The Iron Age…
On September 6, 2005 Marvel entered into a non-recourse debt structure with Merrill Lynch collateralized by movie rights for 10 characters: Iron Man would be the first to make his “Mark.”
(At the time Marvel’s media release said: “Marvel characters set to join Captain America in the movies are the Avengers, Nick Fury, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Cloak & Dagger, Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, Power Pack and Shang-Chi.” ummm Power Pack?!)
On April 28, 2006 Marvel Studios hired Jon Favreau to develop and direct the big-screen adaptation of “Iron Man.” The media…sites like CNN put Iron Man in quotes; I didn’t.
On September 25, 2006 Robert Downey, Jr. (last seen in Charlie Bartlett and Lucky You) picked his best suit…his only suit really, drove in a beat up car to audition for Iron Man.
On September 29, 2006 Marvel announced “Robert Downey Jr. would play billionaire-turned-metallic superhero Iron Man, AKA Tony Stark, in the John Favreau-directed comic adaptation slated for 2008.” At the time some critics called Downey the anti-Tom Cruise who was considered for the role; though way too expensive. Others criticized Marvel for doing the Michael Keaton-Batman thing…going with an actor rather than an action star.
On March 13 2007 Kevin Feige was named President of Production while David Maisel was named Chairman of Marvel Studios.
In a 2004 meeting that took place at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach Maisel pitched the idea of Marvel financing a connected cinematic universe. (“By then Spider-Man was at Sony and Iron Man had been idling at New Line. (“They thought it was a lousy property,” says Maisel.”)
On May 2, 2008 Iron Man opened in 4,105 theaters grossing $98.6 million over the weekend.
“There Is One Thing Stronger Than All The Armies In The World, And That Is An Idea Whose Time Has Come.”
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.