Marvel unveils huge slate of new superhero films

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Marvel on Tuesday unveiled plans for nine new superhero movies through 2019, expanding a universe anchored on blockbuster franchises including “The Avengers” and “Captain America.”

In a surprise announcement, the studio revealed there will be a new two-part “Avengers” sequel in 2018-2019 — on top of one already scheduled for next year to follow the record-breaking 2012 original.

The studio also named its first African American solo lead actor — Chadwick Boseman, who will play the title role “Black Panther,” due out in 2017.

And it confirmed a release date for the sequel to “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which is so far the top-grossing film of 2014.

Here is a list of the nine movies, in chronological order based on release date:

– “Captain America: Civil War” – May 6, 2016

– “Dr Strange” – Nov 4, 2016

– “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” – May 5, 2017

– “Thor: Ragnarok” – July 28, 2017

– “Black Panther” – Nov 3, 2017

– “Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1” – May 4, 2018

– “Captain Marvel” – July 6, 2018

– “Inhumans” – Nov 2, 2018

– “Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2” – May 3, 2019

So-called “tent pole” movies — big money-making films that are often sequels to tried-and-tested blockbuster franchises — are increasingly important to studios as the movie-watching experience fragments into theatergoers and others viewing online or elsewhere.

The first “Avengers” movie and last year’s “Iron Man 3” are among the top five grossing films ever, together earning more than $2.7 billion worldwide to date, according to Marvel.

“The Avengers” — in which a band of superheroes helps save Earth from mythical prankster Loki and an alien army — opened in North America in May 2012 with a staggering $207.4 million in ticket sales — the biggest US debut of all time.

James Cameron’s “Avatar” remains the biggest grossing film of all time worldwide, with some $2.8 billion in takings, followed by “Titanic” on $2.2 billion and “The Avengers” on $1.5 billion, according to the Box Office Mojo website.

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