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Thursday, April 28, 2005


In addition to its first quarter earnings, Marvel Enterprises on Thursday announced a distribution deal with Paramount Pictures and the settlement of all outstanding litigation with Stan Lee.

Under the new deal, Paramount will distribute a slate of feature films to be produced by Marvel. Marvel also announced a new, non-recourse financing facility to be provided by Merrill Lynch Commercial Finance Corp. that will allow the company to produce its own slate of feature films.

"We are excited to be building our own film slate, and to be doing so using non-recourse financing," said Avi Arad, Chairman and CEO, Marvel Studios. "Paramount Pictures has the most collaborative and creative team in the business to help us market our films. Under its new leadership, we've found Paramount to be exceptional in every way and look forward to working together for a long, long time."

"Marvel has become a marquee entertainment brand," said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. "It speaks to Marvel's strength in the marketplace and the great popularity of its brand and characters that Marvel can obtain such innovative financing for its film slate. We are thrilled to partner with them in this new venture."

The distribution agreement between Paramount and Marvel specifies that Marvel may deliver up to 10 films to Paramount over an eight-year period, with the first titles including Captain America and Nick Fury. Marvel's budgets for each film may range from $45 million to $180 million. The first picture is expected to be released in 2007 or 2008. Paramount will not contribute to production costs, although it will provide advance funding of promotion and advertising for the films.

Marvel has obtained a financing commitment from Merrill Lynch Commercial Finance Corp. for a $525 million non-recourse revolving credit facility over seven years to permit Marvel to fund the production of its film slate. The facility will be secured by the theatrical and motion picture production and distribution rights for ten Marvel characters. The non-recourse element of the structure limits Marvel's cash risk to un-reimbursed development costs and general incremental overhead.

Specific terms of the settlement with Lee were not disclosed. The settlement agreement covers the lawsuit filed by Lee in November 2002 in which Lee claimed entitlement, under an agreement with Marvel, to a participation in Marvel's profits from various sources, including the Spider-Man movies and other film and television productions that utilize Marvel characters. The settlement covers Lee's participation claim for both past and any potential future

John Turitzin, Marvel's General Counsel, said, "Stan is one of the founders of today's comic book industry. We are pleased with the settlement and are happy to have resolved all of our disputes with him."

In other Marvel news:

* Doctor Strange will be the fourth direct-to-DVD animated movie in Marvel's deal with Lion's Gate films, following two Avengers films and Iron Man.

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For covers and four-page previews of Marvel Comics titles arriving in stores on Wednesday, CLICK HERE.

Titles include Spider-Girl #86, Spider-Man Unlimited #9, Rogue #10, Power Pack #2, New X-Men #13, GLA #12, Excalibur #12, Daredevil: Redemption #4 and Amazing Fantasy #8.

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Superman Returns Bryan Singer, appearing on an upcoming special on Bravo, said that he views Superman as three different characters.

"It's an interesting character because he's really three characters," Singer said. "He's the Clark Kent from the farm, he's the effective Clark Kent who works at the Daily Planet and he's Superman, the Last Son of Krpyton. These are three different characters."

Singer's comments came during a special called Ultimate Super Heroes, which along with Ultimate Villains and Ultimate Super Vixens, will air on at 10 p.m. on Bravo on Thursday, May 26, Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28, respectively.

Bravo provided The Continuum a rough cut of Ulitmate Super Heroes, which is narrated by Adam West, star of the 1960s Batman television series.

The specials count down the top 20 in each of the categories, with short segments to devoted to each character, with commentaries from dozens of creators, filmmakers and actors.

Among others adding comments are actors Jessica Alba (Sin City, Fantastic Four), Michael Chiklis (Fantastic Four), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Vivica A. Fox (Batman and Robin), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Bill Mumy (Lost in Space), Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and Hal Sparks (Spider-Man 2); producers Avi Arad (Marvel Studios) and Michael Uslan (Batman films); screenwriter David Hayter (X-Men, Watchmen); and comics creators Todd McFarlane and Stan Lee.

