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Marvel Studios
Genre Motion Pictures, Live-Action and Animation
Founded 1993
Founder(s) Avi Arad
Key people Kevin Feige, President of Production
Industry Entertainment
Products Films
Services Licensing
Production
Owner(s) The Walt Disney Company
Parent Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Studios is an American television and motion picture studio based in Manhattan Beach, California.

Contents

Background

Marvel Studios was formed in the late 1980s following Revlon CEO Ronald Perelman's acquisition of parent company Marvel Entertainment. This resulted in the re-entry of Marvel into the motion picture and television business.

Marvel Studios was formerly headed by Avi Arad from May 13, 1993, (as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer), until October 1998, when he took on other duties within the company such as executive producer for the studios’ film output.[1] A $525 million non-recourse debt financing for up to ten films produced using Marvel was completed in September 2004. In 2005, Michael Helfant joined the studio as President and Chief Operating Officer.[2] In March 2007, David Maisel was named Chairman and Kevin Feige was named President of Production as Iron Man began filming.[3] In 2008, Marvel Studios signed a lease with Raleigh Studios to host its headquarters and production offices and film the next four movies on the studios’ slate, including Iron Man 2 and Thor, at their Manhattan Beach facilities.[4]

On December 31, 2009, The Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Studios' parent company Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. Both Marvel and Disney have stated that the merger won't affect any preexisting deals with other film studios for the time being[5], although Disney said they will consider distributing future Marvel projects with their own studios once the current deals expire.[6]

History

Marvel Entertainment's initiative

In the late 1970s up to the early 1990s, Marvel Entertainment Group sold options to studios to produce films based on Marvel Comics characters. Spider-Man, one of Marvel’s superheroes, was optioned in the late 1970s, and rights reverted back to Marvel in April 1996 without a film having been produced. From 1986 to 1996, most of Marvel’s major characters had been optioned, including the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Daredevil, Hulk, Silver Surfer, and Iron Man, with no films produced.[7] In opposition, Marvel's rival DC Comics had success licensing its properties Superman and Batman into blockbuster films.[8] In August 1996, Marvel’s chairman Ronald Perelman decided to create Marvel Studios, filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise money to finance the creation. Marvel sold its own stocks and stocks from Perelman’s stock in Toy Biz, which Marvel had started and took public in February 1995.[7] Toy Biz filed an offering of 7.5 million shares with a closing price of $20.125 at the time, making the offering worth approximately $150 million. Toy Biz sought to sell 1 million shares, and Marvel sought to sell 2.5 million shares.[9]

Jerry Calabrese, the president of Marvel Comics Group, and Avi Arad, the CEO of animation-based Marvel Productions and a director of Toy Biz, were assigned tandem control of Marvel Studios. Under Calabrese and Arad, Marvel sought to control pre-production by commissioning scripts, hiring directors, and casting characters, providing the package to a major studio partner for filming and distribution. Arad said of the goal for control, "When you get into business with a big studio, they are developing a hundred or 500 projects; you get totally lost. That isn't working for us. We're just not going to do it anymore. Period."[7] Marvel Studios arranged a seven-year development deal with 20th Century Fox to cover markets in the United States and internationally.[10] In the following December, Marvel Entertainment was threatened with bankruptcy and went through a reorganization plan, including Marvel Studios as part of its strategic investment.[11] By 1997, Marvel Studios was actively pursuing various film productions based on Marvel characters, including the eventual films X-Men (2000), Daredevil (2003) and Fantastic Four (2005). Unproduced projects included Prince Namor, based on the character Namor and to be directed by Philip Kaufman, and Mort the Dead Teenager, based on the comic book of the same name and written by John Payson and Mort creator Larry Hama.[12]

Forerunners: Blade and X-Men

The first film licensed by Marvel Studios was Blade, based on the vampire hunter Blade. The film was directed by Stephen Norrington and starred Wesley Snipes as Blade. It was released on August 21, 1998, grossing $70,087,718 in the United States and Canada and $131,183,530 worldwide.[13] Blade was followed by X-Men, which was directed by Bryan Singer and was released on July 14, 2000. X-Men grossed $157,299,717 in the United States and Canada and $296,250,053 worldwide.[14] The Marvel films Blade and X-Men demonstrated that blockbuster films could be made out of comic book characters not familiar to the general public.[15]

