Kevin Feige

Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel Studios is still new. Based on their track record, that’s almost hard to believe. Of the nine movies they’ve put out, all of them have performed considerably well, if not completely gangbusters, at the box office. Considering their latest film, Guardians of the Galaxy, is on track to make over $70m this weekend, their luck will continue. At this point, we may have to stop calling it luck and start calling it smart business decisions. One of the people responsible for Marvel’s success is, of course, the president of the studio, Kevin Feige, and he’s fully embraced the spirit — and often downright weirdness — of the characters and their worlds. Feige gambled on an untested formula that’s paid off. Few people expected Iron Man, and with it Marvel, to succeed the way that it did, but he was one of them. Six years ago, it was clear he believed in their ambitious plan from the start. “It’s a little bit of planning, a little bit of luck and you end up with a studio that has the film rights to Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk and Ant-Man,” he said in 2008. “And clearly, when you put them all together, you know who you get.” He meant The Avengers, as well as a whole series of successful solo superhero films around it. Guardians of the Galaxy is the one that now puts Marvel’s brand to the ultimate test. Iron Man wasn’t a very well known character to the general public, but the Hulk, Thor and Captain America were all pretty […]

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Marvel Studios

One of the many highlights of Guardians of the Galaxy (out next week) is when the gang pays a visit to The Collector. James Gunn‘s film already had shades of strange, but Benicio del Toro kicked it up a few notches. Once you visit his black market, you don’t want to leave it. Maybe the film’s biggest problem is del Toro: he’s not in it enough. They’ll likely incorporate him more in future Marvel movies, but he’s a character you want to see more of. Take one look at that guy and it’s pretty obvious he lives an interesting life. Him wheeling and dealing with that funky outfit on could be as exciting as any huge set piece. The fact of the matter is, we need a movie about The Collector. It wouldn’t have to be a super expensive tentpole movie. The Collector is the kind of character we don’t need to see in action. He’s engaging enough on his own. In the past there’s been talk of Marvel movies making smaller scale pictures. They recently announced their release date schedule for the next five years. It’s doubtful any of those summer and fall releases aren’t huge blockbusters. That’s fine, of course, but wouldn’t fandom turn up for a smaller Marvel movie? A little slice of life kind of story in the life of a hero or villain?  Will we ever see those movies from Marvel in the future? “Well, someday,” Marvel’s Kevin Feige tells us at the press day for Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Marvel Ant-Man Test Sneak 3

When Edgar Wright left Ant-Man, a lot of excitement for the film went out the door with him. His involvement is what made the project so appealing in the first place. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World showed the director isn’t interested in making a run-of-the-mill comic book movie, but doing something fresh, new, and its own thing. Of course, that’s not the kind of comic book movie we see often enough. Since Wright left Ant-Man over creative differences, was it a matter of Marvel balking over taking some risks? That’s what a lot of fans understandably suspect. After seeing James Gunn‘s Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s difficult to fathom Marvel getting cold feet over taking another risk. Guardians of the Galaxy is a superhero movie with a talking raccoon, some good old-fashioned dick jokes, and, basically, more of what you’d expect from James Gunn (Slither). Guardians doesn’t feel like a project Gunn had to make compromises on, but instead got to make a movie he can call his own that happened to cost $150m. Perhaps taking chances wasn’t the problem with Ant-Man. Maybe it really was just two different visions that couldn’t see eye-to-eye.

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captain america winter soldier 07

One of the issues Marvel’s Kevin Feige has admitted to being concerned about over the last few years is possible superhero movie overkill. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe grows, there’s potential for audiences to get tired of not just that multi-series franchise but with the whole genre. We’re already at a point where most tentpole blockbusters are comic book adaptations, and as long as they keep proving to be the safest bets, that number may keep increasing. And now it’s not even limited to the summer and holiday seasons. Captain America: Winter Soldier is opening on April 4th, and that’s too early to even make the usual “summer starts early this year” comment. Eventually we’ll have major superhero movies debuting in the usual dead months of January and September. This week’s Marvel Studios TV special, Assembling a Universe, might not have helped matters as far as not overwhelming the audience. It packaged the MCU’s past, present and future in a way that didn’t make the properties look all that distinct or independent, in spite of Feige stating on screen his idea that these movies (and now TV shows) offer a lot of variety, that the superhero movie genre is no longer really a genre because they represent a bunch of different kinds of movies and just happen to involve superheroes. Devin Faraci made a similar statement this week in a piece at Badass Digest tied to an interview he had with Feige. “Marvel has proven that ‘superhero movie’ isn’t so […]

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)

