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Captain America: The First Avenger is a 2011 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the fifth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Joe Johnston, written by the writing team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America, alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, and Stanley Tucci. Set predominantly during World War II, Captain America: The First Avenger tells the story of Steve Rogers, a sickly man from Brooklyn who is transformed into super-soldier Captain America and must stop the Red Skull, who intends to use an artifact called the "Tesseract" as an energy-source for world domination.
Captain America: The First Avenger began as a concept in 1997 and was scheduled for distribution by Artisan Entertainment. However, a lawsuit, not settled until September 2003, disrupted the project. In 2005, Marvel Studios received a loan from Merrill Lynch, and planned to finance and release it through Paramount Pictures. Directors Jon Favreau and Louis Leterrier were interested in directing the project before Johnston was approached in 2008. The principal characters were cast between March and June 2010. Production of Captain America: The First Avenger began in June 2010, and filming took place in London, Manchester, Caerwent, and Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and Los Angeles in the United States. The film was converted to 3D in post-production.
Captain America: The First Avenger premiered in Hollywood on July 19, 2011, and was released in the United States on July 22, 2011. The film was commercially successful, grossing over $370 million worldwide. Critics particularly praised Evans' performance, the film's depiction of its 1940s time period and Johnston's direction, though some felt that the film only served to set up the forthcoming Avengers film. A sequel titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier was released on April 4, 2014, and a third film titled Captain America: Civil War was released on May 6, 2016.