The companies call this an “unprecedented deal” and “Marvel‘s most ambitious foray yet into live-action TV storytelling.” Disney will provide Netflix with live action series and a miniseries featuring Marvel characters Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage set in the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to at least four, 13-episode series over “multiple years,” beginning in 2015, culminating with a miniseries, The Defenders, that “reimagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.” The arrangement, which involves some 60 episodes produced by Marvel TV and ABC Studios, grew out of the deal that will give Netflix exclusive rights to Disney films in the premium TV window beginning in 2016. It is “unparalleled in its scope and size, and reinforces our commitment to deliver Marvel’s brand, content and characters across all platforms of storytelling,” says Marvel Entertainment President Alan Fine. Also unprecedented was the secrecy surrounding the package. As we reported last month, breaking the news of Marvel shopping the four series and mini to Netflix and a couple of other VOD and cable players, no one was allowed to breathe a word, with the seller, all potential buyers and everyone else involved allegedly bound by strict confidentiality agreements. Committing to 60 episodes off the bat is a big undertaking but would help a new to scripted programming player like Netflix that is looking to quickly build up a slate and want to capitalize on the Marvel brand. Said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, “Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels.” There had been talk of another Daredevil movie while Marvel TV first developed Jessica Jones as a series for ABC but it didn’t move past the development stage. The company’s first live-action series for Disney, ABC’s Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., premiered this fall and has been picked up for a full season. It has been a very strong performer in DVR/steaming viewing, hinting at the potential of other Marvel series on a service like Netflix. Here’s the release on the deal, brokered by CAA:
Netflix Picks Up Four Marvel Live-Action Series & A Mini Featuring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage For 2015 Launch
Film, comics, and television aren’t enough to contain Marvel‘s super-media empire. The company today unveiled a first look at their Marvel Universe LIVE!, the 2014 touring arena show combining two dozen Marvel superhero characters, acrobatics, martial art stunts, and live theater that’ll hit 28 North American cities next July. The show is produced in partnership with Feld Entertainment, whose live productions include Disney on Ice and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Emmy-winning director Shanda Sawyer is at the helm with choreography by Thor stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong. Adam Wilson (What’s Important is Feeling: Stories, Flatscreen: A novel) and Melanie Wilson LaBracio are aboard writing what Marvel-watchers hope won’t turn into Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark Part II. Marvel debuted an official teaser at NY Comic-Con, but here’s a more revealing behind the scenes production featurette:
The man who put the Rolling Stones back on the road and Spider-Man on Broadway is now going to bring Marvel’s costumed characters to life in a town near you. In a partnership between Marvel and live entertainment producer Hero Ventures, former Live Nation chairman and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark producer Michael Cohl will produce the Marvel Experience. Described as a “first-person superhero adventure” and set to debut next year, the $30 million themed production will feature dozens of Marvel characters combined with multimedia technology, original 3D animated movies and a 4D motion ride, all in a traveling dome complex the size of two football fields. The plan is to bring the Marvel Experience to two dozen cities around the US in 2014 with weeklong stays in each. “Hero Ventures is developing a themed entertainment concept that we expect will be a transformative, traveling destination that will deliver to fans and families an exciting, groundbreaking and unique experience,” said Sean Haran, Marvel’s VP Business Development, in a statement Wednesday. Spider-Man co-producer and veteran stage and touring Jeremiah Harris also will produce the Experience along and Hero Ventures’ Jason Rosen a former Sony Pictures exec. Hero Ventures was founded in June 2012 by former Gersh player agent Doug Schaer and sports lawyer Rick Licht.
A red carpet gala was held for Iron Man 3 this weekend in Beijing’s Taimiao Temple in the Forbidden City. Robert Downey Jr. attended the event in what was the first time a Hollywood film has ever been celebrated inside the imperial temple – it was also the first time a westerner has had their birthday feted inside Beijing’s ancestral hall (Downey turned 48 last week). DMG Entertainment, Marvel‘s local partner on the film, hosted the evening to kick off April as “Iron Man Month.” There is no local release date for the film yet which I understand is still being worked out with the Chinese authorities. The hope, however, is to set a release timed closely to the U.S. rollout on May 3. Below are two exclusive photos from Saturday’s event which was also attended by Iron Man 3 co-star Wang Xueqi – he’s the one shaking hands with Downey in the second pic.
