Warner Bros Extends Pact With Mattel As DC Comics Licensee

BURBANK, Calif. — Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), with DC Entertainment, announced today that it has extended its successful relationship with leading worldwide toy manufacturer, Mattel, Inc. The new multi-year agreement allows Mattel to continue as master toy licensee for the complete universe of DC Comics characters. Under the terms of this strategic alliance, Mattel is granted unprecedented access to the complete breadth and scope of the DC Comics vault of characters, which includes more than a thousand world-famous DC Comics Super Heroes and DC Comics Super Villains, such as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and The Joker. Further, the agreement includes popular characters such as The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam!, Green Arrow and Hawkman.

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Warner Bros Wins Round In ‘Superman’ Suit Against Copyright Lawyer

By | Wednesday October 26, 2011 @ 8:28pm PDT

Warner Bros/DC Comics Sues Superman Copyright Lawyer
WB Vendetta Against Superman Copyright Lawyer Relying On Stolen Files
Letter From Lois Lane To Time Warner Boss

Ruling on behalf of Warner Bros., a federal judge on Tuesday rejected copyright lawyer Marc Toberoff’s claims that his actions as lawyer for heirs of the co-creators of Superman were protected against legal interference. In so doing the judge allowed Warner Bros.’ lawsuit against Toberoff to move forward. The judge also granted Warner Bros access to a July 2003 letter from Laura Siegel to her  late brother Michael. Warner Bros. outside counsel Daniel Petrocelli is seeking to undo Toberoff’s relationship with the heirs of Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster by accusing the attorney of interfering as a competing business owner in agreements the studio and DC had made with the heirs.

Petrocelli was hired to come up with a strategy to prevent the studio from possibly losing a portion of the copyright to Superman in 2013 as a court has previously ruled. Petrocelli filed the current lawsuit last May to put Toberoff in a position where he might have to resign as the attorney for the Siegels and Shusters. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Otis Wright found that the studio’s argument “makes sense.” He ruled that because Toberoff had established business arrangements through his own company Pacific Pictures with heirs of Siegel and Shuster, he was not protected under California’s anti-SLAAP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute that protects rights owners against legal intimidation. Wright rejected Toberoff’s anti-SLAPP argument, ruling that he was acting in his capacity as a businessman, not a lawyer, through Pacific Pictures — specifically concerning exploitation of Joe Shuster’s creations.

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Fox Developing ‘The Spectre’ Drama Series Based On The DC Comic Book Character

By | Wednesday September 14, 2011 @ 8:35am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Fox has bought The Spectre, a drama series project based on the DC Comics superhero character co-created by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily. Brandon Camp (John Doe) … Read More »

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‘Supernatural’ Creator Developing Series Adaptation Of Comic ‘Deadman’ For CW

By | Thursday August 25, 2011 @ 6:31pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: With Smallville ending its 10-season run this past May, the CW has made launching a new superhero franchise based on a DC property a priority. The network’s first effort this development season is Deadman, a drama based … Read More »

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UPDATE: Jeff Bewkes Admits ‘Green Lantern’ Not As Bright As Expected As Time Warner Beats 2Q Estimates

UPDATE, 9:30 AM: CEO Jeff Bewkes tried to stick to his optimistic story for Time Warner, but analysts forced him to play defense as well in this morning’s quarterly earnings call. In response to a question, Bewkes acknowledged that Green Lantern “did not live up to expectations” — although he wouldn’t say whether Warner Bros has ruled out a sequel. Despite the film’s disappointing performance, the CEO says that he’s “not concerned” about the studio’s effort to capitalize on DC Comics superheroes: “DC will be a major contributor,” with new films on tap featuring Batman and Superman.

