Marvel Enterprises Inc. announced the completion of a $525 million non-recourse debt facility, which will finance Marvel's production of up to 10 films based on characters from its stable of comicbook characters, including Captain America, Nick Fury and The Avengers. Paramount will distribute the film slate, with the first theatrical release expected for summer 2008. This arrangement gives Marvel complete creative control, the ability to build a film library and greater profit potential than it has received from films licensed to other studios.
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Konami Digital Ent. Inc. announced a multi-year agreement with Marvel Enterprises Inc. and Upper Deck Ent. that gives Konami exclusive worldwide interactive rights to develop games for current and next-generation videogame systems based on Upper Decks best-selling Marvel Trading Card Game. This is the latest addition to Konamis collection of interactive trading card based properties, which also includes the tremendously successful YU-GI-OH! series.
Activision Inc. has extended its license with Marvel Enterprises to expand their long-term, broad-based strategic alliance through an additional license agreement for a non-persistent role-playing game (RPG).
Coinciding with the release of the FANTASTIC FOUR live-action feature, the complete FANTASTIC FOUR animated series recently arrived on DVD in a four-disc set (Buena Vista Home Ent., $49.99). The 30-minute series aired from September 1994 to February 1996 as part of the MARVEL ACTION HOUR along with IRON MAN. Produced by Genesis Ent., Marvel Prods., New World Ent. and TMS Ent., 15 of the 26 episodes were direct remakes of episodes of the 1960s Hanna-Barbera FANTASTIC FOUR series.
Marvel Enterprises Inc. and Paramount Pictures announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Paramount will distribute a slate of feature films to be produced by Marvel, which include titles such as CAPTAIN AMERICA and NICK FURY. Marvel also announced a new, non-recourse financing facility to be provided by Merrill Lynch Commercial Finance Corp. that will allow the company to produce its own slate of feature films based on its renowned comic book characters.
Moonscoop has signed a far-reaching deal with Cartoon Network at MIP-TV 2005. The broadcaster is to co-produce Moonscoops action comedy series FANTASTIC FOUR based on the classic Marvel characters and has acquired the worldwide broadcast rights outside the U.S. French commercial broadcaster M6 has also picked up the show which is currently in production.
Marvel Enterprises Inc. has entered into major licensing agreements with four of the world's leading publishing houses: DK Publishing, Harper Collins, Meredith Books and Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books as part of a strategy to increase the presence of its leading character franchises in various mass market book publishing formats.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Stan Lee is entitled to 10% of the profits Marvel has received since Nov. 1998 from studios for the right to produce and distribute motion pictures and television productions based on Marvel's characters, and from movie-based toys manufactured and sold by Marvel itself.
Marvel Comics has brought Mark Paniccia on board as a senior editor to significantly bolster the publishers presence and success in the hot teen graphic novel category. He will also recruit a new generation of comicbook writers and artists.
New Line Cinema and Marvel Studios have signed Nick Cassavetes (THE NOTEBOOK, JOHN Q) to direct the highly-anticipated big screen adaptation of IRON MAN. The film is scheduled to be a 2006 tentpole release. The project, which is being produced by Marvel Studios' ceo Avi Arad and Angry Films' Don Murphy, is based on a script by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and David Hayter. The studios will begin casting immediately.
Three months after suing The Walt Disney Co. in a dispute over royalties, Marvel Enterprises Inc. wants to take the copyrights to Marvel superheroes away from the Mouse House, reports REUTERS. In a suit filed on Oct. 29, 2004 in Los Angeles federal court, Marvel requests a judge to declare that Disney never legally assumed copyrights to Marvel characters when it bought the original licensee, Fox Family Worldwide, in 2001.
Isaac Perlmutter, 61, has been promoted from vice chairman to ceo of Marvel Enterprises, effective Jan. 1, 2005. He will replace president/ceo Allen S. Lipson, 61, who has decided to retire after more than five years with the company.
Perlmutter has been actively involved in the management of Marvel since acquiring its predecessor in 1990. He has served as a director since 1993, served as chairman of the board from 1993 to 1995, and was named vice chairman of the board in 2001. All Marvel division heads will report directly to Perlmutter.
Marvel Enterprises Inc. has entered into an agreement with acclaimed France-based animation leader Antefilms Prods. to produce an animated television series based on Marvel's THE FANTASTIC FOUR. Under the terms of the agreement, Antefilms will commence production immediately on 26 30-minute 2D/3D animated episodes. The initial episodes are expected to be completed for worldwide distribution in late-2006.
