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Tuesday, September 6, 2005


Changing its name from Marvel Enterprises to Marvel Entertainment, Marvel announced on Monday the completion of a $525 million non-recourse debt facility that will finance Marvel's production of up to 10 films based on such characters as Captain America, Nick Fury and The Avengers.

Paramount will distribute the film slate, with the first theatrical release expected for summer 2008.

Marvel's distribution agreement with Paramount guarantees distribution for 10 films and encompasses two prime release periods each year -- the spring/summer and fall/holiday seasons. Paramount has guaranteed Marvel wide distribution with commensurate advertising and marketing efforts. This is a worldwide arrangement with the exception of Japan, Germany, Australia/New Zealand, Spain and France, which Marvel will sell directly.

The 10 Marvel properties in the arrangement are Captain America, The Avengers, Nick Fury, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Cloak & Dagger, Doctor Strange, Hawkeye, Power Pack and Shang-Chi. Each film is expected to have a budget of up to $165 million dollars and a rating no more restrictive than PG-13.

"The film slate financing enables us to evolve our entertainment operations into film production, an area where we have experienced past success with our partners and which offers significant profit potential for our company," said Avi Arad, chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios.

"The characters involved are some of the most valuable in the Marvel Universe, and we are excited to launch them as consumer brands via feature film releases under our direction. We look forward to working with Brad Grey and the exceptional team he has put together at Paramount and are confident that this will be a successful venture for us both."

Although the financing allows for the production of animated films, Marvel currently intends to use the financing to make only live-action films.

In its release, Marvel also noted that Punisher 2 is expected to join Ghost Rider and X3 as a 2006 release.

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Sony Pictures has moved the Ghost Rider movie up to July 14, a studio representative has confirmed for The Continuum.

The film -- written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson and starring Nicolas Cage -- was originally targeted for an Aug. 4 release.

Principal photography wrapped on Ghost Rider earlier this year in Australia.

A fairly lengthy post-production was anticipated, considering the visual effects needed to bring the character to the screen.

Johnson said he's been happy with the backing the studio has provided.

"Sony really gets it. They're really supportive," he said. "Marvel movies have obviously done very well for them. They've been terrific. They've given up everything we've wanted. It's been a fantastic experience."

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The Continuum has obtained the first image from Sci Fi Channel's The Amazing Screw-On Head animated series, a design of the title character in "burly crab" mode.

The series is based on Mike Mignola's comic book, and Mignola is serving as art director.

Paul Giamitti, who starred in American Splendor, is proving the voice for Screw-On Head, a secret agent working for the U.S. government and a robot that screws his head onto a wide variety of bodies.

In the pilot, Screw-On Head faces off against his arch nemesis and former manservant, Emperor Zombie, voiced by David Hyde Pierce. Molly Shannon plays Screw's love interest, Patience the Vampire. Rounding out the cast are Patton Oswalt as Mr. Groin, Screw's faithful manservant, and Mindy Sterling, who plays the dual roles of zombie henchwomen Aggie and Geraldine.

The pilot was written by Bryan Fuller and directed by Chris Prynoski.

The Amazing Screw-On Head is targeted to launch next year. Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.

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Marvel Comics has provided the Continuum with the cover and an interior page from Giant-Size X-Men #4.

The 96-page book, on sale on Sept. 8, celebrates the the 30th Anniversary of Giant Size X-Men #1 and the formation of the "All New All Different X-Men" It includes a new story by Chris Claremont and Rick Leonardi featuring Thunderbird.

The issue also features Thunderbirdıs death at the hands of Count Nefaria in X-Men #94-95 (August/October 1975), a eulogy for the fallen hero in Classic X-Men #3 (November 1986) and his younger brotherıs attempt to exact revenge on the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #193 (May 1985).

The 30th anniversary celebration will continue with X-Men Deadly Genesis, a six-issue mini-series by Ed Brubaker and Trevor Hairsine than launches on Nov. 16. A part of Decimation, Deadly Genesis features a deadly secret from the team's formative days that has come back to haunt them. Marc Silvestri is providing the cover and Joe Quesada the variant cover.

Click on the thumbnails above for larger images.

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Marvel Comics announced on Tuesday that it has signed artist Mitchell Breitweiser to an exclusive contract.

Breitweiser is currently working on Marvel's Drax the Destroyer series with Keith Giffen. His previous credits include Agent X, Noble Causes and Phantom Jack.

"I was about an issue and a half into working on Drax when I had asked Marvel Editor, Andy Schmidt, what I could expect after the series wrapped up," Breitweiser said. "I was just trying to zero in on how open I needed to keep my options, and how active I needed to be in pursuing work from other companies. About a week later, and much to my surprise, Andy called me up and asked if I was interested in signing an exclusive.

