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Marvel Sued For Fraud Over ‘Iron Man’ Merchandise Deal

By | Thursday May 3, 2012 @ 8:27pm PDT

One day before The Avengers opens big in North America, Marvel has been hit with a merchandise lawsuit. The lawsuit is over the “Iron Man’s Lair Play Box” – or rather, the lack of it. Box-A-Mania are claiming that Marvel Entertainment knowingly misrepresented licensing rights that it held and its ability to execute the deal when it made an agreement with the toy company. Box-O-Mania, in a 23-page civil suit plus exhibits, goes after Marvel on nine counts, ranging from fraud, concealment, misrepresentation and negligence. (Read the suit here.)

The defendants are Marvel Entertainment LLC, Marvel Characters Inc, Marvel International Character Holdings, LLC and Marvel Characters B.V., Inc, which is a Netherlands corporation. Of course, this could all be over as soon as it began if the court doesn’t agree with Box-A-Mania and their lawyers that a “pre-dispute agreement that any lawsuit between the parties will be adjudicated in a court trial, and not by jury trial is unenforceable.” The California-based plaintiff’s assertion is based on the Netherlands address of Marvel Characters B.V., Inc and the filing of this lawsuit outside New York state, where the agreement in question would be enforceable.

On September 14, 2010, according the suit filed in LA in Superior Court today, Box-O-Mania and Marvel signed a deal for the toy company to make an Iron Man’s Lair Play Box. Box-O-Mania, which has been around since 2009, specializes in life-sized playhouses that children can decorate. … Read More »

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Iger: Disney Monitoring Recession Indicators But Sees No Consumer Impact Yet

UPDATE, 3:10 PM: CEO Bob Iger told analysts that Disney hasn’t seen much change in consumer spending plans as a result of the stock market gyrations and recession talk over the last few days. He adds that he doesn’t think that price discounting at the theme parks is “something we’ll have to do quickly.” In the conference call analysts mostly wanted to know Iger’s thinking about when and how he’ll offer Disney movies and TV shows to online streaming services such as Netflix. He says that “we’re in discussions with Netflix and a number of other entities and it’s likely we’ll make more deals” soon. Online services will land ”little, if any” TV shows the same season they initially air. Iger wants to “protect and respect” current cable and satellite pay TV providers. Indeed, even though Iger wants to sell Hulu — which Disney co-owns with News Corp and Comcast’s NBC Universal — it’s unclear whether he’ll help the cause by guaranteeing that a buyer fresh Disney programming on an exclusive basis for several years. Speaking generally about online Iger says that “I don’t think we’ll make long term deals for the content. The world is changing” too quickly. “It’s exciting, but we’re still at the beginning of the beginning.”

PREVIOUS, 1:23 PM: The bad news is that Cars 2 and Thor, both released in the quarter that ended in June, were no match for last year’s Toy Story Read More »

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Warner Bros Wins 2010 Film Market Share; Year’s Box Office Grosses Not A Record; Overall Movie Attendance Down Sharply; Should Studios Slash Number Of 3D Pics?

The movie moguls hate it whenever their studios are judged by market share. Which is why it’s so much fun to spotlight at the end of the year. Final figures aren’t in yet, but the order isn’t going to change: Warner Bros is No. 1 (for the third straight year), followed by Paramount, then Fox, then Disney, then Sony, and finally the bomb factory known as Universal. Next comes the mini-majors with Summit Entertainment, and Lionsgate bringing up the rear. The only surprise is the high placement of Fox even though it took a terrible beating from the media all year, and the low order of Sony which appeared to dominate box office week in and week out. Go figure.

As for overall grosses, 2010 alas was not a record-setting year. My pal Paul Dergarabedian over at Hollywood.com is projecting that when full year revenues come in by Monday, the expected figure of $10.5 billion will fall just short of 2009’s record $10.6 billion. ”This is only the second time in box office history that full year revenues will top the $10 billion mark. However, the last time that revenues fell short of the prior year was in 2008 when they dipped 0.52% from 2007. More telling is that attendance this year will see a 5.36% downturn vs. 2009 giving us the biggest percentage drop year over year since 2005 when attendance fell a whopping … Read More »

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Every Studio & Network Boosted Earnings; So Why Isn’t Hollywood Working More?

