Last year Disney bought Marvel for $4 billion and the studio intended to take control of the big properties once Paramount’s deal with Marvel was up. Paramount released Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and will distribute Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger next year.
Paramount were also expected to release The Avengers in 2012, however Disney has just purchased the distribution rights for $115 million and will therefore release both The Avengers and Iron Man 3, as well as all future movies.
According to Box Office Mojo Marvel/Disney has set a May 3rd 2013 release date for Iron Man 3, which means Robert Downey Jr. will be suiting up sometime in 2012. No word on whether director Jon Favreau will return, but it’s a likely possibility given the success of the previous films.
IM and IM2 were only released two years apart, but as we have The Avengers on the way we will have to wait until 2013 for the next Iron Man solo outing.