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16 May 2012

Avengers smash $1 billion mark; Marvel Entertainment: The Avengers video game in the works...

Avengers smash $1 billion mark

Marvel Entertainment: The Avengers video game in the works

The Avengers sequel gets green light from Disney; Disney chief executive Bob Iger also announces plans for Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and Captain America 2...


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The Avengers has smashed through the $US1 billion mark in global box office earnings, official numbers demonstrate without doubt.

The comic book superhero blockbuster movie made $US103.1 million over the weekend in North America, following its $US207 million opening weekend - the highest-earning debut on record.

Globally, the Disney action adventure movie, directed by cult favourite Joss Whedon in collaboration with Marvel Comics, has made $US1,002,082,000, according to movie industry website IMDb.

The mega success of the movie - produced for an estimated $US220 million - will help offset Disney's huge $US200 million loss on sci-fi fantasy film John Carter in March, which acted as a catalyst for the departure of Walt Disney Studios boss Rich Ross.

The Avengers focuses on a superhero tag team including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor.


The Avengers sequel gets green light from Disney; Disney chief executive Bob Iger also announces plans for Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and Captain America 2...

A sequel to superhero blockbuster The Avengers has been officially greenlighted after Joss Whedon's film brought in a massive $700m at the global box office in just two weeks.

Disney chief executive Bob Iger made the announcement as the studio admitted that its earnings for the first quarter of 2012 dropped 12% to $1.2bn compared to the same period last year. The film unit's $84m operating loss for the quarter was blamed largely on the box-office failure of $275m fantasy epic John Carter earlier this year.

Iger also confirmed that Iron Man 3, Thor 2 (both set for 2013) and Captain America 2 (due in 2014) will all be heading to cinemas through Marvel studios, which Disney bought for $4bn in 2009. He did not give a date or other details for the sequel to The Avengers (known as Avengers Assemble in the UK).

Meanwhile it has been revealed that The Avengers helped boost revenues for the $220m film via product placement for at least 18 companies. The luxury car manufacturer Acura was most prominent, having secured a multi-picture deal with Marvel, according to brand website portal Brand Channel. The company developed a special supercar especially for the movie, Tony Stark's NX Roadster, and also provided a number of other vehicles for key scenes. Other featured brands included ABC, aussieBum, Bose, CNN, Dr Pepper, Harley-Davidson and Southwest Airlines.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed that British actor Rebecca Hall is in talks to appear opposite Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 3, following Jessica Chastain's decision to pass on the film due to scheduling issues. Shane Black, director of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, will take the reins on the third instalment.


The Avengers video game in the works...

Now that they've saved the world on film, The Avengers are teaming up for a motion-control video game.

Ubisoft Entertainment have announced a partnership with Marvel Entertainment to create a game based on the popular Marvel superhero posse. The game will be titled Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth and will be released for both the upcoming Wii U console from Nintendo Co. and the camera-based Kinect system for the Xbox 360 from Microsoft.

"The idea that we're making a motion-control version of The Avengers is a unique proposition if you compare that to superhero games of the past," said Tony Key, Ubisoft's vice president of sales and marketing.

"This is the perfect type of game for that because these characters are very action oriented. They're always fighting and throwing things."

Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth will focus on such characters as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk fending off an invasion of genetically altered Skrull aliens. The title will feature more than 20 characters from the Marvel universe and would be based on the Secret Invasion comic series, not the recent film.

No release date was announced, but Key said the disc-based title is expected to launch after Nintendo debuts the Wii U later this year. The successor to Nintendo's Wii will feature high-definition graphics, increased online capabilities and a touch-pad controller. He said more details about the game would be unveiled at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo.

The game will be the latest addition to Ubisoft's motion-control arsenal. Previous titles released by the Canadian publisher that rely on gesture-based devices include the artsy shooter Child of Eden, street brawler Fighters Uncaged, superhero dueler PowerUp Heroes, the Your Shape fitness franchise and top-selling Just Dance series.

Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth will mark the first time that the Assassin's Creed publisher has developed a game based on a franchise from Marvel, which was purchased in 2009 by The Walt Disney. The developers previously worked with Avatar director James Cameron to craft a third-person 3D action-adventure game set on the planet Pandora.

Sega created each of the games pegged to the films of The Avengers forerunners, including last year's Thor: God of Thunder and Captain America: Super Soldier, but there was no console game released this year alongside director Joss Whedon's blockbuster The Avengers, just the mobile game Marvel's The Avengers and Facebook title "Marvel: Avengers Alliance."

Fans freaked out last year over unofficial footage and concept art posted online of a first-person Avengers game that was reportedly in development by THQ. The footage of Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America and Thor battling the infamous Skrull was yanked by Marvel from YouTube. A representative for Marvel declined to be interviewed for this story.

Traditionally, games based on Marvel movies have been released around the same time as their super-powered counterparts to benefit from parallel buzz. The open-world action-adventure title The Amazing Spider-Man from Activision. is set for release June 26, ahead of director Marc Webb's film of the same name on July 3.

The big-screen adaptation of The Avengers starring Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye has smashed box office records, earning $US207.4 million in the US in its opening weekend.

"For us, that obviously raises the brand itself to an even higher level, and that's good for our video game because we have an opportunity to reach a broader audience than just the guys who love comic book characters," said Key, who added that Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth would be family friendly despite the game's focus on fighting.

Marvel's superheroes have been a dominant presence throughout the history of games. They most recently assembled for the Capcom brawler "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3" and the Activision role-playing sequel Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. Gazillion Entertainment is currently developing a free-to-play online game featuring them called Marvel Heroes. Website: www.AvengersBattleForEarth.com

Marvel online slot games continue to be available via Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment - PartyCasino, and full game reviews are available across the Media Man agency website network. Excelsior!

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