UPDATE: The Walt Disney Co was the last major studio and network to report quarterly earnings, and its fiscal 3rd quarter profit rose 40% on the strong box office grosses from Pixar’s Toy Story 3, Marvel’s Iron Man 2, and Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland 3D. As promised, here is an earnings roundup showing that Big Media is alive and well and even flourishing not just this quarter but in many cases for next quarter or even the entire year. Yet the trickle down effect has been slow or nonexistent for Hollywood. After rounds of layoffs during the economic crisis, the moguls are still slow to put people back to work. And the movie and TV community still is underemployed. But what everyone can count on is that Big Media’s good news for the benefit of Wall Street will turn into bad news to the detriment of talent, behind-the-camera, post-production, and below-the-line unions when it’s time to negotiate:

August 5th: Viacom Inc Reports Sharply Higher Earnings For Q2
Credit the rebounding economy and recovering advertising market. Net earnings rose to $420 million, or 69 cents a share, up 52% from $277 million, or 46 cents a share, a year ago. Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone gushed, ”With six months under our belt in this calendar year, day after day our confidence continues to grow as the emerging economy recovery builds. Now of course we’re not all the way back, but the light is brighter than it’s been for some time… Consumers are returning to the marketplace, marketers are beginning to spend again to grow revenues and capture share and Viacom is now and will continue to benefit.” Revenue at Viacom’s media networks group rose 6% to $2.1 billion.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said ad revenue growth has been improving quarter by quarter. “Once we get into October and into the December quarter, we will benefit from this upfront where we have greater volume than last year at higher pricing. Dauman singled out Jersey Shore as a show where ”we have advertisers scrambling to get on it. We have advertisers who want to be wall to wall in particular episode. We’re turning them away.” Viacom’s movie business was down 10% to 41.25 billion, led by a 43% drop in home entertainment revenue. Also, Paramount Pictures has primarily been distributing others’ films like Iron Man 2 and Shrek Forever After in 2010 and self-financing its own pics. It is deliberately pursuing a strategy of a smaller slate of films in 2010-2011. Still, the film unit booked income of $69 million, reversing an $8 million loss in the same quarter a year ago. Viacom continued to post equity losses from its EPIX joint venture but said it should approach break-even by the end of the year.

August 4th: News Corp Posts Improved 4th Quarterly Results
News Corp posted a profit of $875 million, or 33 cents a share, for its fiscal 4Q ended June 30th easily beating analysts expectations. That compared with a loss of $203 million, or 8 cents a share, a year ago, when News Corp took an impairment charge. Revenue grew 6% to $8.11 billion, as companies spent more to advertise on the company’s television stations, TV channels and newspapers. That beat the average forecast of analysts of $8.05 billion. COO Chase Carey explained that brisk sales of advertising at Fox Broadcasting and the company’s cable television networks made the difference, while ad rates at the Fox network are up by a double-digit percentage from this spring. Ad rates are even better at the cable channels, which already represent more than 50% of the company’s profits. Local television station advertising revenues improved 29% in the quarter and 8% for the year compared to the same periods a year ago, reflecting strength in the automobile and telecom sectors. Read More »

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Nolan’s ‘Inception’ Passes $100M In 7 Days

The Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures’ Inception is now only the 5th film this year to gross over $100M in its first week of release joining Toy Story 3, Alice In Wonderland, Iron Man 2, and the Twilight Saga: Eclipse. But it’s the only 2D original film to do so. Warner Bros says the official number going into today is $100,155,000.

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Paramount First To Cross $1 Billion At 2010 Domestic Box Office

paramountlogoHOLLYWOOD, CA (June 29, 2010) – Paramount Pictures announced today the studio has crossed the $1 billion mark at the domestic box office, making it the first studio to accomplish the milestone this year. This marks the fourth year in a row that Paramount was the first studio to cross that plateau. Something no studio has done before. The studio currently holds the top spot in market share, with box office gross generated from five movies released thus far in 2010.

Based on figures through June 28th, Paramount has distributed four of 2010’s top ten grossing films. The year got off to a strong start with the Martin Scorsese thriller “Shutter Island” earning $128 million in the U.S., and also becoming the highest world-wide grossing film for the acclaimed director. Paramount followed with a string of strong releases, including Marvel Studio’s “Iron Man 2” ($306.9M) and DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon” ($215.4M) and “Shrek Forever After” ($229.4M).

“This milestone reflects the hard work of so many people,” said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. “I especially want to thank Rob Moore, Frederick Huntsberry, and Adam Goodman. We are all so proud of our teams, how they have worked together as well as with our partners. This commitment, coupled with the terrific creative talent we are in business with – Michael Bay, JJ Abrams, Martin Scorsese, Jon Favreau, Jeffrey Katzenberg and his DreamWorks Animation – have made these results

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