Bewkes also said that TNT and TBS’ ratings suffered because “we had some bad programming choices in series we acquired over the last few years.” The problem may have been exacerbated by the fact that some of the shows were also available on digital platforms. As streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu become more popular, “hit shows win, and mediocre stuff loses.” Turner hopes to fix the problem by adding reruns of popular series including The Mentalist and Hawaii Five-0. One hit “can have a significant impact,” Bewkes says. He urged analysts to keep an eye on Time Warner’s upcoming initiatives involving Flixster, the movie site it recently bought, and the entertainment industry’s UltraViolet program that enables consumers who buy a home video to access it on almost any kind of device. Beginning with Warners’ Green Lantern the “vast majority” of its releases will work with UltraViolet, Bewkes says. He adds that a beta version of Flixster that will be “deeply integrated” with UltraViolet will be released this week. Beginning this fall, consumers also will be able to bring DVDs they already own to retailers who will be able to make them available from the broadband cloud. All in all, investors seemed unimpressed with today’s news even though the financial numbers beat analyst estimates: Time Warner shares are down about 2.2% in mid-day trading.

PREVIOUS, 4:42 AM: The entertainment giant ended 2Q with net income of $638M, up 13.5% vs the period last year, on revenues of $7B, up 10.2%. Earnings at 60 cents a share handily beat the Street’s forecast of 56 cents. Analysts also anticipated revenues of $6.8B. Read More »

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Why Is DC/WB Vendetta Against Superman Copyright Lawyer Relying On Stolen Files?

Letter From Lois Lane To Time Warner Boss
Warner Bros/DC Comics Sues ‘Superman’ Copyright Lawyer

UPDATE: There’s been another development in the Superman copyright litigation case. Actually, this is a carnival sideshow to that case and a disgusting exercise by DC Comics and its big Hollywood studio Warner Bros to continue to trample the rights of the Superman rights-holders, the estates of co-creators Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster.  When DC and WB couldn’t weasel out of paying the families of Siegel and Shuster what is rightfully owed and reverting copyright back to them, they decided to go after their archnemesis, Superman copyright lawyer Marc Toberoff, who’s been a longtime thorn in Warner Bros’ side because he represents showbiz rights-holders and wins their cases against the studio. The result was that, a year ago, Warner Bros and DC Comics decided to sue Toberoff alleging he had a role as a financial participant in the Superman rights fight with the studio and therefore a conflict of interest repping his clients. Today, a U.S. District Court judge denied an appeal of a magistrate’s ruling which held that “the defendants waived privilege on numerous attorney-client communications stolen from their counsel’s law firm by producing such documents to the United States Attorney’s Office investigating the theft pursuant to a Grand Jury subpoena and a confidentiality agreement.” Forget all the legal mumbo-jumbo, let’s examine what’s really at work here. And it’s that DC Comics and Warner Bros are basing their entire case against Toberoff on stolen documents from his office. That’s right: stolen documents. In my view the Time Warner subsidiaries should be ashamed of themselves. Read More »

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DC Comics Taking Superhero Titles Digital

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 2:23pm PDT

DC Comics will release Justice League Issue 1 digitally on Aug. 31, kick-starting an initiative in which the company will renumber its entire line of superhero comics from No. 1 and launch them day-and-date with their print debuts. Justice League marks the first collaboration between DC Entertainment chief creative officer … Read More »

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Gregory Noveck To Get Top Syfy Films Job

By | Monday May 9, 2011 @ 1:56pm PDT
Mike Fleming

2ND UPDATE: Universal Pictures co-chairman Donna Langley felt that Gregory Noveck was a self-starter who’ll be able to get Syfy Films up and running quick enough to have a couple of films ready for release in 2012. Now, the studio isn’t looking for the division to make feature … Read More »

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Letter From Lois Lane To Time Warner Boss

By | Sunday March 27, 2011 @ 10:35pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Today Lois Lane was cast for Warner Bros’ Superman movie reboot. So it’s fitting to note that, on February 12th, the widow of Superman co-creator Jerome Siegel died of heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital at age 93. While much has been made of the fact that she was the model for Lois Lane, Joanne Siegel also was a driving force along with the estate of Joe Shuster to recapture the entire original copyright to Superman. The Siegel heirs have already been awarded half the copyright for Superman. And in 2013 the Shuster heirs get the remaining half. After that, neither DC Comics nor Warner Bros will be able to use Superman without a financial agreement with the Siegels and Shusters. There are also stipulations on what parts of the origins story can be used in future Superman movies and which require re-negotiations with the creators’ heirs or estates. But Warner Bros keeps fighting the Siegel and Shuster heirs and last May seized on a new hardball strategy: to force their attorney Marc Toberoff to resign by filing a lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles raising questions about his alleged role as a financial participant in the Superman copyright. Before her death, Joanne Siegel was preparing the following letter obtained by Deadline:

