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.
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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).
Marvel Enterprises Inc. has acquired the business and certain assets of New York City-based Cover Concepts, a small company specializing in the distribution of free, sponsored materials to public schools across the U.S. Cover Concepts sells advertising space on those materials, which include book covers, bookmarks, locker posters, teaching guides, health & beauty samples, calendars, stickers, notepads, folders, coloring sheets, incentive programs and growth charts. Major advertising customers have included Gatorade, McDonalds and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In an effort to develop the international side of its business, Marvel Enterprises announced the creation of Marvel International and has appointed Bruno Maglione as president. He will be based in London and report to Allen Lipson, Marvel's ceo for all activities other than consumer products where Maglione will report to Tim Rothwell, Marvel's president of worldwide consumer products.
Artisan Entertainment has announced that upcoming release on August 27, 2004 of the feature film rendition of Marvel Comics MAN-THING. Produced by Marvel Studios and Fierce Entertainment in association with German equity fund Screenland Movieworld, the film just wrapped production after an eight-week shoot in Sydney, Australia. Effects pioneer Brett Leonard (THE LAWNMOWER MAN, T-REX BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS) directed the film. Hans Rodionoff (THE HOLLOW) adapted the comic for the screen.
Comic and licensing company Marvel Enterprises is mulling over entering the world of film production on their own, confirms a company representative. Since the overwhelming success of its characters like Spider-Man and Daredevil on the big screen, the company is contemplating middle budget theatrical or direct-to-video productions based on some of their lower-profile characters. The films would have a budget range of between $8 and $50 million.
Universal Studios licensing exec Tim Rothwell is headed over to Marvel Enterprises to be president of its worldwide consumer products group. Rothwell will be overseeing Marvels core licensing and merchandising division, the companys principal source of profit and cash flow. His immediate directives from Marvel ceo Allen Lipson are to develop Marvels international licensing business and strengthen retailer relationships, which Marvel sees as underdeveloped areas with huge growth potential for the company.
On Friday, June 27, 2003, Marvel Enterprises filed yet another lawsuit worth $10M against SPIDER-MAN partner Sony, this time specifically Sony Electronics, reported VARIETY. Marvel claims in the suit, filed in L.A. Superior Court, that Sony Electronics refused to license the Spider-Man character for its electronic products like radios and portable CD players and has advised sister company Sony Pictures to do the same with competitors.
On the heels of the HULK movie release, Marvel Enterprises Inc. and X3D Technical Corp. have united in a strategic licensing agreement that grants X3D exclusive three-dimensional publishing rights to past and future Marvel comic books in CD-ROM formats Marvel ComX3D. For the first time, the agreement expands Marvel Comics' publication portfolio to be viewed in 3D on virtually any PC screen.
New Marvel Comics-derived project THE HANDS OF SHANG CHI has been set at DreamWorks according to VARIETY. DreamWorks' spokesperson confirms that BAND OF BROTHERS writer Bruce McKenna is doing the script to be directed by Woo-ping Yuen, renowned for his choreography on THE MATRIX and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON films. Set in China, the movie is about a young kung fu mast master who learns his father is the worst criminal in the world and does not want to follow in his footsteps, which makers are calling THE GODFATHER in reverse.
Marvel Enterprises sued Sony Pictures Entertainment on February 25, 2003, in Los Angeles Superior Court over a licensing agreement regarding the SPIDER-MAN theatrical release. The suit was filed through Marvel's subsidiary Marvel Characters, Inc., against SPE and SPE Spider-Man GP Inc. Sony does not comment on pending litigation. Marvel said in a statement, "The complaint is not an attempt to stop production of the SPIDER-MAN sequel slated for May 2004 nor is it an attempt to change or upset any of the merchandising/licensing deals that are in place for the sequel.
Marvel is reviving two classic comic book series, giving each a modern twist. CNN.com has reported that Marvel Comics' upcoming revival of the comic series THE RAWHIDE KID will feature the title character as an openly gay gunslinger. This move marks Marvel's first gay title character in a comic book. THE RAWHIDE KID first debuted in 1955 at the height of Western comic book mania. Although it did not perform well its first time out, the title was revived by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the '60s and ran for more than 150 issues, ending in 1979.
First Universal teamed with Marvel to bring THE HULK to life for moviegoers in summer 2003. Now Marvel Studios has entered into an agreement with Universal Pictures to bring two more super heroes to the big screen: Sub-Mariner and Prime. First up is SUB-MARINER, currently in development. The film will follow the adventures of the troubled Prince Namor, a half-man/half-amphibian creature from Atlantis. David Self, best known for his adaptation of the graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION for DreamWorks, will write the screenplay.
Comic book publisher Marvel Enterprises, Inc. reported a 96% increase in third quarter net sales benefiting from a growing list of entertainment, publishing, toy and consumer products including summer blockbuster SPIDER-MAN. Results for the quarter ending September 30, 2002, reflected approximately $4 million in revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) related to SPIDER-MAN which had been anticipated to be received in Q4 2002.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS has reported that SPIDER-MAN creator Stan Lee has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment, seeking 10% of the profits from the blockbuster franchise SPIDER-MAN. Lee, who has created a myriad of super hero characters for Marvel, including SPIDER-MAN, claims Marvel Entertainment signed a deal to give him 10% of any profits from his characters used in films and television shows. Although SPIDER-MAN has grossed over $800 million worldwide, Lee says he hasn't seen any money from his character's newfound global success.
Danny Fingeroth reviews Dan Raviv's book on the legal wrangling between two businessmen for control of Marvel Comics, which reveals the power of dollars and its impact on the art.
The comic book industry and especially Marvel Comics have been tied to New York City since practically their inception. Gerard Raiti reports on how Marvel responded to the attacks of September 11th.
Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, The X-Men and 4,700 other characters from the Marvel universe are part of a 10-year worldwide licensing agreement between Vivendi Universal Publishing (VU Publishing) and Marvel Enterprises, Inc. The arrangement grants VU Publishing's games division (VU Games) the right to develop and publish online massively multi-player (OLMMP) games based on Marvel's superheroes. The first OLMMP title under the new agreement is targeted for release in 2005.
Marvel exec Allen S. Lipson, Esq., will take over as CEO of Marvel Enterprises effective January 1, 2003, upon the retirement of Peter Cuneo, current president & CEO. Following his retirement, Cuneo will continue to serve as a Marvel board member and advisor. Lipson has been Marvel's executive vice president business & legal affairs since November 1999, where he played an integral role in structuring and negotiating the company's strategic entertainment and licensing relationships.
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.
Marvel Enterprises, Inc. has appointed Kenneth P. West, 44, as executive vice president and chief financial officer. In his new capacity, West will be responsible for managing all financial and treasury functions, bank relationships and conducting internal and industry analysis to support the company's goals for growth. He will also play an important role in Marvel's expanded investor relations initiatives and developing strategies to enhance the company's capital structure.