In last year’s ”Captain America: The First Avenger,” the title hero not only proved himself on the battlefields of World War II he also showed enough at the box office to earn a sequel, which will reach theaters April 4, 2014, and will feature a modern-day setting, according to Marvel and Walt Disney Studios.
Chris Evans is expected to return as the star-spangled avenger in that sequel, but first he’s doing a tour of duty in “The Avengers,” the May 4 release that represents an all-star squad of Marvel Studios heroes. That movie, directed by Joss Whedon, will put the patriotic character together with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and spy-master Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
“Captain America: The First Avenger” made $369 million in worldwide box office, a solid total considering some observers said a Roosevelt-era creation that wears an American flag for a costume would be a tough sell in certain corners of our 21st century globe — especially in a movie mostly set in the 1940s.
They were right to a certain extent: “Thor,” also released last year, was a much stronger rainmaker for Marvel with $449 million — and that hero, no coincidence, will return first with a 2013 sequel. At least Cap was able to avoid last place on the clubhouse’s box-office tally; “The Incredible Hulk” in 2008 generated the least amount of green by earning $263 million.
When last we saw Evans in the role of the super-soldier Steve Rogers, he had just been revived from decades of deep-freeze. “The Avengers” picks up at that point and, according to a Disney news release, the 2014 movie will stay in the here and now: “The second installment will pick-up where … ‘The Avengers’ leaves off, as Steve Rogers continues his affiliation with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D and struggles to embrace his role in the modern world.”
Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, and on the 1941 cover of his first issue he delivered a haymaker to Adolf Hitler’s jaw. The director of the first film, Joe Johnston, has said that returning to that signature era for a second film might be enticing — and the first movie skipped over months of combat duty.
Marvel ultimately went in a different direction. It’s not clear who will direct the sequel — and it’s also a mystery whether the sequel will pick up with the Winter Soldier saga that could easily branch off of the first film’s darker portrayal of James “Bucky” Barnes. When the sequel arrives, Captain America won’t be the only one adjusting to an unfamiliar time period; the 2014 release will be the first Marvel Studios feature film not released in the summer, a nod to shifting industry views of the first quarter of the year as a viable window for young-skewing blockbusters.
– Geoff Boucher
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