Buoyed by the $574m global success of the sumer tentpole Iron Man, Paramount Pictures has signed a deal to handle worldwide distribution on the next five films from Marvel Studios.

The deal extends the original agreement between Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey and Marvel and covers territories previously served by local distributors in Japan, Germany, France, Spain and Australia/New Zealand. Having said that, Iron Man 2 will be distributed in Germany by Telemunchen pursuant to a previous agreement between the distributor and Marvel.

The next five films are: Iron Man 2 set to open in North America on May 7, 2010; Thor, which Kenneth Branagh is in talks to direct, on July 16, 2010; The First Avenger: Captain America on May 6, 2011; The Avengers on July 15, 2011; and Iron Man 3, which has not been set for release.

'Coming off of Iron Man's incredible success this summer, we could not be more excited about extending our relationship with Marvel,' Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said. 'Marvel's iconic brand, its popular characters and its proven ability to create compelling and visually spellbinding films complement Paramount's great history of film-making. We look forward to a long and successful run together.'

'Paramount is an excellent partner and an outstanding global distributor,' Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel, said. 'Through our experience on Iron Man, Paramount has demonstrated a passion and ability to release Marvel properties theatrically, allowing us to focus on making great movies for the largest audience possible.'

Iron Man will be released on DVD including the Blu-ray format in North America on September 30.