Downey says 'Iron Man 2''s Tony Stark is not a drunk. Plus: Howard sharpens his 'Iron' message to Marvel. Fired 'Wolverine' pirate reviewer says he ain't dead yet. 'Watchmen' falls from the top 10. Shaking a choleric fist at the April snow, it's your Comics2Film 9.4.6!
Yesterday we reported that Robert Downey Jr. suggested the 'Iron Man 2' storyline would see Don Cheadle's Rhodey character putting on the armor and assuming the mantle of War Machine. This seemed to confirm ongoing speculation that the movie would play into the famous "Demon in a Bottle" storyline.
For readers who aren't schooled in Iron Man lore, "Demon in a Bottle" was a late 1970s-era storyline which brought some relevance to the comic by confronting Tony Stark's constant drinking. Previously portrayed as a swinging playboy with a martini ever in hand, Tony Stark was revealed to be an alchoholic in the "Demon" run. Eventually Stark relinquishes the Iron Man armor to his trusted friend Jim Rhodes, who becomes War Machine.
MTV caught up with actor Robert Downey Jr. while doing press for 'The Soloist' and asked him if the "Demon in a Bottle" storyline is the basis for the new movie, which begins filming today.
"Not really," Downey replied. "As a matter of fact, I think that’s probably best saved, because it’s such its own storyline. We’re going for the interim space [between the origin and 'Demon']."
A weekend report indicated that FoxNews.com columnist Roger Friedman had been fired for posting his review of 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' in his "Fox 411" column, and including pro-piracy remarks in his editorial.
However Friedman told The Hollywood Reporter that his relationship with Fox News is not yet settled. After the reports of his termination began circulating on Sunday, Friedman told the Reporter, "Reports of my death have been extremely exaggerated."
When asked for confirmation, a spokesman for Fox News only said, "This is an internal matter that we are not prepared to discuss at this time."
Friedman's Fox 411 column has not been updated since Friday.
UPDATED: This story was updated around 12:30pm ET on April 6, when a more complete accounting of Terrence Howard's remarks were discovered online.
Last October, when actor Terrence Howard was unceremoniously dumped from the 'Iron Man 2' movie, and replaced with actor Don Cheadle, Howard was fairly even-handed in his public response. In an interview with NPR he called the incident the surprise of a lifetime and, while he did express some dismay about it, he seemed resolved to move on.
This weekend, in speaking with the press on the eve of the film's production start, he commented further. SCI FI Wire published an account of Howard's comments.
"Marvel...made a choice. They made a very, very bad choice. They didn't keep their word. They didn't honor our contract," Howard said. "They sent everyone out into a field and told them to work and produce a great bounty. You produce a great bounty, and then when it's all in the storehouse, you are not allowed into the storehouse."
Howard was the first and only casualty in a series of disputes that seems to be rooted in Marvel's frugality. Jon Favreau, Samuel L. Jackson, Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson have all been the focus of stories that indicated that Marvel was being pennywise in its budgeting of the sequel to the blockbuster that made them an overnight success as a stand-alone studio.
"They did the same thing with Gwyneth [Paltrow], from what I've been told. They did it with almost everyone," the actor said, "I think, except Downey throughout the thing. One of the things that actors need to learn to do is take a tip from Friends [whose cast members all held out for higher pay]. You always choose to stick together. One for all and all for one. Our Gang, you know? Let Spanky be our rule."
Howard was asked if he thought about getting even with Marvel by spilling the beans on what the future of the trilogy holds. "Nah, when someone does something wrong, you don't have to get them back. Everything right will return the favor for you," Howard said and then admitted he's looking forward to 'Iron Man 2'.
In its fifth week of release, 'Watchmen' has slipped the box office top 10. The film fell five spots in the wake of two new film openings this week from #8 to #13, according to weekend estimates published by Box Office Mojo.
The weekend take for the underachieving movie was about $1 million, bringing its domestic tally to $105 million. Combined with overseas box office, the film has raked in about $173 million. It's not clear if the movie is in the black yet. Mojo puts the film's production budget at around $150 million, but there's still the massive marketing budget to consider, not to mention the infamous Fox payment.
Regardless, the movie is likely to have longer legs on tertiary markets, like pay-per-view, DVD and Blu-Ray and so on. If its not profitable yet, it will be by the year's end.
Of course, a movie like 'Watchmen' needs to be more than profitable. It's a tentpole and it needs to generate such a huge margin of wealth so as to support the studio's less commercial ventures. In that regard, 'Watchmen' will not measure up.