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Iron Man 2: Robert Downey Jr signs on

Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man

Story by Jack Foley

ROBERT Downey Jr has reportedly signed up for a sequel to comic book adaptation Iron Man, which shot to the top of the US box office during its opening weekend with $98.6m (£50m) in three days.

According to Marvel Studios, the sequel will be released in 2010 and will likely reunite Downey Jr with franchise director Jon Favreau.

Iron Man surpassed box office expectations when it was released globally on May 2, 2008, and only just failed to take $100 million in three days (contrary to initial estimates).

But its success has also paved the way for a string of new movies based on other comic characters in the Marvel family, including Thor, Captain America and The Avengers.

And even though the casting of Downey Jr was perceived as a risk initially, Iron Man‘s subsequent success has been attributed in no small part to the charismatic leading man.

Kevin Feige, head of production for Marvel Studios, commented: “It’s great to see a sold-out audience that you know is made up of comic book fans and people who had never read an Iron Man comic in their life.”

The first Iron Man movie saw Downey Jr playing billionaire industrialist Tony Stark who invents a hi-tech suit of armour that transforms him into a superhero.