By the end of the year, we will be ten films deep in Marvel Studios mythology, which is quite a feat by any standard. While not every film can be the billion-dollar blockbuster like The Avengers or Iron Man 3, the smaller ones still make plenty of money worldwide and provide a substantial amount of connective tissue in the overall universe. In November 2013, Thor: The Dark World came out, performing about as well as its predecessor (which is to say good, but not great). The film wraps up a lot of Loki’s storyline from Thor and The Avengers, but more importantly, the mid-credits sequence leads into The Guardians of the Galaxy, due out in August 2014. For the DVD and Blu-ray release, director Alan Taylor sits down with Marvel guru Kevin Feige, villainous heartthrob Tom Hiddleston, and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau to talk about the film and reveal the behind-the-scenes process of not just making a superhero film, but making an installment in a much larger franchise.

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Thor: The Dark World

So far Marvel has had a terrific run. They’ve been putting out solid films, and the way they set up Phase I was an astonishing feat. They’re risk-takers, and releasing a Thor movie in 2011 was one of those risky decisions. Would an audience accept a Norse God and all the fantastical mumbo jumbo that came with him? They did, making Thor a success for the studio. Its sequel, Thor: The Dark World, makes up for a few of the previous film’s issues, while also bringing its own set of serious problems to the table. This time around Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is facing more struggles than ever before. His relationship with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has suffered after years of distance, he’s fighting small-scale wars, he’s still conflicted over his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and, to make matters worse, a D-movie villain, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), leader of the Dark Elves, shows up for revenge. Malekith not only shakes up the world of Asgard, but also any dramatic potential to be had with the more interesting conflicts set up but given no satisfying payoffs. So much, with the exception of director Alan Taylor‘s eye, is given little time to breathe.

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Portman - Thor 2 Styled

Last week Natalie Portman said we’d see a female superhero from Marvel on the big screen soon, and Stan Lee said we wouldn’t. Since neither of their last names is “Feige,” both comments come with a dash of salt, but one of them still has to be right. Either the studio is prepping a superheroine lead or they aren’t. Specifically, Portman said that she’d “heard” that both a female and a minority title character were on the way while defending Marvel’s record on strong women. This, shortly after the terrible Thor: The Dark World posters saw her strong character eating her hair. As for Lee, he matter-of-factly noted that, “Probably at one time they’ll make a movie of the Black Widow, but the thing is, the women like these movies as much as the guys, so we don’t have to knock ourselves out to find a female. But we will.” The thing is, he’s right.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

We’re still a year away from James Gunn‘s Guardians of the Galaxy, but anticipation grows ever higher. Comic book readers are quivering in excitement over a more obscure group of heroes getting the big budget, big screen treatment. Non-comic book readers are scratching their heads, wondering what the hell is up with that raccoon. Well, in an upcoming Empire Magazine interview (scooped in advance by Comic Book Movie), Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige has begun doling out all the details on Marvel’s weirdest upcoming movie. Those who don’t know the characters can now be quickly and easily filled in. Those who already know the characters will notice Feige making a few interesting changes. First, Feige introduces the five motley space-farers who make up the core team: “Rocket has been genetically and mechanically altered, he’s an experiment from one part of the galaxy. Groot is a species that happens to look like trees look, and is quite communicative if you can understand the different inflections in the way he says ‘I am Groot.’ Peter Quill left Earth in the mid’80s, but when we meet back up with him he’s very much a citizen of the universe. Drax has one goal and one goal only, which is to kill Ronan because of a past tragedy. When we meet Gamora, she’s a bad guy working with Ronan and Nebula and Korath, and by extension for Thanos. Gamora doesn’t necessarily like doing that anymore, and tries to find a new path for herself. […]

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Marvel Logo Collage

Sometimes I think that I’m being responsible and planning ahead for my future. Then I hear that Marvel has movies slated all the way up until 2021 – that’s eight years from now – and realize I’m a chump. Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige recently spoke with Wired and teased about what’s to come for his company: “I could arguably say that we’re planning for the year 2021. Will that happen? I don’t know. But what we planned for 2015 in 2006 is happening.” Oh, don’t act so coy, Feige. We know what you’re up to. The Captain America, Avengers, Thor, and Iron Man franchises were all in motion since 2006, breaking records (and hearts) worldwide. Anyone with that depth of success would want to continue for as long as possible. The trick at this point, Feige said, is convincing audiences (and the studio), to let go of The Avengers and embrace new Marvel superheroes in the next eight years. As he put it, “Five years ago, looking at our plan, we knew that if Avengers was going to work, the movies had to stand alone. Now we have to prove to the studio that we’re more than just these five characters, these five franchises.” With a vast Marvel universe at his fingertips, it will be interesting to see who Feige chooses to fill the next phase. We do know that Ant-Man will finally see his day, and that Doctor Strange gets a movie, as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Captain […]

