Joss Whedon will return to write and direct a sequel to "The Avengers," Bob Iger, the chief executive of the Walt Disney Co., announced Tuesday.
The superhero movie, made by Disney's Marvel Entertainment subsidiary, is one of the biggest hits in modern Hollywood history, with global ticket sales in excess of $1.46 billion. The film's domestic ticket sales of $616.8 million makes it the third-highest-grossing film of all time, trailing just"Avatar" and"Titanic" in non-inflation-adjusted dollars.
Iger made the announcement in a conference call with analysts to discuss the media company's third-quarter earnings, which were up 24% thanks in part to theme park results and "Avengers" income. He also said Whedon is developing a Marvel-themed, live-action television series for ABC.
The "Avengers" sequel has not yet been dated, but Disney is already set to release two movies from Marvel Entertainment in 2014, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Guardians of the Galaxy," meaning the next "Avengers" film will likely come out in 2015.