Marvel Enterprises has announced that Alan Fine, president/ceo of Marvel's Toy Biz division, will take on the additional role of president/ceo of Marvel Publishing. Fine is replacing Gui Karyo, who left his post as Marvel Publishings president/cio to pursue new business opportunities.
Paramount and Marvel Studios have hired David Self (ROAD TO PERDITION) to rewrite the screen adaptation of Marvel Comics DEATHLOK, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner (ELEKTRA) wrote the first draft. The story follows everyman who becomes a test subject for a technology research lab that transforms him into a living computer. Marvel Studios' Avi Arad and Crystal Sky Prods. Steven Paul are producing. No director has been seen. DIE ANOTHER DAY helmer Lee Tamahori had long been attached to direct, but has since stepped down.
Marvel Enterprises has tapped former Saban exec Eric Rollman to head up its new direct-to-DVD venture with Lions Gate. As svp of home entertainment and TV production at Marvel Studios, he will oversee the development and production of animated DVD features. Set for a 2006 release, THE AVENGERS will be first title. In his new role, Rollman will oversee all aspects of this major commitment to original home entertainment programming, including development and production.
Marvel Enterprises, Inc. has announced that it is consolidating important sub-categories of its toy licensing business with industry leader Russ Berrie and Co. for the plush and gift categories in the specialty markets. This new arrangement furthers Marvel's category management strategy, whereby Marvel seeks to enhance the potential market for its licensed products by selecting top-caliber partners who can expand the marketing and promotional support for Marvel-licensed product lines.
Marvel Enterprises and Lions Gates Family Home Entertainment, a division of Lions Gate Entertainment, will release an animated made-for-DVD version of THE AVENGERS. In this first installment of a multi-picture home video deal, the animated feature will cast some of Marvels most popular superheroes, including Captain America, The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Giant Man and Wasp.
Marvel Enterprises has sued the Walt Disney Co. and ABC Family (formerly Fox Family) for at least $16 million, which it claims it is owed on the cartoons it licensed to Fox Family, which Disney acquired in 2001, reports VARIETY. As part of the suit filed July 15, 2004 in L.A. Superior Court, Marvel argues that Disney improperly accounted for profits on animated series THE INCREDIBLE HULK, X-MEN AND SPIDER-MAN and failed to promote the shows. In the complaint, Disney claims the toons lose money, but will not provide proper accounting.
The litigation that disrupted the relationship between Marvel Enterprises and Sony Pictures is now over. Both companies announced they have "amicably resolved their pending court disputes." In 2003, Marvel sued SPIDER-MAN partner for $50 million, claiming the film studio was trying to label SPIDER-MAN a Sony property and leaving Marvel alienated from merchandising its own character. As part of the agreement, details were not released.
Marvel Enterprises Inc. and Lions Gate Ent. have entered into an agreement to develop, produce and distribute original animated DVD features based on characters from the Marvel catalog. Under the terms of the arrangement, Marvel and Lions Gate plan to start production immediately on eight original animated projects in either 2D or 3D, with the first title expected to be released by Lions Gate in late 2005.
Marvel Enterprises Inc. has released its financial results for its fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2003, in addition to a three-for-two stock split in the form of a stock dividend of one additional share of the company's common stock for every two shares held. The additional shares will be distributed on March 26, 2004 to stockholders of record on March 12, 2004.
Lions Gate Ent. has been granted film rights to develop, produce and distribute theatrical films based upon Marvel properties -- IRON FIST and BLACK WIDOW. Marvel and Lions Gate will share equally in certain revenues derived from the properties, with Lions Gate funding development, production and distribution and Marvel handling all merchandising in connection with the films. The companies have also announced their plans to begin developing THE PUNISHER II.
Marvel is getting more aggressive in the videogame business, appointing Ames Kirshen to the new position of manager of game development. Kirshen, with more than six years of experience in the production and management of videogame projects, will lead a small group to oversee the development of all licensed videogames based on Marvel characters, including the creative content, along with other members of Marvel's Publishing division.
Marvel Enterprises Inc. has hired David Maisel as president and coo of Marvel Studios. He will work on expanding Marvel's success into new entertainment arenas as well as maximizing the commercial success of Marvel Studios' future feature film releases. Four feature films based on Marvel characters will be released in 2004: THE PUNISHER (Lions Gate, April 16), SPIDER-MAN 2 (Columbia, July 2), BLADE: TRINITY (New Line, Aug. 13) and MAN-THING (Artisan, October).