obviously, it was helped a lot by the success of the Iron Man movies and of Thor and Captain America. From 'The Avengers' we get a chance to make Thor 2 and Captain America 2 and Iron Man 3 and hopefully another Avengers movie. So this one film that is immensely successful... is going to get a number of other films and franchises...
The original report follows:
This weekend I was driving around Los Angeles and noticed that at every single movie theater I passed there was a huge throng of people waiting outside. It was unlike anything I have ever seen in my life and it was all thanks to The Avengers. In just one weekend the movie has already hit phenomenon status, absolutely shattering all kinds of box office records on its way to $207 million in three days. Even better? As of yesterday's totals the movie has already made back its entire $220 million budget (before marketing). Naturally, the folks over at Marvel and Disney are ecstatic about the success and have made an announcement that proves their confidence.
According to Deadline, Disney CEO Bob Iger has officially announced that The Avengers 2 has begun development. In a statement, the executive said that the success of the first movie, written and directed by Joss Whedon, is "a great illustration of why we like Marvel so much." The trade also says that sales on Avengers merchandise have been strong as people are heading out to buy toys and other assorted things connected to the comic book movie.
Here's the only thing that is disappointing about this announcement: they don't give us a release date. As of now we know that Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 will be coming out in 2013 and Captain America 2 will be coming out in 2014. What we don't know is what the second Marvel movie in 2014 will be or what lies beyond that. In all likelihood, the second 2014 movie will be an introduction to a new character and lead into The Avengers 2, which would be released in 2015. But that's just speculation.