In August 2009, Walt Disney Studios bought Marvel for $4 billion. That deal did not include character and properties that were already being produced under other studios. Disney, Marvel Studios, and Paramount Pictures have reached a deal for Disney to handle the worldwide marketing and distribution for The Avengers and Iron Man 3. Paramount will remain the worldwide distributor of the upcoming Thor and Captain America: The First Avengers. Disney reportedly paid $115 million for the transfer of the rights to Iron Man 3 and The Avengers.
So what does this mean? It means that The Avengers and Iron Man 3 open with a Disney logo in front instead of a Paramount one. The Comic-Con presentation will still be under Marvel Studios and nothing really changes except Disney is trying to keep the marketing and distribution of these major films in house.
Walt Disney Pictures has set the release date for Iron Man 3 for May 3, 2013. This news from Exhibitor Relations’ Facebook page came after Disney announced that they had purchased the distribution rights for Iron Man 3 and The Avengers from Paramount. It’s worth noting that if this release date holds, Iron Man 3 would come out almost one year after The Avengers, which is slated for May 4, 2012.
Presumably all the actors who signed on for Iron Man 2, signed multi-picture deals so Marvel and Disney can choose who they want to bring back. The biggest question mark is whether or not Jon Favreau will helm the third film. As you may recall, there was some protracted negotiations between the director and Marvel over coming back for the sequel. However, Favreau has already said that if he returns, he would like The Mandarin to be Iron Man 3′s villain.