"I was completely floored.

"Apparently he had been showing my artwork around the office, and from the top of editorial on down, the reaction was extremely positive. It was pretty surreal for a while. I mean, my book wasn't even close to coming out yet, and Joe Q(uesada) and the editorial staff felt strongly enough about my work that they didn't even need to wait for the fan's reaction to the artwork. I still remain extremely flattered, and feel very blessed to be able to do this job that I love so much."

Drax the Destroyer debuts later this month. Click on the thumbnails above for larger preview images.

What's next for Breitweiser?

"As far as the immediate future goes, Andy called me up to discuss my next project a couple of weeks ago," he said. "It is definitely going to be a HUGE step up for me, and I am extremely excited about it."

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The film rights to Alias Comics' Deal with the Devil have been optioned by independent producer David Tischman, an executive producer on Damn Nation"through MTV Films.

Here's how Alias describes the property, written and created by Mike S. Miller:

"Deal with the Devil is the story of Anthony Goodwin, a man who once had it all; family, faith, the respect and adoration of his peers, and the reputation as the best manhunter in FBI history. In his final case, his prey became his hunter, and his career took a turn for the worse as he was critically injured and the suspect vanished without a trace. But four years later, his nemesis returns to ask for his help, and the former detective is forced to make a choice: to help the man stop a dangerous copycat killer or to avenge the wrongs committed in the past."

"The relationship between detective Anthony Goodwin and serial killer Kevin Runyan is a fantastic twist on the buddy/action film," Tischman said. "I read the first issue and I knew Deal with the Devil had everything it needed to be a great movie."

"I couldn't be happier with the direction David is taking Deal with the Devil," said Miller. ³It's such a thrill to have a producer take the time and energy to turn your comic book into a movie treatment, and I can't wait to see it move through the various stages of development needed to get to the final cut."

Alias also announced that the trade paperback edition of the entire story of Deal with the Devil will be available later this fall at the retail price of $14.99. The 136-page book will feature all five issues of the story, as well as a new six-page prologue drawn by series artist Sherwin Schwartzrock.


* Above is a first look at the Doom Patrol's appearance in Cartoon Network's Teen Titans animated series. New episodes are expected in November. Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

* Fantastic Four placed 21st at the box office over the holiday weekend with an estimated $470,000, pushing its total to $152.4 million.

* Rachel Weisz, star of Constantine and the upcoming The Fountain, will be guest on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Sin City's and Lord of the Rings' Elijah Wood will be a guest on the show on Sept. 17.

* Speakeasy Comics has dropped the price of Ellium: Principles of Chaos, a 128-page book, to $14.99 from $15.99.

* Upcoming episodes of Tutenstein on NBC include "Green-Eyed Mummy" on Saturday and "Queen for a Day" on Sept. 17.

* Coming Wednesday: DC news -- and much more.

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

* For Wednesday, Aug. 31, including images from Smallville's season premiere, CLICK HERE.

* For Tuesday, Aug. 30, including Justice League Unlimited news and Cartoon Network's schedule of DC Comics show for Sepember, CLICK HERE. Save up to 75% off your new comics!

* For Monday, Aug. 29, including the Erica Durance/Margot Kidder panel at the Canadian National Comic Book Expo, CLICK HERE.

* For Sunday, Aug. 28, including Aspen Comics and Marvel's Cup O' Joe panels at the Canadian National Comic Book Expo, CLICK HERE.

* For Saturday, Aug. 27, including Smallville and Supergirl news from the Canadian National Comic Book Expo, CLICK HERE.

* For Friday, Aug. 26, including Mary Jane news, CLICK HERE.

* For Thursday, Aug. 25, including Ghost Rider movie news, CLICK HERE.

* For Wednesday, Aug. 24, including November solicitations from Devil's Due Publishing and Oni Press and Marvel Comics First Looks, CLICK HERE.

* For Tuesday, Aug. 23, including Top Cow news, CLICK HERE.

* For Monday, Aug. 22, including Transformers news, CLICK HERE.

* For Saturday, Aug. 20, including Ghost Rider movie news, CLICK HERE.

* For Friday, Aug. 19, including Vampirella news, CLICK HERE.

* For Thursday, Aug. 18, including Marvel news, CLICK HERE.

* For Wednesday, Aug. 17, including Marvel Legends action figure news, CLICK HERE.

* For Tuesday, Aug. 16, including Marvel Comics' and Image Comics' solicitations for November, CLICK HERE.

* For Monday, Aug. 15, including DC Comics' solicitations for November, CLICK HERE.

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