The production budget has increased, and better-known faces have made it into the follow-up to 2008's Iron Man. And with Iron Man 2 being one of the most talked about productions of the year so far, Emirates Business predicts big things for the sequel, which is out in the UAE this Thursday.
In IM2, Robert Downey Jr reprises his role as billionaire inventor Tony Stark, who – after revealing his identity at the end of the first instalment – is under pressure from the government to share his technology with the military. Stark, however, is unwilling to divulge the secrets behind the Iron Man armour, fearing the info will slip into the wrong hands.
With Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) at his side, Tony forges new alliances and confronts powerful new forces.
Among the big names making their debut in the second part of the Iron Man franchise are Scarlett Johansson as Natalia Romanova (AKA Black Widow), as well as the late DJ?AM, who reportedly died of a drug overdoes aged 36.
Iron Man cost $140 million (Dh513.8m), and ended up making $585.1m at the global box-office. Iron Man 2's production budget is $200m.
While there is no question it will do well at theatres, it remains to be seen whether the film can do A Dark Knight, and end up becoming one of the most successful sequels in film history.
Mind you, it has got some tough competition. Here are the top ten grossing sequels of all time. Two films from the same franchise have been omitted from the list.
10. The Matrix Reloaded – $742.1m
Kicking off the top ten is arguably the weakest instalment of the Matrix trilogy. Being the top-grossing film has probably to do with the fact that fans wanted to know what the outcome of The Matrix was, only to find out that they had to wait for a third movie in order to understand what happens.
In this sequel, freedom fighters Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) continue their quest to save the human race from extinction, gaining a greater insight into the construct of The Matrix and Neo's pivotal role in the fate of mankind.
9. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – $786.6m
Harrison Ford returned to his famous character in 2008 – 19 years after he starred as Indiana Jones in 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Fans were eager to know what would become of Indy, and whether Henry "Mutt Williams" Jones III (Shia LaBeouf) would be handed over the famous hat.
8. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – $836.3m
It was the film that finally convinced us that Megan Fox really cannot act, and discovered that director Michael Bay has no idea about Middle Eastern geography.
Here, Decepticon forces return to Earth on a mission to take Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) prisoner, after the young hero learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers.
Joining the mission to protect humankind is Optimus Prime, who forms an alliance with international armies for a second epic battle. Cue a hilarious 10-minute car chase that takes them from the pyramids of Giza to Wadi Rum to Luxor to Petra. Film fail!
7. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – $884.8m
There's just something about Ice Age that both children and adults love, and the third instalment, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, has been the most successful so far.
Here, Manny (voiced by Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) await the birth of their mini-mammoth, Sid (John Leguizamo) the sloth gets into trouble when he creates his own makeshift family by hijacking some dinosaur eggs; and Diego (Denis Leary) the sabre-toothed tiger wonders if he's growing too "soft" hanging with his pals.
6. Spider-Man 3 – $890.9m
The 2007 superhero action thriller written and directed by Sam Raimi is number six on the list – despite Spider-Man 2 being the better film.
In Spidey 3, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) has finally managed to strike a balance between his devotion to MJ (Kirsten Dunst) and his duties as a superhero.
But there is a storm brewing on the horizon. As Spider-Man basks in the public's adulation for his accomplishments and he is pursued by Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), who rivals MJ for his affections, Peter becomes overconfident and starts to neglect the people who care about him most.
5. Shrek 2 – $919.8m
Shrek 2 is brilliant and we're pretty big fans.
The 2004 animation introduced us to Puss In Boots, and the pop culture reference jokes had us laughing all the way throughout.
The fourth instalment, Shrek Forever After, is due out at the end of May.
4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – $938.2m
It's not surprising dear old Harry Potter is in the list. Everything Daniel Radcliffe does as the child wizard turns to box-office gold.
Potter is faced with the unreliability of the very government of the magical world and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts.
Despite this, he finds depth and strength in his friends, beyond what even he knew.
3. The Dark Knight – $1bn
This was always going to be a hit as it was the last film completed with the late Heath Ledger before his untimely death in January 2008. However, his posthumous Oscar-winning performance as the Joker proved that the cinema ticket was money well-spent.
There will probably never be a Batman film that matches The Dark Knight's success.
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest – $1.07bn
The only movie franchise ever based on a Disneyland theme park ride, Johnny Depp plays Captain Jack Sparrow, and in part two, he discovers he owes a blood debt to the legendary Davey Jones, Captain of the ghostly Flying Dutchman.
With time running out, he must find a way out of his debt or else be doomed to eternal damnation and servitude in the afterlife.
Making matters worse, Sparrow's problems interfere with the wedding plans of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley).
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – $1.12bn
The only movie to have won all 11 Academy Award categories nominated in is considered to be one of the greatest films in cinematic history.
Directed by Peter Jackson, and based on the second and third volumes of JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, it is the concluding film in the trilogy, following 2001's The Fellowship of the Ring and 2002's The Two Towers. The franchise has raked in $3bn worldwide.