December 10, 2010

Jeffrey L. Bewkes
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Time Warner Inc.

Dear Jeff,

I am Joanne Siegel widow of Jerry Siegel, creator of Superboy and co-creator of Superman with Joe Shuster. It has always been my policy to be in touch with the Chairmen of the Board of your company going back to when Steve Ross formed Warner Communications.

Steve Ross knew how to take care of large vexing problems. He paid the price, whatever it was, then went on, and the company prospered. He was gracious and friendly when my late husband Jerry and I met him at a stockholders meeting after he sent Jerry, Joe, my daughter Laura and me company stock. He also phoned me to say if we needed anything I should just pick up the phone and call him. He said if he could not be reached for some reason, one of the top officers in the company, Deane Johnson, would handle things personally. Laura and I believe if Steve were alive our copyright ownership matter would have been successfully resolved long ago.

Jerry Levin was also reachable and thoughtful. He sent my husband and later me, cases of grapefruit at the holiday season. He remembered Jerry’s birthday with a Superman sculpture. When my Jerry passed away, Jerry Levin told Laura and me that we are part of the Time Warner family, part of its history. Unfortunately he retired before our rights issues were resolved. He had given his attorneys too much power so that negotiations were unsatisfactory and a settlement was impossible. Dick Parsons, on the other hand, was not friendly and, under him, the attorneys hired by the company were arrogant and pro-litigation.

Now you are Chairman and CEO. Because we are in litigation I held off writing to you. I now believe had we had contact early on, things might not have gone so far off track.

My daughter Laura and I, as well as the Shuster estate, have done nothing more than exercise our rights under the Copyright Act. Yet, your company has chosen to sue us and our long-time attorney for protecting our rights.

On December 1st I turned 93. I am old enough to be your mother. I have grown grandchildren. Unfortunately I am not in the best of health. My cardiologist provided a letter to your attorneys informing them that I suffer from a serious heart condition and that forcing me to go through yet another stressful deposition could put me in danger of a heart attack or stroke. I am also on medications that have side effects which force me to stay close to home and restrooms. Nonetheless your attorneys are forcing me to endure a second deposition even though I have already undergone a deposition for a full day in this matter. As clearly they would be covering the same ground, their intention is to harass me.

My dear daughter Laura too has painful medical conditions including multiple sclerosis, arthritis, glaucoma, spine disorders, and fibromyalgia. She has already had her deposition taken twice by your attorneys while in pain. Her doctors have given written statements saying she should not be subjected to a third deposition, yet your attorneys are insisting on re-taking her deposition in an effort to harass her as well.

So I ask you to please consider – do these mean spirited tactics meet with your approval? Do you really think the families of Superman’s creators should be treated this way?

As you know, DC and Warner Bros. have profited enormously from 72 years of exploiting Jerry and Joe’s wonderful creation. Superman is now a billion dollar franchise and has been DC’s flagship property for all this time.

As for this letter, the purpose is three-fold:

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DC Comics Drops Prices To $2.99 For 2011

By | Thursday October 7, 2010 @ 12:54pm PDT

New York, October 7, 2010 – Beginning January 2011, DC Comics will implement a line-wide pricing adjustment, lowering the prices of all standard length 32-page ongoing comic book titles currently priced at $3.99 to $2.99, it was announced

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DC Entertainment Relocates Film, Television And Digital Operations To Burbank

Nellie Andreeva

As part of Warner Bros. Entertainment’s efforts to better integrate the DC Comics business, DC Entertainment will relocate its multi-media and digital content production operations to Warner Bros.’ lot in Burbank, California. That includes all businesses related to the … Read More »

