MarvelEnterprises conducted a conference call earlier today to discuss the recentlyposted 2001 earnings report. Although the focus of the call was not on Marvelmovies, Marvel Studios head Avi Arad did talk about the company's variousHollywood dealings. "Studios are clamoring for our properties," Aradtold investors.
Of Spider-ManArad said, "We've have test screenings around the world: Japan,Germany, France and so on. The response has been overwhelming. It's really a very,very special movie."
The studio chiefalso talked about the sequel, telling listeners that Sam Raimi is definitely onboard. More surprising, he said that they are targeting January 2003 as aproduction start for Spider-Man 2.
"Each oneof these movies prove that our franchises lend themselves to becoming sequelsagain and again," Arad said. He reported Blade 3 is alreadyin the works. Hulk 2is also in development and targeted for a May, 2005 release.
"Thebiggest assets we have in the Marvel Universe is the diversity and multitude, andthe changing lives, of our characters," Arad continued, talking about theviability of sequels.
He said everything except the costume will change for Spider-Man2. "He'll deal with new villains. He'll deal with new issues. Ittakes the first movie, the origin movie really, to tell the story to explain theworld. It's tougher to deal with more than one villain.
"It'sreally easy in our universe to take our sequels and make them uniquely new fromsequel to sequel," Arad said.
In addition to Hulkand Daredevil, which are filming right now, Arad mentioned that X-Men2 is due for production in June.
Arad named Elektraas a Daredevil spin-off that is already in development. Othermovies named as being "on the money line" are Dr. Strange,Fantastic Four, Deathlok and Namor."There's a long list of movies," Arad said.
Marvel Presidentand CEO Peter Cuneo cautioned investors that projected release dates are subjectto change due to the various influences on the filmmaking process.