Today at SXSW, Marvel Entertainment announced a wave of digital initiatives built around the comics-based empire. New original video content will tie Marvel’s film, animation, comics, and web interests together with reality programming, news and documentaries anchored by Marvel’s Earth’s Mightiest Show, a weekly Marvel and pop culture program. G4′s Blair Butler will host the show covering movies, comics, video games, and television with celebrity interviews and first looks at upcoming Marvel Studios films. The lineup joins previous Marvel original programs The Watcher and Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?!. Here’s the teaser unveiled today at SXSW:
This is becoming an interesting debate, which PDL Capital President Lawrence Meyers takes on this morning in a vigorously argued blog post responding to Bernstein Research analyst Todd Juenger’s controversial report last week on the subject. Juenger said that the huge success of The Avengers – which has generated $1.3B in ticket sales at worldwide box offices this month — merely makes Disney’s 2009 agreement to pay $4.2B for Marvel “a good deal,” not a self-evidently great one. That’s ”the silliest statement I’ve heard in years,” Meyers says. The value of Disney CEO Bob Iger’s decision “was self-evident the day the deal got made.” Juenger misses the point, Meyers says, by focusing on the probable returns from Marvel-related movies. The operation will “generate tens of billions for Disney over decades” as it comes up with new characters, and storylines to pair them. “Movies will be the flagship product, but there will be television shows (primarily animated), direct to video, and at some point in the future, they’ll just reboot each of the characters and start all over again,” Meyers says. “This literally will go on for decades. And audiences will keep paying.”
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. …
Marvel Studio’s Tim Connors Defects To Legendary As COO; Marvel’s Rob Steffens & David Galluzi Take On More Responsibility
I hear Marvel is fine with this move to Legendary Entertainment. Tim Connors has been there from the beginning but “it was time for him to move on,” an insider tells me. I’ve just learned exclusively that taking his place at Marvel Studios will be David Galluzzi whow as recently promoted to chief counsel and now will be assuming Connors’ business affairs role, too. And the remainder of Connors’ duties will be assumed by Rob Steffens who is EVP Of Operations And Planning for Marvel Entertainment and is General Manager of Operations And Finance for Marvel Studios. This move bolsters Steffens’ role at Disney where I hear he’s well-liked and being groomed for bigger things. None of this is in the Legendary press release below:
Burbank, CA, February 9, 2012 – Legendary Entertainment has appointed Tim Connors to the role of Chief Operating Officer for the company, it was announced today by Legendary’s Chairman and CEO, Thomas Tull. Connors, who arrives at Legendary from Marvel, will report to Tull and manage day-to-day operations for the company including business affairs working closely with President and Chief Creative Officer, Jon Jashni.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint today against a California man who allegedly used confidential information about Disney’s planned acquisition of Marvel Entertainment — obtained from his girfriend, a Disney employee — to buy up Marvel stock options before the August 2009 sale and collect $192,000 after the deal was made public and Marvel shares soared. The complaint said that Toby G. Scammell got the insider information from his girlfriend’s BlackBerry and used some cash for his purchase from the account of his older brother, who was in the Army and deployed to Iraq at the time. The options raised a red flag at the SEC as Scammell, then 24, had never traded Marvel securities before buying the $5,400 in options. After the sale was announced, Marvel’s stock rose 25%, giving Scammell a 3,000% profit when he sold off.
I’ve had a front-row seat on a fascinating drama unfolding behind the international grosses for Universal’s Fast Five and Paramount’s distribution of Marvel /Disney’s Thor over the past 10 days. This weekend they went head to head in more than a dozen countries. The feud started because of Paramount’s decision to move onto Fast Five‘s Easter weekend Down Under. That created ill will, so Universal has been crowing about how much its street racing fivequel has been beating the Norse god pic overseas. Now Thor insiders are nervous that the lopsided victory of Fast Five internationally will hurt the Disney/Marvel’s domestic box office when it opens in the U.S. and Canada this coming Friday. Rarely have I seen studios bicker back and forth about box office as intensely as during this matchup. Especially when Paramount is only distributing Thor for its standard fee from Marvel. But it’s all about market share and just plain pride. Universal has been hit starved in the live action arena for so long that it’s releasing foreign numbers almost hour by hour, to the great consternation of Paramount which is pointing out that sequels always do better overseas. Paramount also is claiming that this may be Universal’s only really big hit of the summer. Strange thing to say, since Paramount is distributing foreign for DreamWorks/Universal’s Cowboys & Aliens. But, hey, all is fair in love and war and grosses, and I’m enjoying the heck out of this box office throwdown.
