Come 2011, Captain America -- the Marvel Entertainment (NYSE:MVL) icon killed on the comics page last year -- will be resurrected on the silver screen. What form he takes will be up to veteran director Joe Johnston.

Marvel this week hired Johnston to oversee the World War II-era origin story of the Star-Spangled Avenger, whose abilities derive from a scientific "super soldier" formula that transforms anemic but patriotic Steve Rogers into a peak physical specimen.

The risk with Cap as a character is that he'll appear woefully outdated to moviegoers, just as Iron Man could have. But Cap has it even worse. Armed with nothing more than his fists, feet, and an indestructible shield, he could look silly fighting against a modern army or a well-armed terrorist brigade.

Fortunately, Johnston has mostly overcome this issue before:


Domestic Gross



$67.3 million

$100 million

Jurassic Park III

$181.2 million

$93 million

October Sky

$32.5 million

$25 million


$100.5 million

$65 million

The Pagemaster

$13.7 million

Not avail.

The Rocketeer

$46.7 million

$35 million

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

$130.7 million

Not avail.

Source: Box Office Mojo.

The Rocketeer was a period action film based on an indie comic book. Jumanji was about a board game. Both flicks were modest box-office winners, enjoying devoted cult followings to this day. Marvel has created the same with Iron Man and, to a lesser degree, Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk.

Meanwhile, Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Buena Vista Pictures has worked with Johnston three times. General Electric's (NYSE:GE) Universal Studios enlisted him twice, while News Corp's (NYSE:NWS) Fox and Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Columbia pictures each tapped his skills once. Both of the "tentpole" summer flicks he's directed -- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Jurassic Park III -- have done well, and he's currently helming Universal's spooky, big-budget revival of The Wolf Man.

So, stand at attention, Fool. Captain America has returned, just in time for Veteran's Day, and he's poised to raise the red, white, and blue at box offices around the globe. Welcome back, Cap.

Face front, True Believer! Related Foolishness awaits:

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers salutes America's veterans today, including his dad. Tim had stock and options positions in Marvel at the time of publication. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy will be a hero to your portfolio.