June 20 (Bloomberg) -- Robert Downey Jr. will return as Iron Man in two “Avengers” sequels for Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel after helping make the original the No. 3 top-grossing movie in history.
Downey will play the billionaire inventor Tony Stark, who doubles as the superhero Iron Man, in “Marvel’s The Avengers 2” and “Marvel’s The Avengers 3,” Burbank, California-based Disney, said today on its website.
The deal adds two more potentially lucrative films to a Disney/Marvel lineup that already includes individual “Iron Man” movies and pictures with other characters such as Thor and the Hulk. The original “Avengers,” released in 2012, had worldwide ticket sales of $1.5 billion. This year’s “Iron Man 3” is fifth on the best-selling list $1.2 billion, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.
Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed “Marvel’s The Avengers,” will return for “Marvel’s The Avengers 2,” scheduled for release in May 2015, the company said. Whedon told Entertainment Weekly in an interview published on June 6 that he wouldn’t do another “Avengers” film without Downey.
The “Avengers” movies unite Iron Man with other characters from Marvel comics to battle villains. The first film included The Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow.
Disney fell 3.7 percent to $61.98 at 4 p.m. in New York, making it the biggest loser in the Dow Jones Industrial Average today. The stock has gained 24 percent this year.
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