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Captain America Merch

Marvel and Joe Johnston did an incredible job with Captain America, making a fun film with a main character that eventually acted as a counterpoint to Tony Stark in The Avengers. Fingers should be crossed that they can manage the same kind of entertainment with The Winter Soldier, but it’s encouraging to see Marvel chief Kevin Feige talk about the movie in terms beyond the overused Superhero Action genre. In a conversation with Variety, he hinted that action won’t be the primary focus. Instead, the sequel will play out more like, say, House of Cards. “There’s an opportunity to graft almost sub-genres onto them. Our first Captain America film was a World War II picture, and the next is a political thriller. They all have their own textures and patinas, and that’s what is exciting about it.” Of course, if the first one was a WWII flick, it certainly had plenty of action to it as a result. A political thriller doesn’t immediately bring action to mind, but it might be a welcome ingredient. Think Captain America by way of The French Connection. Yes, it sounds awesome, and so does this news. Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be in theaters April 4, 2014.

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This would appear to be the week of Iron Man 3, at least where marketing is concerned. Yesterday we showed you a look at the teaser for the trailer that will debut online tomorrow morning. Today, we get something that will last a bit longer: a number of images from Iron Man 3 that show some of the most buzzed about elements from the film. There’s also a very fancy teaser poster. All of which can be seen right after the jump, alongside first looks at Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, an official shot of the Iron Patriot armor and a little bit of the new Tony Stark haircut.

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Boiling Point

The trailer for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel recently made it online after rolling in front of the related DC property The Dark Knight Rises. Reactions have been mostly positive to the somber looking film, with words like “restrained” being laid upon it. Many have chosen to highlight the apparent effect that Batman producer/director Christopher Nolan has had on the Superman story. The trailer for Supes does seem to harken to a more Batman Begins esque story rather than say, Superman Returns or Green Lantern. Hey, the Batman movies were good for the most part right? Having Christopher Nolan involved is a great idea, right? Well, not if you want your universe to do anything other than implode.

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Joss Whedon’s The Avengers capped off the supposed first phase of Marvel’s cinematic superhero domination in spectacular fashion. It currently sits as the third highest-grossing film of all time (not accounting for inflation), but more importantly, it’s a damn entertaining film. Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige recently laid out parts of phase two, which included sequels to Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man, but he also left two titles unannounced. Confirmation on those mystery titles will most likely come during this summer’s Comic-Con, but that hasn’t stopped the speculation. The Avengers 2 seems obvious. Ant-Man is high on fans’ wish lists. The Vision is absent on most polls. But now it looks like we know the identity of at least one of them, thanks to Latino Review. They broke this scoop earlier today which, judging by their past history, pretty much makes it official. One of the previously unannounced Marvel films is going to be…

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Now that The Avengers is a Hulk-sized hit on North American shores as well as overseas, the big question is what will Joss Whedon do next. As seen in this interview with Collider, the man appears to be pretty damn tired from this monster film that officially wrapped only a couple weeks ago. But Hollywood moves fast, and Marvel Studios moves even faster. Acolytes of Whedon are sounding the charge as if a revolution has occurred that makes the later seasons of his shows pale in comparison. The question is will Whedon be courted by the inevitable Avengers 2? Will he resurrect his TV series onto the big screen? Will Neil Patrick Harris be involved in any way? Here are the main options Whedon has before him.

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The Avengers the film needs no introduction, and that’s mainly because The Avengers themselves need no introduction. A dream team of superheroes and superallies, The Avengers first appeared in the Marvel universe in 1963, so for fans of the mighty band of heroes, a big screen cinematic adaptation that would do justice to the justice-doers has been a long-held wish. With Marvel Studios churning out blockbusters for eventual Avengers like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Hulk in recent years, it was only a matter of time before that wish was granted and the heroes united for one massive film outing. It goes without saying that Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers is already a big hit here at FSR (our own Cole Abaius called it “Marvel’s mightiest movie” in his review), and we’re all anxious to see what movie-going audiences think of it. To whet your palate for the inevitable Avengers bonanza, here are 12 things that we learned at The Avengers press conference (spoiler-free if you’ve seen a trailer or two!). The event featured a massive gathering of Avengers and pals, including Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Chris Hemwsorth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk/Bruce Banner), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Kevin Feige (Marvel President), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye/Clint Barton),Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill), and Joss Whedon (writer and director). Check it out after the break!

