News: Captain America 2 Gets Release Date, Needs Director

Modern Myth Media has a couple pieces of news about the upcoming sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger, tentatively titled Captain America 2. First, it now has an official release date, at April 4, 2014. This is a fairly early date in the blockbuster schedule (by comparison, the first one was released in late July). It’s hard to guess exactly what the thinking is there; it may be that they’re trying to position it to be the “first big blockbuster” of the year, or it may be that they don’t think it has the strength to fend off other contenders that will be in more traditional summer blockbuster slots. So that could be good news, could be bad.

The other news is that Marvel Entertainment is still looking for a director for the film. Joe Johnston, who directed the first film, is not in the director’s chair for the sequel, for reasons I am unaware of. I really liked the first one, and it was both a critical and commercial success (earning back a bit more than its budget domestically, and more than doubling it worldwide, and scoring a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes), so it’s a little hard to believe that Marvel wasn’t happy with the film. Maybe Johnston simply didn’t want to do another, or maybe it’s just a consequence of the studio reshuffling after Disney’s acquisition of Marvel (the first film was through Paramount, the sequel will be through Disney’s subsidiary Buena Vista). The directors currently proposed as potentially at the helm of the film are F. Gary Gray, George Nolfi, and Anthony & Joe Russo. If I had to pick between them, with the caveat that just because someone is inexperienced doesn’t mean they’ll turn out bad, I’d go with Gray. The Russos don’t have much to their names, mostly some low-brow comedies; their best known work is the TV series Community. Nolfi has only directed The Adjustment Bureau, and while I liked that, it doesn’t get me enthused about him for Captain America 2. Gray has, at least, directed a few action films, although they are the underwhelming Italian Job remake, Law Abiding Citizen, and The Negotiator. I don’t know… I think I’d like to see another name thrown in the mix.

With Thor 2 having ousted two directors, and Jon Favreau saying he won’t be back for Iron Man 3, it’s starting to look like Marvel Entertainment either can’t or won’t hold onto directors. Thor 2 eventually settled on Alan Taylor, who has directed some episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones, so he might be a decent fit. And Iron Man 3 got Shane Black, who, while he has only previously directed one film, it was the excellent Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (also with Robert Downey Jr.) and he has some action movie good writing credits to his name as well. So I’m not as concerned about those films any more as I might have been. But this news for Captain America 2 has me concerned, especially since Captain America is pretty easy to mess up, and the heavily-intertwined nature of Marvel’s current properties (Captain America 2 will be picking up the character where The Avengers leaves him) means that the films already have some trouble standing on their own in the first place. They need excellent directors. Right now that’s a big unknown quantity on this film.

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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14 Responses to News: Captain America 2 Gets Release Date, Needs Director

  1. sanclementejedi says:

    Seems like Marvel is trying to go the cheapskate route with directors. While I enjoyed the first Cap film it certainly was not a great movie. So maybe a new director will end up taking the franchise to the next level.

    • Personally, I thought the first one was really good. But I do seem to be in the minority on that opinion. And yes, it really does seem like Marvel is trying to skimp on paying their directors… not exactly sound business sense, considering how important the director can be to the film’s success, but it’s perfectly in-line with the business sense Marvel has shown in the past with their comics…

  2. Wow… wasn’t all that concerned about the director thing, Marvel has has director issues before and come out ok. I think Adam has a good point about Marvel trying to go the cheap route…

    But whats up with that release date? April? That is some serious offseason scheduling. That’s American Reunion’s spot this year. Last year it was “Hop” Insidious” and “Source Code”

    Surely theyre expecting Cap 2 to be bigger than that, no?

    • The release date is definitely perplexing. It’s mighty early for what you’d hope would be a big blockbuster movie… not John Carter early, but still, much earlier than superhero movies usually are. Even X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a May 1 release, and this is a month earlier than that, even. It’s a bit troubling, since as you say, you would think they’d expect better from it. The only positive thought I was able to come up with is that they think it’s going to be so big, it can take that early date to be the “first big blockbuster of the year”. The only comparable film I was able to find (in an admittedly quick search) that released that early was The Matrix, which had a March 31 release. But that was more of a slow burn in theaters than a big immediate success. But maybe that’s what they’re thinking of for Cap 2… it kind of looks like Cap 1 had that slow burn as well, but its run took it into late fall, so maybe they’re hoping a slow burn that starts earlier will garner more ticket sales?

  3. ruth says:

    I wish Joe Johnston would stay on. He did a great job w/ the first one. Ah well, seems like they’re running into similar issues about the director not staying for the sequel w/ Hunger Games.

    • I thought Johnston did a great job as well. It does seem, though, that since Marvel is flipping directors all over the place with their films, that it’s probably more about money than about quality of work. Pity.

      Looking at the latest news for the Hunger Games, it sounds as though Gary Ross is still in discussions to return for the sequel. It’s a bit rocky — money, again, as well as the quick turn-around expected — but he’s still considering it. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I hope for its fans that the studio manages to get him back.

      • rtm says:

        Yeah, there is still hope that Ross will come back. Sounds like he’s a busy guy and naturally will become busier with the success of Hunger Games!

  4. I’ll be curious to see who they get to direct the sequel and what direction they take the story after The Avengers.

    • That question of “what direction they take after The Avengers” is the one thing that really has me kind of concerned about the heavily interconnected nature of the Avengers movies… I could easily see it becoming the case where the films after Avengers don’t stand on their own even when they’re supposed to be about the individual characters. I hope that’s not the case, but when I look at how much Black Widow and Nick Fury had to do with Iron Man 2, I start to wonder…

  5. I’d love for Frank Darabount to get a crack at something like this.

    As for the release date, I think it’s well past time that the “summer blockbuster” season got expanded. There’s been some major box office hits in April the last few years, so there’s definitely coin to be had there.

    • Interesting resume Darabont has… not a lot of films he’s directed, but a few of them are very highly regarded.

      It might be that “summer blockbuster” could be expanded some. I’ve been trying to think of some big April releases, but haven’t been able to come up with any… but then, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to look up.

      • Just the past three years:

        Fast Five, 4/29/11, $210m
        Clash of the Titans, 4/2/10, $163m
        Fast and Furious, 4/3/09, $155m
        Rio, 4/15/11, $143m
        Hop, 4/1/11, $108m
        Date Night, 4/9/10, $99m

        • Ah, well done. I’d say those first three carry more weight, since the others aren’t really summer blockbuster type films anyway, but yes, those are respectable numbers for action features.

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