Iron Man is a 2008 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures,[N 1] it is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by Jon Favreau from a screenplay by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, and Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, and stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, alongside Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub, and Gwyneth Paltrow. In Iron Man, Tony Stark is an industrialist and master engineer who builds a mechanized suit of armor and becomes the superhero Iron Man.
The film had been in development since 1990 at Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and New Line Cinema at various times, before Marvel Studios reacquired the rights in 2006. Marvel put the project in production as its first self-financed film, with Paramount Pictures serving as distributor. Favreau signed on as director, aiming for a naturalistic feel, and chose to shoot the film primarily in California, rejecting the East Coast setting of the comics to differentiate the film from numerous superhero films set in New York City-esque environments. Filming began in March 2007 and concluded in June. During filming, the actors were free to create their own dialogue because pre-production was focused on the story and action. Rubber and metal versions of the armor, created by Stan Winston‘s company, were mixed with computer-generated imagery to create the title character.
Iron Man premiered in Sydney on April 14, 2008, and was released in the United States on May 2, 2008. The film grossed over $585 million on its $140 million budget, becoming the eighth-highest grossing film of 2008. It received praise from critics for its acting (particularly Downey’s), screenplay, direction, visual effects, and action sequences. It was selected by the American Film Institute as one of the ten best films of 2008 and received two nominations at the 81st Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects. It was followed by the sequels Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3 in 2010 and 2013, respectively.