Without the success of the Iron Man films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe couldn't exist. It's staggering to think about, but there was a time when Marvel wasn't a blockbuster powerhouse. After the big comic collapse of the late '90s, Marvel sold the movie rights to more heroes to keep the lights on.
Enter Iron Man. By the mid-2000s, superhero movies were doing big business. Spider-Man had broken just about every theatrical record at the time for Sony Pictures and the X-Men movies were heavy hitters for Fox. So Marvel wanted in on their own game. So they decided to rally the heroes they had left and do something no one had ever done before: build a shared superhero universe onscreen. Iron Man was the first Marvel Studios movie, the one it was all riding on.
We wanted to take a look back at the series that started it all. Iron Man started the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man 2 began laying Easter eggs by the dozen, and Iron Man 3 is still the biggest solo superhero film of all time. We decided to dig up some facts about the franchise you may not know. These are the best fun facts and behind the scenes trivia from the Iron Man franchise.
Favreau Wanted Downey Jr. as Iron Man BECAUSE of His Tumultuous PastPhoto: Jon Favreau / Twitter
Though other filmmakers wouldn't work with Robert Downey Jr. at the time, Jon Favreau actually saw RDJ's past as an asset to the character. He said, "The best and worst moments of Robert's life have been in the public eye. He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That's Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic book character having trouble in high school, or can't get the girl." Favreau also admitted Downey could make Stark "a likable asshole."
Combined, the Three Movies Made Over $2 Billion at the Box OfficePhoto: Iron Man / Paramount Pictures
The Iron Man films have always brought in the big bucks. The first movie's success was a huge surprise to everyone, and since then, each subsequent installment has been an even bigger hit.
The first film made $585.2 million. The second made 623.9 million, and the third got a big boost from The Avengers with over $1.2 billion.
Howard Hughes Inspired Tony Stark
Stan Lee credits Howard Hughes as his inspiration for billionaire-playboy-philanthropist Tony Stark. Stan Lee described Hughes as "one of the most colorful men of our time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-billionaire, a ladies' man and finally a nutcase." Sounds about right.
Scarlet Johansson was Preparing for Her Role as Black Widow Before She Even Booked ItPhoto: Iron Man 2 / Paramount Pictures
Scarlett Johansson wanted to play Black Widow so badly she dyed her hair red before she even booked the role. To prepare to play the Russian assassin, she trained for six weeks before filming started and then for six months of production. She reportedly based some of her performance on Nina Ivanovna Yakushova of Ninotchka (1939), and Anya Amasova of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).