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Arad Talks About Marvel Movies

By Rob M. Worley     May 16, 2002

MarvelEnterprises conducted a conference call on Wednesday morning detailing thecompanies just-published first quarter earnings report. Of course, a fair amountof discussion was given to Spider-Man and other Marvel movies.

The companyexpects to make anywhere from $70 million to $100 million from the movie andlicensing and toy business. Marvel collected $10 million of that as an advancefrom Sony in 1999. The estimates assume that total, worldwide box office for thefilm will be in the $800 million to $1 billion range.

Marvel enjoysparticipation deals in, not only the box office but also DVD and VHS sales and ancillarysales, which include sales of the film to networks, cable, pay per view,airlines, etc.

The company willcollect most of the box office revenues will be in 2002, the DVD and VHS revenuein 2002 and 2003 and ancillary revenue in 2003.

Marvel StudiosChief Avi Arad was also on hand to discuss the company's movie deals. Hecredited Blade as a film that opened a lot of doors for thecompany. "It was the standard studio deal with net profits. With net profitdeals it is very difficult to actually realize this elusive word 'profit,'"Arad said. Regardless the movie performed well with for New Line Cinema anddemonstrated the potential of Marvel's character, and the fervor of the comicbook audience.

That, along withescalating performance on movies like X-Men, Blade 2and now Spider-Man has made the company very attractive to outsideparties. CEO Peter Cuneo said, "What has come back in a big way Marvel's credibilityas a property management company." Marvel has over 4700 characters readyfor exploitation.

Arad gave arun-down of upcoming movie projects. There were now real surprises but a fewtidbits.

Along with Hulkat Universal, Arad also discussed Sub-Mariner. "It's a bigsaga about the undersea. It's going to be a spectacular movie taking us toplaces we've never been before," Arad said. He mentioned that David Self iswriting the script and said that the project is "in active, aggressive development"

Also at Universalis Prime based on the Malibu character. That one is also said tobe in active development.

Arad pointed to GhostRider at Sony, but said that the studio is approaching Spider-Man2 even more aggressively with a, "combination of development andpre-production.  We want to be in front of the cameras January, Februarynext year," the producer said.

New Line's IronMan and Fox's Fantastic Four were named.

At DimensionFilms, Dr. Strange was mentioned and also Werewolf by Night.Arad said the horror flick "is something in the area of Bladebut it will be a PG-13 movie."

Finally ThePunisher, Daredevil and Elektra were alldiscussed, although no new information was given. 

Also of interestwere comments by Cuneo about new ventures where Marvel characters will beappearing. The CEO was enthused about partnerships with electronic gaming companiesand said they are very interested in massively multiplayer games featuring theMarvel heroes.

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