The rumor mill is already churning away concerning the third movie in The Avengers series, almost a year before Avengers: Age Of Ultron even hits theaters. ComicBook.com is reporting that a Marvel Studios tipster has let it slip that Avengers 3 is set to be split into two movies:
[A] rumor coming out of a fan news page called the Daily Marvelite claims that the third Avengers film will an epic story split across two movies.
They admitted that all their source has told them is that the battle with Thanos will play out over two films; it could simply be that Avengers 4 will be needed to win the day, or that the third film will be subdivided.
The latter seems more likely if, as the report claims, the May 2018 and May 2019 “untitled” Marvel movies turn out to be Avengers 3 and 4.
How that would work, in terms of contracts, isn’t clear; at least Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans’ deals will expire after one of those two films, and neither have expressed an interest in renewing their deal.
They go on to speculate that the rumored split could be a lead into an Infinity Gauntlet film that serves to connect everything together and go for broke. Who knows? As SNL pointed out, Marvel could basically put anyone on the screen and people would probably buy a ticket.
Badass Digest comes flying in out of left field though to provide a little insight on why this latest rumor is probably false in the long run. It would seem that last line in the quote above is the key to this newest mess:
You know Ilya Salkind as the man who produced Superman: The Movie, but his biggest legacy may be with the Screen Actor’s Guild. Salkind produced The Three Musketeers, directed by Richard Lester and starring a killer cast that included Oliver Reed, Charlton Heston, Raquel Welch and Faye Dunaway. The script was big – it was considered to possibly be a four hour movie – but during post-production it was decided to cut the film in half, releasing The Four Musketeers the very next year. This incensed the actors, who found themselves starring in two movies but only being paid for one, and lawsuits were filed. Eventually the Screen Actors Guild included new language in the standard actor contract, known as the Salkind Clause, which says the actors must know how many movies they’re making when they sign up – ie, you can’t just use all their extra footage to make another movie without paying them for another movie.
The Salkind Clause becomes important because Avengers 3 will mark the contractual end of the line for both Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans; Evans will have finished his sixth Marvel film, and Downey renegotiated his contract to carry him through Avengers 3. Marvel cannot simply shoot a lot with these guys and then split the movie in two – they would need to renegotiate their contracts to split Avengers 3 in half, and that would mean that Evans and Downey would straight up have the studio over the barrel.
Oliver Reed is probably the last guy I’d want to f*ck around with in terms of acting contracts. He was fueled by alcohol and intense as hell, a volatile mixture.
Now Devin Faraci over at BD clarifies to say that adjusting deals has happened before, namely for the cast of The Hobbit after their two movies based on one book became three giant sized epics. I still lean towards his opinion on the whole mess. I disagree his thoughts Marvel’s planning, but I don’t think they’ve thought that far ahead in regards to contracts.
Just don’t expect me to be shocked if they do decide to split the third movie up if Avengers: Age of Ultron makes a ton of cash. They’ll get those contracts written in blood by Monday morning.