Universal preened about Fast Five results in Russia (where FF 68% ahead of Thor), Germany (FF 86% ahead of Thor), Spain (FF 30% ahead of Thor), Austria (FF 202% ahead of Thor), Switzerland (German-speaking area), Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, and Korea. But Paramount boasted that Thor recorded the highest opening weekend gross at the international box office this year and had big No. 1 openings this weekend in the UK, Ireland, France, Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, and Italy.
IMAX announced today that it has finalized a deal with Paramount and Marvel Entertainment to release the tentpole Thor in IMAX 3D worldwide day and date May 6. “We’re pleased to expand our relationship with Marvel and Paramount with Thor, which is a great addition to our summer tentpole slate,” said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment. “We believe Thor will resonate with the IMAX audience by transporting them directly into the 3D world that Kenneth Branagh and the Marvel team have created for this epic film.”
CULVER CITY, Calif., February 14, 2011 – Columbia Pictures announced today that the title of the next Spider-Man film will be The Amazing Spider-Man.The studio simultaneously released a photo of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, the first shot of Garfield in the famous full mask and suit.
The film, which is now in production and is being shot entirely in 3D, will be released on July 3, 2012. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field. The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the Marvel Entertainment production for Columbia Pictures. The executive producers are Stan Lee, Kevin Feige, and Michael Grillo.
Los Angeles, CA, July 26, 2010 – G4 will be the exclusive U.S. television home of four brand-new anime series featuring some of the most successful and iconic brands from the Marvel Universe. Produced by Madhouse for Marvel Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (SPEJ), these four original series – “Iron Man,” “X-MEN,” “Wolverine” and “Blade” - will premiere on the network in 2011 and will air as standalone series made up of twelve 30-minute episodes under the guidance of Warren Ellis.
Marvel Entertainment is launching a TV division, Marvel Television, and has appointed Heroes and Smallville writer-producer Jeph Loeb to run it. As EVP and head of television, Loeb will work alongside Dan Buckley, publisher & president of the print, animation & digital divisions of Marvel Worldwide to adapt Marvel characters and stories to television as both live-action and animation series. Additionally, Loeb will oversee the development and distribution of live-action, animated and direct-to-DVD series. Loeb was previously a Marvel-exclusive comic book writer and also did a stint on Lost. Marvel’s rival DC Comics has built a primetime presence through its deal at Warner Bros. TV that has spawned such series as Smallville and Human Target.
Usually the success or failure of one film doesn’t affect the Big Media parent company of a major movie studio’s value on Wall Street. But Marvel Entertainment is small enough to feel the impact. So today its stock price soared over 9.42% as its Marvel Studios’ first self-financed production, Iron Man, became 2008′s first record-breaking rocketman and the second biggest 3-day release for a non-sequel in the history of Hollywood. Capitalizing on that great news, Marvel Studios today unveiled its 2010-2011 complete slate of developed, produced and financed feature films. Expectedly, it contains immediate plans for Iron Man 2 in 2010. And in 2011, Marvel will present an “Avengers Themed Summer”, introducing a Captain America film and then uniting heroes Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor in a single film. Meanwhile, Marvel has a library with over 5,000 high-profile characters, so stay tuned for more announcements. Most immediately, Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk is scheduled for a June 13th release by distributor Universal, but, unlike Iron Man, this next film has been troubled creatively. (See my previous, Ed Norton And Marvel In ‘Hulk’-ing Feud and Edward Norton vs Marvel, ‘Hulk’ Round 2.)
Here’s the list of 2010-1011 releases:
IRON MAN 2 (scheduled for April 30, 2010 release)
THOR (scheduled for June 4, 2010 release)
THE FIRST AVENGER: CAPTAIN AMERICA (scheduled for May 6, 2011 release)
THE AVENGERS (scheduled …