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Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Flaunt Blockbusters at San Diego Comic-Con

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Superhero movies are a force to be reckoned with at the box office.

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With Saturday's announcements at the San Diego Comic-Con about what's next for the Avengers and Superman, it looks like Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX) will keep raking in the cash.

Joss Whedon, the director of The Avengers, revealed that the second iteration in the series will be titled Avengers: Age of Ultron. Meanwhile, Zach Snyder confirmed that his follow-up to Man of Steel will feature Batman as well as Superman.

Age of Ultron, which features Marvel Comics characters, will come out of Disney's production house, while Warner Bros. is behind Snyder's DC Comics-based creation.

Superhero movies and sequels just seem to go together -- and luckily for the companies that produce them, they tend to do better than their predecessors.

The original Iron Man, which was released in 2008, for example, brought in over $585 million; 2010's Iron Man 2 brought in nearly $624 million; and this May, Iron Man 3 blew them both out of the water, grossing $1.2 billion. Meanwhile, based on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb reviews, the original Iron Man was the superior movie of the three to come out of Disney's wheelhouse.

Whedon's The Avengers made over $1.5 billion in gross revenue and broke North American records with its opening weekend generating $207 million. The bar is set high, but if Avengers: Age of Ultron, slated to release in the summer of 2015, can match or outperform the original, Disney will be looking at quite a payday.

(See also: Disney Will Rule the World in 2015.)

Some head scratching accompanied the announcement of Age of Ultron, however. Ultron, a sentient robot that takes over Earth and kills superheroes, is the creation of lesser known Marvel hero character, the scientist known as Hank Pym, or Ant-Man, yet Whedon claims that Pym will not be a part of the movie. Ultron is in need of a new origin story as a result; while this may deter hardcore comic fans, it shouldn't cause too many issues with the general public.

Speaking of Pym, Disney looks to have more in store for the superhero genre. On July 10, Vin Diesel posted a photo on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) following a meeting with Marvel. The not-so-subtle actor is presumed to have dropped a hint about his role as he stands in front of a poster that prominently features Giant-Man, another alter ego of the fictional Hank Pym.

Most recently, superhero movies have stuck to big-name heroes. This foray by Disney into more obscure Marvel characters is a somewhat unproven model. With Disney set to release Guardians of the Galaxy, another lesser-known Marvel storyline, on August 1, 2014, the box office impact of a superhero movie featuring a well-recognized protagonist will be put to the test. Star power from Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, and others certainly won't hurt Guardians' case.

Not to be outdone, Warner Bros. and DC's unnamed Superman and Batman film is slated to counter Age of Ultron come 2015. With two heavyweight heroes in one film, Warner Bros. could potentially steal the spotlight from Disney.

Man of Steel is still in theaters, but it has brought in over $635 million worldwide, and its opening weekend performance is second only to Iron Man 3 in 2013.

The Dark Knight Rises, directed by Christopher Nolan, brought in over $1 billion in gross revenue and Nolan is expected to be on hand as a producer for Snyder, though Christian Bale will not reprise his role as Batman.
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