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Bob Iger Announces 'Avengers' Sequel

Marvel and Disney made box office history with the gargantuan success of The Avengers, which has brought in over $700 million worldwide in less than two weeks. And Disney CEO Bob Iger surprised no one with the announcement that a sequel is in the works during a conference call with analysts to discuss quarterly earnings. But already industry pundits are asking if Disney and Marvel can do it again.

Marvel and Disney made box office history with the gargantuan success of The Avengers, which has brought in over $700 million worldwide in less than two weeks. And Disney CEO Bob Iger surprised no one with the announcement that a sequel is in the works during a conference call with analysts to discuss quarterly earnings. But already industry pundits are asking if Disney and Marvel can do it again.

Daily Variety reports that it will take super-human stamina to make all the pieces fit together again.

The first task will be booking the cast. Robert Downey Jr., who initially signed on for four turns as Tony Stark in a deal that carries him through next year's Iron Man 3. Other Avengers stars -- including Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner -- have signed deals that go beyond the three-picture pacts that have become industry standard for tentpole franchises. Samuel Jackson, for example, inked a nine-picture deal, and most of the other main actors have signed on for six.

Next is the question of Joss Whedon, who is widely credited with keeping all the elements in balance on a critically lauded project that could have easily gone haywire. Marvel head Kevin Feige has shown a willingness to take chances on new directors -- Jon Favreau is the only Marvel movie director to get a second go, with Iron Man 2 -- but re-hiring Whedon would buy a lot of goodwill with fans, and help keep the peace among the constellation of stars who now have good reason to trust the director.

Feige will be under tremendous pressure, Variety reports, to do it all "the Marvel way," which means keeping a close eye on the bottom line. "It means questioning every cost, every dollar," Feige said. "We don't take any of our success for granted."

That would include successful time management, as Marvel is also developing Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, the Inhumans and Guardians of the Galaxy as potential new franchises, with potential spinoffs of the Johansson, Renner and Jackson characters from Avengers. Already engaged are Iron Man 3 and sequels for Captain America and Thor, dated through 2014.

That means an Avengers sequel would most likely come in 2015 -- if Marvel and Disney can keep all those plates spinning.

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