Leading up to X-Men's release, Marvel Studios negotiated a deal with then-functional Artisan Entertainment, successful with the low-budget The Blair Witch Project, to give the studio rights to 15 Marvel characters including Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Iron Fist, and Deadpool. With the deal at the time, 24 Marvel properties were then in various stages of development. Brian Cunningham, editor of Wizard comic book magazine, believed that Avi Arad was successful in organizing strategic alliances and exercising fiscal responsibility in multimedia expansion. Cunningham said of Arad’s leadership of the studio following its parent company’s near-bankruptcy, "The fact the X-Men is primed to be the biggest movie of the summer speaks volumes about the turnaround for Marvel. From my observation, he's focused on a lot more in diversifying Marvel, doing things that proliferate Marvel characters in the mainstream." Arad sought to protect Marvel’s image by serving as executive producer in all Marvel film productions and being responsible for crossover marketing between Marvel properties. Arad had properties set up at different studios to create momentum so one studio would not cannibalize efforts with one property for the sake of another.[16] By 2001, the success of Marvel Entertainment’s Ultimate Marvel comics created leverage in Hollywood for Marvel Studios, pushing more properties into development.[17]

The next blockbuster film from Marvel Studios was Spider-Man, directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man. The film was released on May 3, 2002, grossing $403,706,375 in the United States and Canada and $821,708,551 worldwide.[18] The early success of Spider-Man led the film's studio to issue a seven-figure advance for a sequel. Arad spoke of the deal, "Movies make sequels. Therefore, it's a big economic luxury to know that a movie's going to get a second and third. This is a business of precedence."[19]

In producing Marvel films in the 2000s, Avi Arad sought to capture the superheroes’ internal conflicts. According to The New York Times, "Mr. Arad's great accomplishment – and it is one, given the difficulties in transferring any kind of printed material to the big screen – is conveying what makes those heroes tick as characters... He works with the filmmakers to ensure that the heroes are conflicted, the villains motivated, the outcome shaded." In contrast to the original storylines of DC Comics’ Superman and Batman films, Marvel films was more directly inspired by its comics, copying from them set pieces, scenes, plots, and dialogue.[15]

Co-productions

Marvel Studio films produced with the assistance of other studios contain flipping images of various Marvel superheroes during the opening credits (Spider-Man film series, Daredevil, X2, Blade: Trinity, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, & X-Men Origins: Wolverine) while others have images of comics involving the namesake superhero(s) of that particular film (Hulk, both Fantastic Four films, The Punisher, X-Men: The Last Stand, Ghost Rider, etc.). The film Punisher: War Zone was associated with Marvel Knights, an offshoot production logo from Marvel Studios, based on the comic book imprint of the same name. Like the imprint, its films will be targeted towards mature audiences.

Year Film Director Distributor
1998 Blade Stephen Norrington New Line Cinema
2000 X-Men Bryan Singer 20th Century Fox
2002 Blade II Guillermo del Toro New Line Cinema
Spider-Man Sam Raimi Columbia Pictures
2003 Hulk Ang Lee Universal Studios
Daredevil Mark Steven Johnson 20th Century Fox
X2 Bryan Singer
2004 Spider-Man 2 Sam Raimi Columbia Pictures
Blade: Trinity David S. Goyer New Line Cinema
The Punisher Jonathan Hensleigh Lionsgate
2005 Fantastic Four Tim Story 20th Century Fox
Elektra Rob Bowman
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Brett Ratner
2007 Ghost Rider Mark Steven Johnson Columbia Pictures
Spider-Man 3 Sam Raimi
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Tim Story 20th Century Fox
2008 Punisher: War Zone Lexi Alexander Lionsgate
2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine Gavin Hood 20th Century Fox
In Development
TBA X-Men Origins: Wolverine sequel TBA 20th Century Fox
Deadpool
Venom Columbia Pictures

The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel Studios' self-produced films show the Marvel Studios logo with the accompanying comic book panels, but with "Studios" appearing under Marvel. In 2005, Variety reported that Marvel Studios would start producing their own films and distribute them through Paramount Pictures. With the ability to cross over their characters freely as they please, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has since dubbed the continuity that these films make up the "Marvel Cinematic Universe."[20][21] Now since August 31, 2009, as the Walt Disney Company has bought Marvel Entertaiment, some of the upcoming films in the future will be distributed by Marvel Studios' new parent distributor, Walt Disney Pictures.[22] The funding will come from a seven year $525 million revolving credit facility with Merrill Lynch.[23] Since the announcement, Marvel's film slate has expanded to include:

