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Robert Downey Jr. tops Forbes' list of highest-paid actors

It pays to be Iron Man.

Between June 2012 and June 2013, Iron Man 3 and Avengers star Robert Downey Jr. netted an estimated $75 million, nabbing him the No. 1 spot on Forbeslist of Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actors. Unlike the Celebrity 100 List, this one is all about money, something that Downey knows a lot about recently. The Iron Man trilogy has grossed over $2 billion while The Avengers is now the third-highest grossing film ever.

A decade ago, if you had said that Downey would be King of Hollywood, you probably would have been met with laughter. Even though he appeared in some well-regarded projects — even receiving a Golden Globe for Ally McBeal and an Oscar nod for Chaplin — his drug abuse and erratic behavior was well documented and prevented studios from investing too heavily in his projects. He soon cleaned up, bounced back, and reinvented himself with his career-making turns in Iron Man and Tropic Thunder. READ FULL STORY

'The Avengers 2' without Robert Downey Jr.? It's possible even if it's unthinkable

The final title card in Iron Man 3 declared, “Tony Stark Will Return.” It’s a reassuring promise (and one that shows that the character’s not-so-secret identity has gained just as much popularity as his superhero alter ego). But it’s not necessarily a guarantee that Robert Downey Jr. will also return.

The massive opening weekend for Iron Man 3 was immediately followed by uncertainty about Downey’s future in the franchise. With the completion of the third installment in the trilogy about the Armored Avenger, Downey fulfilled his contractual obligations to play the character.

So the big question here is, will Downey be in The Avengers 2? READ FULL STORY

This Week's Cover: 'Iron Man 3' plays rough with Marvel's top hero

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Watch out — she’s armed.

Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow have been hoping to get Tony Stark’s ladylove Pepper Potts into some armor ever since the second Iron Man movie, fulfilling the character’s comic book evolution from the damsel in distress to the high-powered heroine known as Rescue. With Iron Man 3, it finally happens. “It’s sort of the comic-book version of a Cinderella story,” Paltrow says of her character’s four-film arc. “She starts timid and sort of cleaning up after Tony, and then she evolves into full strength and a superhero.”

But there’s a chance that her first time in the suit may also be her last …

In this week’s cover story, Entertainment Weekly explores a question that everyone who sees Iron Man 3 this weekend will be asking: Is this the end?

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EW's Morning Bite: And the best sound bite from last night is...

Submitted by Tnmiller916:

”We are humbled to be standing here. No, we’re not humbled, we won. We’re… what’s the opposite of humbled? We’re Biebered to be standing here tonight.”

–Joss Whedon accepting the Movie of the Year award for The Avengers at the MTV Movie Awards

Check out all of your bites from Sunday April 14 and come back tonight to share your pick for best sound bite!

Read more:
Check out the winners for the MTV Movie Awards!
MTV Movie Awards: Rebel Wilson’s most outrageous jokes
MTV Movie Awards: Rebel Wilson talks hosting, and the sketch we didn’t see

'Avengers: Endless Wartime': Marvel's new graphic novel era begins -- EXCLUSIVE

AVENGERS-ENDLESS-WARTIME

Marvel will start a new shelf of original graphic novels this October with the release of Avengers: Endless Wartime, a 110-page epic by writer Warren Ellis and artist Mark McKone that will represent a number of milestone firsts.

Endless Wartime will be the first Marvel title released simultaneously in North America, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Brazil, Finland and Turkey. The book includes a code for accessing a digital edition via the Marvel Comics app and online in the Marvel Digital Comics Shop. The book’s biggest distinction, however, is the somewhat odd fact that Marvel rarely publishes major original graphic novels — more on that in a moment. But first a quick observation on Ellis: The man who dreamed up Spider Jerusalem and Planetary is putting together a pretty special year.

The Brit’s second prose detective novel, Gun Machine, hit the New York Times Bestseller list in January and his comics work will echo in two major studio releases this summer. There’s Iron Man 3 (which draws core concepts and themes from Iron Man: Extremis, the landmark 2005 story arc that pruned and primed the character’s mythology for Hollywood) and then RED 2 (the sequel to 2010’s RED, which gets its spy-versus-spy-retiree concept and its title from the old Wildstorm limited series by Ellis and Cully Hamner).

READ FULL STORY

Marvel is going on tour

Iron Man is coming to an arena near you. In a good way…even though bad guys do seem to love that whole arena/football stadium setting for announcing their plans for destruction and world domination. But either way, at least Iron Man will be there already!

Wednesday, Marvel Entertainment announced a partnership with live-show producer Feld Entertainment (Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Disney on Ice) to produce a live arena show with all your favorite characters from the Marvel universe. The program will launch in July 2014 with an 85-city North American tour and promises “character-based stories” and “state of the art special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial displays, and martial arts.”