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Gregory Noveck Leaving DC Entertainment

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that an internal memo just went out at DC Entertainment announcing that Gregory Noveck will be transitioning out of his job over the next three months. He’ll be resuming his producing career. Noveck spent the past 6 years with DC … Read More »

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Fox’s ‘Human Target’ Taps Female Lead

Nellie Andreeva

indira-varmaI hear Fox’s action drama Human Target is adding a female lead for Season 2 and has cast British actress Indira Varma for it. The series, based on the DC Comic about unorthodox bodyguard Christopher Chance (Mark Valley), stood out in its first season with an all-male regular cast of 3, Valley, Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley, probably the smallest core cast I’ve seen on a drama series in a long time. Now the show is adding a fourth regular, Varma. Read More »

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Working Title Plants Flag in Kurt Busiek’s Graphic Novel ‘Astro City’

Mike Fleming

AstroCity01EXCLUSIVE: Working Title Films partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner have made a deal to turn Kurt Busiek’s graphic novel series Astro City into a live action feature. The deal gives the prolific comic book writer Busiek his first chance to … Read More »

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Rebooted Wonder Woman #600 Sells Out

Wonder Woman New By Don KramerEXCLUSIVE: Don Kramer’s Wonder Woman
DC Comics Has Ruined Wonder Woman!

EXCLUSIVE: DC Comics is already doing a … Read More »

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EXCLUSIVE: Don Kramer’s Wonder Woman

DC Comics has just given me exclusively this graphic art by Don Kramer, the new artist for the “updated” Wonder Woman comic book. (Copyright DC Comics)
My own thoughts about her: DC Comics Has Ruined Wonder Woman!Read More »

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DC Comics Has Ruined Wonder Woman!

DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Don Kramer’s Wonder Woman

dc comicsDC Comics announced that, starting today, Wonder Woman “will appear like you’ve never seen her before”. And I wish they’d just left her alone, especially since she’s … Read More »

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DC Comics Launches Digital Publishing (Free 10-Page Preview Of 700th Superman)

dc comics wbNEW YORK / BURBANK, Calif., June 23, 2010 – DC Comics, publisher of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Fables, is partnering with comiXology and PlayStation®Network for two separate digital comics distribution deals launching today, Wednesday, June 23. In addition, a DC Comics App for the iPhone®, iPad® and iPod® Touch is available allowing consumers an easy way to access DC Comics’ content. The announcement was made jointly today by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.

“At DC Comics, it has been a top priority that DC forges a meaningful, forward-looking digital strategy,” said Jim Lee, Co-Publisher, DC Comics. “As both a comic book creator and Co-Publisher, it was incredibly important that our plan includes not only creator incentive payments, but also an innovative component that supports comic shop owners. We see digital as an opportunity to grow our entire business.”

Both the comiXology and the PlayStation Network Digital Comics launch offerings will include classic titles from DC Comics, Vertigo and WildStorm, such as Batman: Hush, Green Lantern: Rebirth, Fables: Legends in Exiles and Planetary: All Over the World and Other Stories. Both programs will share a tiered pricing format, with digital comics priced from $.99 to $2.99 per issue. The Justice League: Generation Lost mini-series will be available through both platforms day and date with each issue’s print edition on-sale date, with both the digital and print editions priced at $2.99. Several comics will be available for free at launch, including the first installment of the ZUDA series Bayou and select stories from Batman: Black & White.

To further promote today’s announcement, DC Comics is offering a free 10-page preview of the 700th issue of Superman available through both platforms, day and date with the issue going on sale in comic book stores. The 10 page story is a prelude to writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Eddy Barrows’ highly anticipated “Grounded” storyline that will be published in Superman which will examine how Superman sees America, and how America sees Superman.

“Grounded is a major turning point in the history of Superman,” said Dan DiDio, Co-Publisher of DC Comics. “This storyline has the potential to generate national headlines and bring new readers the series.”

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