Year Film Director Distributor
2008 Iron Man Jon Favreau Paramount Pictures
The Incredible Hulk Louis Leterrier Universal Studios
2010 Iron Man 2[24] (Post-production) Jon Favreau Paramount Pictures
2011 Thor[24] (Filming) Kenneth Branagh
In development
Film Release date Notes Distributor
The First Avenger: Captain America July 22, 2011 Director Joe Johnston; Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely attached. Paramount Pictures
The Avengers[24] May 4, 2012 Screenwriter Zak Penn attached; Jon Favreau executive producer Paramount Pictures

TV series

Film Aired Notes Distributor
Mutant X October 6, 2001 – May 17, 2004

See also

References

  1. ^ Fritz, Ben; Steven Zeitchik (2006-05-31). "Marvel's 'X' man makes cushy exit". Variety. Reed Elsevier Inc.. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117944364.html?categoryId=13&cs=1. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  2. ^ "Michael Helfant Joins Marvel Studios as President & COO; Entertainment Industry Veteran to Oversee Operations of Marvel's Growing Entertainment Development and Production Activities". Business Wire. FindArticles.com. 2005-11-05. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2005_Nov_2/ai_n15769952?tag=rbxcra.2.a.1. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  3. ^ "Marvel Entertainment Names David Maisel as Chairman, Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige as President...". Business Wire. AllBusiness.com, Inc.. 2007-03-13. http://www.allbusiness.com/services/business-services/4303364-1.html. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  4. ^ "Marvel signs long-term lease with Raleigh". Hollywood Reporter. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.. Oct 6, 2008. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i3ccdd00902078c24c29844ae2fdb5908. Retrieved 11 November 2008. 
  5. ^ http://movies.ign.com/articles/101/1019890p1.html
  6. ^ http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aU_kuPju0Ngo
  7. ^ a b c Hass, Nancy (1996-08-11). "Marvel sets up division to put its own characters into movies". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). 
  8. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (2002-04-28). "Cool comic-book films: Golden age on silver screen for Marvel heroes". San Francisco Chronicle (Hearst Communications). 
  9. ^ "Marvel plans TV, movies for characters". South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Tribune Company). 1996-07-03. 
  10. ^ Benezra, Karen (1996-07-08). "Marvel wants to be a movie mogul". MediaWeek (VNU eMedia, Inc) 6 (28). 
  11. ^ Kramer, Farrell (1996-12-28). "Marvel, maker of sports cards, comics, files for bankruptcy". Fort Worth Star-Telegram (The McClatchy Company). 
  12. ^ Evenson, Laura (1997-05-18). "Comics' Superpower To Turn Season's Movies Into Box-Office Gold". San Francisco Chronicle (Hearst Communications). 
  13. ^ "Blade (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=blade.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  14. ^ "X-Men (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=xmen.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  15. ^ a b Levine, Robert (2004-06-27). "Does Whatever a Spider (and a C.E.O.) Can". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). 
  16. ^ Elder, Robert K (2000-07-16). "Superheroes go Hollywood". The Dallas Morning News (A. H. Belo). 
  17. ^ Massari, Paul (2001-12-02). "Marvel’s superheroes fight their way back from comic disaster". The Boston Globe (The New York Times Company). 
  18. ^ "Spider-Man (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo, LLC. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=spiderman.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  19. ^ Phan, Monty (2002-05-07). "$114M - What a ' Marvel -ous' Start". Newsday (Tribune Company). 
  20. ^ "Marvel Decade: Kevin Feige". Marvel. Marvel Entertainment. http://marvel.com/news/moviestories.10812.marvel_decade~colon~_kevin_feige. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  21. ^ "Marvel Aims For 4 Movies A Year, Leading To World Domination". io9. io9.com. http://io9.com/5279606/marvel-aims-for-4-movies-a-year-leading-to-world-domination. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  22. ^ Graser, Marc (Sep 29, 2008). "Paramount, Marvel extend pact". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117993058.html?categoryid=13&cs=1. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  23. ^ Waxman, Sharon (June 18, 2007). "Marvel Wants to Flex Its Own Heroic Muscles as a Moviemaker". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/18/business/media/18marvel.html. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  24. ^ a b c "Thor, Captain America and Avengers Updates". Coming Soon. 2008-09-29. http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=55128. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 

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