The blogosphere is going wild as Marvel chief Kevin Feige does interviews for Iron Man 3 and acknowledges that Daredevil has returned to the Marvel fold at Disney. We told you this was going to happen last August, when a last ditch attempt to shape a movie with Joe Carnahan cratered. Ben Affleck starred in the original film, and he’s doing way more interesting things now as a writer/director/actor/producer. Without him, it was pretty clear that Fox wasn’t confident about bankrolling a superhero-sized movie based on the character and that the brass at the studio wasn’t at all upset about coming out on the losing end of the witching hour of when Marvel and Disney got back those rights. The intrigue will be to see if Marvel vamps the blind lawyer character, and whether he begins showing up in other superhero movies and maybe a sequel to The Avengers. They certainly have made The Hulk viable after he was pretty much thought to be dead as disco. Here’s what we said last August:
Director Joe Carnahan seems to be ready to toss in the towel on the last ditch attempt to reboot the Marvel superhero Daredevil before Fox’s rights to the franchise expire this fall. Carnahan sent out a tweet today saying, “I think my idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke today kids.”
From what I’m hearing, that means that Fox, which made the original Daredevil movie that starred Ben Affleck, is prepared to see the rights to that character revert back to Marvel Studios, and fall under the Disney umbrella. Marvel essentially said no to an extension and to Fox’s request that it come aboard as cofinancier of the Daredevil film. Deadline revealed back at Comic-Con that Fox had a problem with a ticking rights clock that would expire in October, something that became an issue after David Slade bailed on the project after he committed to direct the Hannibal pilot. Fox wasn’t too upset by all this, because the studio was lukewarm on making the movie.
It is certainly possible that Carnahan, who’s coming off The Grey, will get the chance to make his gritty blind lawyer-turned crime fighter Matt Murdock/Daredevil at Disney. But it will be Kevin Feige’s decision. As for Fox, the studio will focus on the forward moving Marvel projects Fantastic Four, which is being rebooted, and X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine, both of which are being sequelized. The original Mark Steven Johnson-directed Daredevil squeaked past the $100 million domestic gross mark in 2003, grossed $178 million worldwide and turned in an opening weekend just north of $40 million. It wasn’t thought of as a big success, though, even though it led to the spinoff Elektra, which starred Jennifer Garner. It is one of Marvel’s core comic book heroes so it will be interesting to see what Marvel does with the characters in that universe.
ICG publicists will honor Kevin Feige as Motion Picture Showman of the Year at the 50th Annual Awards Luncheon on February 22. As producer and president of Marvel Studios, Feige oversees all creative aspects of the company’s … Read More »
Deadline broke the news when Patty Jenkins was the surprise choice to direct Chris Hemsworth in Thor 2, and Marvel has just confirmed that her deal closed. Jenkins, who directed Charlize Theron in her Oscar-winning Monster performance, also directed the pilot of the AMC series The Killing. Still, she … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Everybody is trying to keep this secret. But I’ve learned that yesterday Disney canned Dana Precious, EVP of Worldwide Marketing for Marvel’s LA Studios (she had replaced Doug Finberg at the end of last summer); Jeffrey Stewart, VP of Worldwide Marketing (he’d been brought in by Dana); and Jodi Miller, Manager of Worldwide Marketing. That’s essentially Marvel’s entire marketing department. Marvel redundant jobs were on the line ever since Disney bought the publisher/studio in 2009. And the marketing department even more so this summer after Paramount released Thor and Captain America domestically and internationally, thus effectively ending that studio’s marketing and distribution of Marvel pictures. I’m told that on June 24th, Rob Steffens, who is Marvel Studios’ EVP Operations, met with all of the department at the Manhattan Beach offices in what was described as a “Disney Rules of the Road” meeting. He told staff that there would be no house-cleaning by the mouse, period, so they were not to fear for their jobs and flee en masse. So much for that promise.
The official line on why Marvel’s marketing team was let go is that Disney will be taking over that function and handling the releases of The Avengers and future Marvel movies themselves. In fact I’ve learned that Marvel will bring in someone in a “project management role”. But Kevin Feige’s continued supervision of all things Marvel should resolve any doubts by fanboys that Disney will screw around or screw up the comic book films. Insiders tell me that Precious and her team were not well-loved by Marvel bigwig Feige and other top execs at Marvel or by Disney and Paramount. (Some of the comments I heard today included: “Not up to or have the skill set to release this brand properly”… “Their job was to keep track of the people doing the real work”… “Paper pushers”… ”Would it have killed them to return an email?”… “Disney doesn’t need someone to cut its trailers”…)
Now Marvel staffers wonder whether the firings were really to avoid duplicating efforts with Disney or just petty vindictiveness. Read More »
Insiders close to Marvel and Robert Downey Jr, who has director approval on Iron Man 3, confirm that Jon Favreau won’t direct this next installment of the franchise. Granted there’s no script yet. And few helmers do what Sam Raimi (Spider-Man) and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Marvel Studios is moving forward on a live action feature version of Iron Fist, hiring screenwriter Rich Wilkes to draft a movie based on a martial arts expert whose battle with a dragon–ended when he plunged his hands through … Read More »
Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for Deadline:
SUNDAY AM UPDATE: I think the biggest news of the Marvel Studios panel tonight is that The Punisher is now owned by Marvel Studios again, and will probably figure into a future film. I’ve learned The Punisher rights reverted to Marvel in 2009 following the release of Punisher 2. The studio has no immediate plans to develop a movie based on the franchise. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige last night did not say when the Punisher rights reverted, or how: just that they have.
So who is The Punisher? In the comics, Frank Castle is a Vietnam veteran whose family is killed in a Mafia crossfire. Donning a black spandex costume with a skull logo, he declares war on crime and becomes a vigilante. Introduced as a Spider-Man foe in the 1970s, his popularity took off in the late 1980s, when grim and “realistic” superheroes became the norm. The Punisher is different from many superheroes in that he uses guns and has no secret identity. (He is known to be Frank Castle.) On film, he has been portrayed three times.
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EXCLUSIVE: Back on July 14th, I scooped that Mark Ruffalo Is In Late-Stage Talks To Be Marvel’s New Hulk in ‘The Avengers’. Now I’ve just learned the ink is drying on the deal reached by Brillstein Entertainment Partners with Marvel. (There’s no official confirmation yet from Marvel whose reps aren’t available for their usual “No comment”.) So it looks like Marvel movie mastermind Kevin Feige may pull this off and bring Ruffalo along with other of The Avengers superheroes and director Joss Whedon to tomorrow night’s panel at Comic-Con. Read More »
SATURDAY, JULY 24
THE DAY YOUR FEET GET REALLY SORE
Luke Y Thompson covers Hollywood events at the Con for Deadline:
10:00-11:00 AM: Mad about MAD! I used to love Mad Magazine, but in the years since it started accepting advertising, … Read More »