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Coming soon to a theater near you?

MARVEL COMICS SUPERHEROES coming to a theater near you?
July 13, 1999

According to a recent interview by Variety's Michael Fleming with MCG's president-CEO Avi Arad, several new screen deals are in the works in which Marvel has moved forward on projects that languished when creative decisions were made by bankruptcy judges.

"Look at our library: It is an endless supply of protectable characters with huge followings," said Arad. "With 3,500 characters at least, it is the only content library of its kind in terms of sheer volume, depth of characters and range, from superheroes to horror to comedy and romance."

Some of the current developments in the "Marvel Goes Hollywood" connection involve the agreement to renew Universal Studio's option for the screen rights to "The Incredible Hulk" with scripter Mike France and producer Gale Anne Hurd attached. Also in the works with Universal is a live-action version of "Prime" with Doug Chamberlin and Chris Webb ("Toy Story 2") scripting and Chuck Gordon producing.

Over at Fox, Marvel Comics are the hot topic with the recent start of the X-Men production starring Patrick Stewart. The "Fantastic Four" project has gotten a jump-start with the recent addition of director Raja Gosnell ("Home Alone 3" and "Never Been Kissed") with Chris Columbus and 1492 partner Michael Barnathan producing. Also, scribe Andrew Kevin Walker ("Seven") has been hired to script the "Silver Surfer," about a metallic surfer out to protect Earth from the evil Galactus.

Other deals in negotiations are with producers Mark Gordon and Gary Levinsohn ("Saving Private Ryan" at Mutual Film) for "Captain America" and Sony Pictures Entertainment is interested in the rights to "Dr. Strange," to be scripted by David Goyer ("Blade"). Wesley Snipes, who starred as "Blade," is set for its upcoming sequel for New Line and may appear as another Marvel hero -- Ta'Cahla AKA "Black Panther," while Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff") is developing the undersea saga "Namor," with Sam Hamm possibly scripting.

While hardly on the "fast-track," two of Marvel's mainstream characters, "Iron-Man" and "Daredevil," may also see some screen time. There are talks that both Nicolas Cage and Tom Cruise have shown interest in portraying the character of Tony Stark (the man behind the iron suit) and both Chris Columbus and Carlo Carlei have been mentioned as possible producers of the "Man W/O Fear."

On a side note, this webmaster has been in touch with Avid Arad, as well as, the offices of LA-based Marvel film exec, Matt Edelman, regarding the Daredevil script. While the official DD film is still in limbo, an agent has spoken with this office in regards to my DD spec, BLIND JUSTICE, and has sent a similar script for their review (due to certain legalities, their office cannot read BJ). If you would like to read BJ please go here.

Though still brushing off the dust from it's Chapter 11 filing, Arad seems very optimistic for the future of Marvel in which they have relieved themselves of all non-essential elements. Variety columnist Fleming quoted Arad as saying, "Our three big profit centers are publishing, toys and licensing, the latter of which encompasses movies, TV and videogames. "You jump-start things with an event movie, follow up with a TV show for continuity and fashion a high quality videogame. When the three are combined and introduced successfully, that creates a very powerful brand."

Stay tuned to this website for more news regarding the "Marvel Goes Hollywood" connection.

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