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Superheroes Boost Marvel Enterprises Revenue

It probably comes as no surprise that the incredible success of Columbia Pictures/Marvel Studios feature film release SPIDER-MAN ($800 million worldwide) has led the company into strong second quarter revenues. Revenue in this quarter rose to $71 million from $45.9 million a year ago. For its quarter ended June 30, Marvel reported a net profit of $4.2 million after provisions for preferred dividends, or 10 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $11.4 million, or 33 cents a share, a year before. Excluding the preferred provisions, it had a profit of $8.3 million compared with a loss of $7.4 million a year earlier. According to Marvel, its success has also boosted the comic book market as a whole, which has grown at the retail level by 10.4 percent or $18.8 million for the last 12 months ending in June 2002. Marvel's comic book revenues increased by 27 percent in the first quarter of 2002 versus the same period in 2001 and by approximately 36 percent for the second quarter of 2002 versus the second quarter of 2001. Much of Marvel's publishing success can be attributed to the global exposure gained by major theatrical releases based on the company's characters. In addition to SPIDER-MAN, Marvel characters will be featured in the upcoming films DAREDEVIL (February 2003), X-MEN II (May 2003), THE HULK (June 2003) and THE PUNISHER (2004). "The Spider-Man movie was an absolute phenomenon and the impact that its success will have on the company isn't yet fully realized," said Marvel chief operating officer, Bill Jemas. "In the months leading up to its release, Marvel witnessed substantial growth in comic sales. For example, subscriptions for ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN jumped from 4,000 to 10,000 a month immediately after it hit the big screen. With the full slate of Marvel movies hitting Hollywood in 2003, including DAREDEVIL, X-MEN 2 and THE HULK, we certainly expect to carry this momentum into the foreseeable future."

In the midst of SPIDER-MAN mania, Danny Fingeroth caught up with two of the most popular producers in showbiz Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad to talk about box office success, becoming a geek, creative changes and the new animated television show.