Click on the thumbnails below for larger images from the special.


Aspen Comics has provided The Continuum with a first look at the two covers to The Soulfire Collected Edition #1.

Both covers are penciled by Michael Turner and colored by Peter Steigerwald. The variant cover is an exclusive limited to 2000 copies.  

The Soulfire Collected Edition #1 combines the first two issues of Soulfire by Jeph Loeb, Turner and Steigerwald, along with the hard-to-find Soulfire Preview issue.

There will also be a cover gallery, fearuing more than 10 pieces.

The book is in stores on Wednesday. Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

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Claypool Comics has released its solicitations for August.

For a rundown, with art, CLICK HERE.


Platinum Studios and The Shop Productions have chosen Alan McElroy to write the screenplay for the $18 million budgeted CG theatrical horror feature, Bonesaw, based on the Platinum Studios graphic novel by Rob Moran.

Relativity Management will be co-financing the picture and is arranging the international elements. Production is set to begin in early 2006, and be completed fall 2007. McElroy will be splitting his time between his Ohio home and the Vancouver production offices of Bonesaw.

This comes on the heels of Platinum and The Shop's recent announcement that they were producing the CGI thriller, Dylan Dog: The Fourth Kingdom, entering pre-production in June.

McElroy wrote both the Spawn feature film and the first season of HBO's Spawn animated series. McElroy also was nominated for a Saturn award for his work on Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.

"I couldn't think of anyone better to write what will be the first commercially released animated horror movie," said Platinum Studios' Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. "We believe that 'Bonesaw' will be the first horror movie that really takes advantage of the stunning possibilities of CGI."

Bonesaw is about a horror-fantasy writer who discovers that her hit novels are about to release the villain Bonesaw and the other hellish creatures she's been writing about into our world.

"Bonesaw will do for animation what Sin City has done for live action: set a new paradigm for visual style. This represents another chance for us to redefine what CGI storytelling is all about and to show the world how far you can go," said The Shop's co-founder Ian Pearson. - More Product. More Exclusives.


* To the right is a first look at the back of the box art from Lois and Clark: The Complete First Season, which reaches stores from Warner Home Video on June 7. Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.

* The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie returns to HBO in June. Air dates include Thursday, June 2 at 5:30 p.m.; Monday, June 6 at 9:30 a.m.; Saturday, June 11 at 6 p.m.; Tuesday, June 14 at 8 a.m.; Friday, June 17 at 1 p.m.; Monday, June 20 at 6 p.m.; and Sunday, June 26 at 11 a.m.; and Monday, June 27 at 12:35 a.m.

* Coming Friday: Marvel news and much more!!!

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In case you missed The Continuum's recent coverage, here are some links:

* For Friday, April 22, including Superman Returns movie news, CLICK HERE.

* For Thursday, April 21, including Smallville news, CLICK HERE.

* For Wednesday, April 20, including Batman Begins news, CLICK HERE.

* For Tuesday, April 19, including Batman Begins news, CLICK HERE.

* For Monday, April 18, including Marvel and Image solicitations for July, CLICK HERE.

* For Friday, April 15, including Devil's Due solicitations for July, CLICK HERE.

* For Thursday, April 14, including Fantastic Four movie news, CLICK HERE.

* For Wednesday, April 15, including Cindy Margolis promoting the Tenth Muse, CLICK HERE.

* For Tuesday, April 12, including Batman Begins and Fantastic Four movie updates, CLICK HERE.

* For Monday, April 11, including DC Comics' solicitations for July, CLICK HERE.

* For Friday, April 8, including IDW Publising's solicitations for August, CLICK HERE.

* For Thursday, April 7, including Smallville news, CLICK HERE.

* For Wednesday, April 6, including Smallville news, CLICK HERE.

* For Tuesday, April 5, including Sin City movie news, CLICK HERE.

* For Monday, April 4, including Dark Horse's solicitations for July, CLICK HERE.

* For Saturday, April 2, including Sin City news, CLICK HERE.

* For Friday, April 1, including WildC.A.T.s DVD news, CLICK HERE.

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