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The Hulk

After a lengthy and very structured lead up to Marvel Studios’ big 2012 release, The Avengers, the future of the film studio is looking up in the air for the first time in a long time. We know that Thor 2 and Captain America 2 are in the works, we know that quite a bit of work has been done preparing Iron Man 3, and there’s even been some talk about Edgar Wright’s Ant Man finally getting made – but what about films for the other members of The Avengers? What about films to introduce new characters who might take part in an Avengers 2? It’s starting to look like the first stages of those plans could be getting put together, with talks that could amount to yet another relaunch of the Hulk franchise. Whether or not Marvel is seriously considering a third attempt at a modern Hulk solo story is in contention, but what’s clear is that the way early audiences are responding to the character’s involvement in The Avengers has the idea fresh on everyone at the studio’s minds. Both Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Marvel Entertainment’s President of Consumer Products for North America Paul Gitter have commented on the possibility of new Hulk material in recent interviews, but their outlooks on the matter see Marvel sending out a mixed message.

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Ant-Man

Marvel, as it’s own studio, has been the production team that’s dreamed the impossible dream. In a few weeks, they’ll unleash a movie with more superheroes per capita than any before which also assembles a cast that will probably never be in the same room all together again. The inevitable sequel to The Avengers is not as inevitable as other blockbusters considering the schedules involved. On that same front, the geek chorus of getting Edgar Wright‘s Ant-Man out of the paper and ink prison and onto the big screen has been justifiably getting louder over the past two years. It’s easy to imagine Marvel head Kevin Feige leading that chorus, and now he’s claiming that it’s “as close as it’s ever been.” In an interview with Hey U Guys’ Ben Mortimer, Feige said, “we are gonna take some forward steps in a few months that will bring it closer than ever.” There’s still no concrete information here, but alongside the studio’s new focus on lesser-known characters, it looks like Wright might need to carve out some big time for a small hero. Plus, Feige wouldn’t needlessly tease fans. The studio has dreamed impossible dreams, but they’ve managed to make a lot of them come true.

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The Avengers

Wow. People holding Tribeca badges and passes just got a kick in the pants from a dude in a metal suit, a guy who rips his purple shorts with rage and a host of other dysfunctional family members. According to their latest press release, the Tribeca Film Festival is closing its 2012 calendar with The Avengers. At a film event that celebrates James Franco’s eccentricities alongside indie filmmakers famous and not-yet-famous alike, this is a blockbuster move – one that the fest is using no doubt for publicity and as an opportunity to celebrate the heroes of New York City and beyond. Firemen, police officials, military personnel and others will have a special chance to join in on the screening. Marvel head Kevin Feige weighed in, saying, “We are proud that Marvel‘s The Avengers is the closing film of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and we are excited to welcome local heroes to the screening as special guests. We all know and love our iconic Super Heroes, but when it really counts, it’s our real-life heroes who save the world every day by making it a better place for all of us.” Despite its normal focus on the obscure, this fits well with the Tribeca mission which arose from the ashes of 9/11 as a means to prop up the New York City economy and to celebrate its art. On another level, it’s a booking that’s incredibly cool and makes native New Yorker Joss Whedon very happy. The director had this to […]

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When the first public trailer dropped for Joss Whedon’s upcoming Avengers film, it was met with a collective sigh from many, including yours truly. It wasn’t very exciting and the only thing it had going for it was some pedestrian banter that relied solely on the charm of Robert Downey Jr. Even on a visual level, the trailer failed to deliver the scale expected from an Avengers movie. It’s with that attitude that I entered the IGN theater at the New York Comic Con this past Saturday. When the panel started, moderator Chris Hardwick walked out to a crowd that was already coming down from the high of The Walking Dead panel and introduced the film’s producer Kevin Feige. Feige commented on how the teaser just recently dropped, but that it was on the computer and then proceeded to ask the audience if they would like to see it played on the three giant screens in the theater. This was met with great enthusiasm.

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Work on getting a Thor sequel in production seems to be well underway. It was just yesterday the news broke that Monster director Patty Jenkins was getting looked at very closely to direct the hammer-wielding god’s second movie, and now Entertainment Weekly has some quotes from Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige about what direction the plot will take. Once this sequel goes into production, Thor will already have furthered adventures here on Earth alongside his Avengers buddies, so according to Feige, it’s time to “take Thor literally to other worlds.” In the Norse mythology that Thor plays around in there are nine different worlds. When I looked up the nine worlds over at Marvel, I learned that three of them share the same planet as Thor’s home Asgard, one of them is where we live (Midgard), and the other four are called Jotunheim, Svartalfheim, Hel, and Muspelheim. That’s a whole mouthful of words, and a whole heap of worlds full of elves, demons, and who knows what for Thor to smash with his hammer.

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