The Secret to Iron Man 3’s Success

May 9, 2013 by Tom Ferda 

Published in Film Trailers Magazine May 8, 2013

Now that Iron Man 3 has come out the gate as one of the best grossing openings of all time, any questions about change of director can come to rest.

Disney reported a $175M opening weekend for IM3, second only to ‘The Avengers’ $207.4M. The Avengers is another Disney flick that also happens to star Robert Downey Jr. That film went on to gross over $1.5 billion worldwide, becoming Disney’s highest-grossing global and domestic release of all time, and marks the studio’s fifth film to gross more than $1 billion worldwide.

President of Marvel Studios and Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” producer Kevin Feige explains why Marvel has continued its unprecedented box-office success in adapting comic book characters to the big screen.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“The secret to Marvel comics and why our films have continued to be successful is our attention to the development and complexity of our characters, all of which are flawed in some way,” Feige said. “Despite the spectacular and amazing things that they can do, people can relate to their many flaws. People like seeing superheroes save the day, but have difficulty doing it.”

‘Flaws’ certainly describes the Iron Man Tony Stark character who goes on rebellious rants and drinking binges in some of these films. But these characteristics bring the character to life and help create another hurdle for the story.

“The exciting thing about Iron Man 3 is that it’s not only the culmination of the first two [Iron Man] films but it’s also a follow-up to ‘The Avengers’”, added Feige.  “It’s one of the first situations where you have a movie that is the sequel to two different films.”

For the storyline of Marvel’s “Iron Man 3,” the filmmakers decided on a “back-to-basics” tone where they could explore what Tony Stark would do if all of his money and toys were stripped away from him and he was forced to find a way back to being a superhero.

During the development stages Downey Jr. and Marvel Studios were both on board but they needed to find the right director to take the reins from Jon Favreau who turned Iron Man and Iron Man 2 into worldwide blockbuster hits.

Shane Black got that call. Black directed Downey Jr. in “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” so the two had a working relationship but the director also spent a lot of time on the previous Iron Man sets.

“During the preproduction of Iron Man, Jon Favreau and I used to call Shane and ask him for advice about scenes,” said Downey Jr. “I was delighted when Marvel brought his name up and obviously very much in favor of him directing Iron Man 3.”

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Iron Man 3 was inked by screenwriter Drew Pearce and Black, whose action screenplay credits include “Last Action Hero”,  “Lethal Weapon” and “Long Kiss Goodnight”.

Although Favreau didn’t stand behind the lens for this film, he did stay on as Executive Producer and played the expanded role of character Happy Hogan.

“Having Jon involved was a tremendous asset for Shane and the film,” Feige said. “He wasn’t only playing Happy Hogan which is a big role but he also helped out behind the scenes as executive producer. Throughout the entire process he was very gracious the way he helped Shane…always willing to answer Shane’s questions about the script, story points, setting u a character or just getting the best out of any of the cast.”

One thing for sure, Marvel and Disney is getting the best out of transforming classic comic book characters onto the big screen to a receptive worldwide audience. Iron Man 4, 5 and 6 anyone?

Contact Tom via email: tom@tomferda.com

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