In the press release announcing the news Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada said: “We are excited to collaborate with Feld Entertainment to bring millions of our Marvel fans around the world a new and authentic way to engage with their favorite characters and villains.” He added: “This new live action production will bring the greatest Marvel Super Heroes from the movie screen and pages of our comic books into a spectacular live tour.”

Follow @ldbahr

Read More:
‘Iron Man’ + Disney: What if…
Joss Whedon talks Hulk spinoff
ABC to look at ‘Star Wars’ live-action TV series

Feld Entertainment Inc., which produces the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, along with other live shows such as Disney on Ice, i

How much does Thor's hammer actually weigh? Scientist answers pressing question

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson set out to answer a truly perplexing scientific question Thursday on his Twitter feed: How much does Thor’s hammer weigh?

If Thor’s hammer is indeed made of a star, like the Marvel comic book says, it would weigh as much as 300 billion elephants. Assuming the average weight of an elephant, this equates to approximately 4.5 quadrillion pounds, according to a Slate report (we’ll trust their math).

Tyson even posted a photo of himself holding the hammer, to provide some proof of the accuracy of his report. He is one of pop culture’s favorite scientists, having hosted NOVA ScienceNow on PBS for five seasons and appearing frequently on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He has hosted three of Reddit’s top 10 Ask Me Anything Q&A’s. He’s also no stranger to comic books — Tyson was featured in an issue of Action Comics in 2012, where he helped determine the location of Superman’s home planet, Krypton.

This offbeat way of imagining just how heavy the legendary hammer Mjölnir is gives me a renewed sense of pride for my personal favorite Avenger. It explains why only Iron Man’s exoskeleton and The Hulk can put up a fight against the king from Asgard. Alien or no, the guy is super, super strong. Really, how many elephants can you lift?

Read more:
‘The Avengers': How ILM assembled the visual effects
‘Avengers’ cast, including Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson, to present at Oscars
S.H.I.E.L.D.’ pilot starts filming — PHOTOS

The Superhero Delusion: How Superhero Movies created the Sad Perfect Badass Messiah, and what that says about America

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Imagine a world where everyone is a superhero. Would you like to live there? Do you think it would be better than our own world? Or would it be worse? This is an important question, because judging by the most successful movies made in 2012, our country — and our world — really likes superheroes. We all know that the two highest-grossing films of 2012 were about superheroes – The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. The third major superhero movie released last summer was, The Amazing Spider-Man, which earned $262 million domestically. It was the sixth-highest-grossing movie of the year in American theaters. We tend to lump these movies together because they are all about costumed codenamed characters who originated in comic books. They are Superhero Movies. READ FULL STORY

EW's Entertainers of the Year: Joss Whedon on how 'The Avengers' exposed his angry inner Hulk

There are good years, and then there are great years, and then there are the kinds of years that Joss Whedon had in 2012. In May, Lionsgate released Cabin In The Woods, the long-delayed, widely acclaimed po-mo horror flick, co-written and produced by the cult pop auteur. (Drew Goddard co-wrote and directed the film.) In July, Whedon attended Comic-Con and celebrated the tenth anniversary of his gone-too-soon TV series Firefly at one of the most emotional panels the annual fan-fest has ever seen. In September, Whedon went to the Toronto International Film Festival and premiered Much Ado About Nothing, a micro-budget, literally homemade adaptation of the Shakespeare comedy. ”That was an incredible experience,” recalls Nathan Fillion, who stars in the film (set for release next summer). “The man got three standing ovations before he got on stage. That’s just indicative of the kind of fandom that Joss creates. I have never seen anything like it.” In October, The CW aired – for the first time on television – Whedon’s 2008 Emmy-winning online opus Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Shortly before Halloween, the man who created Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel and Dollhouse took to the Web to say a few words about the defining issue of the 2012 presidential campaign – a zombie apocalypse – via a very funny, very personal, very partisan video viewed by over 7 million people.

Oh, and there was Marvel’s The Avengers. Whedon wrote and directed that, too. Grossed $1.5 billion worldwide. Maybe you saw it.

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What pop culture we're thankful for this Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for Downton Abbey‘s imminent return to television in the States. Yes, Jan. 6 is still a few weeks away, but I can’t wait to see whether Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Mary (Michelle Dockery) actually walk down the aisle — they really need to, I couldn’t take another breakup — and what brand of American sass Shirley MacLaine brings with her across the pond. Plus, on a more sappy note, the series spawned a regular Sunday night Masterpiece viewing/wine-drinking party with a group of friends that is priceless to me.

I’ve also polled my EW colleagues to ask what they are most grateful for pop culture wise this turkey day. See what they said below!

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