Marvel Signs Deal with Artisan for 15 Franchises -

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Marvel Signs Deal with Artisan for 15 Franchises

Plus: Screenwriters named for HULK and GREEN HORNET films.

    May 17, 2000
Source: Variety, Hollywood Reporter

If anything, Marvel has been showing a momentum that both the company and the comics industry hasn't seen for a while with software deals, the Ultimate Marvel line of comics, internet deals, and now, as reported in Variety, a joint venture agreement with Artisan Entertainment to turn at least 15 Marvel superhero franchises into live action movies, TV series, direct-to-video films and internet projects.

Currently, the deal, which is the most expansive and wide-reaching Marvel has ever made, will include the following feature film properties (with descriptions from Variety)

Captain America live action movie
Black Panther - a black Indiana Jones-style character, to which Wesley Snipes has long been attached to produce and star;
Deadpool - a mercenary uglified by an experimental cancer cure who becomes a hitman taking on the hardest jobs without a care whether he lives or dies;
Iron Fist - an orphan taught a mystical martial art which allows his first to become literally an iron weapon;
Morbius - a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who's turned into a vampire trying to cure a rare blood disease. The bloodsucking doc will only bite evildoers, whom he stalks at night;
Longshot - a genetically-engineered marksman created as a slave in another dimension, but with special powers;
Power Pack - a family of four kids given superhuman powers by a dying alien
Mort the Dead Teenager - an irreverent serial about a kid killed in a car crash who comes back to life
Antman - a scientist who can shuffle his subatomic particles to make himself the size of an ant or a giant.
According to the article, Thor is being considered as a television series.

The deal will have both Artisan and Marvel splitting the revenue generated from internet and films as well as from licensing and merchandising. Each company will equally own the programming library, once developed. Marvel and Artisan will co-produce the projects, while Marvel will provide the properties and develop licensing and merchandising tie-ins. Artisan has been tabbed to finance the projects, which, as it has gained a reputation for, will be moderately priced, rather than $100+ million budgeted films. Artisan will distribute both theatrically and on video/DVD.

Artisan head Amir Malin confirmed that there won't be any changes to Marvel feature projects currently in the pipeline, which include The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer and Blade 2, all of which are in various stages of development.

'Artisan is not in the business of creating $80 million to $120 million action event films and certain Marvel characters lend themselves to that and nothing but that,' Malin was quoted as saying in the article. 'We don't want to develop characters that, at the end of the day, we know we won't finance. But there are so many franchises that as we develop our first group of projects, we'll have our eyes on other titles from the library.

'Marvel cannot make this kind of deal with somebody else. It's the most comprehensive deal I've worked on at Artisan, there's a complete franchise universe here.'


Universal Pictures has named two prominent Hollywood writers to pen scripts for its Green Hornet and The Incredible Hulk feature films. Christopher McQuarrie, who won an Academy Award for The Usual Suspects and wrote the screenplay for the X-Men feature film will write the Green Hornet script. Michael (The Player, Deep Impact) Tolkin will write the Hulk screenplay.


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