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No rest yet for Marvel heroes

Global Times (2013-10-25 P19)
By Reuters
Thor returns in <em>The Dark World</em>. Photo: IC

Thor returns in The Dark World. Photo: IC

Launching his 20th blockbuster in a decade in London on Tuesday, studio exec Kevin Feige is dismissive of any suggestion that the superhero movie is near its sell-by date.

Feige is one of the main movers in Disney-owned Marvel Studios, which has grown steadily since emerging as competition for Batman just over a decade ago.

With franchises including Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man and last year's The Avengers they have scored well above $10 billion at the box office since expanding from cartoons into live action film around the turn of the millennium.

But is there no hint of creative fatigue creeping in?

"I don't know if there's an infinite amount of expansion that we can do," Feige told Reuters ahead of the premiere of Thor: The Dark World in London. "But if you look at the comics, they've been telling a story a month for 50 years or so, so there's a lot of stories we can tell.

"I'd like to think that as long as we keep surprising audiences, as long as we keep taking chances and evolving characters in our movies so that they can't quite pin us down or tell where we're going to go next, that we'll keep the audiences engaged and they'll keep coming to see it."

So far this year, the Superman reboot Man of Steel has cleared $662 million and Iron Man 3 some $1.2 billion worldwide, double what the first two movies in that franchise pulled in individually, according to the ticket tracking website

"There's a certain amount of spectacle and scale with superhero movies that makes people think it's time to drive out and see them on a big screen," Feige said.

"Then it's the characters. I think people like to see a flawed hero overcome their flaws to prevail."

After The Avengers, the film is the third outing for Thor and his brother Loki, a morally dubious character who straddles the line between good and evil.

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