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  1. if they make a prequel, it should have qui-gon jinn as well as yoda
  2. Marvel to open film studio for comic-based films Thursday, April 28, 2005 By Merissa Marr, The Wall Street Journal NEW YORK -- When Marvel Enterprises Inc. sold the movie rights to its "Spider-Man" comics to Sony Pictures, it handed over a billion-dollar franchise in exchange for just a small share of the films' bounty. Determined not to miss another opportunity like that, Marvel, which has a sizable stable of untapped superheroes, is setting up a studio to make its own comic-book-based movies, and will distribute them through an exclusive deal with Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures. In a bold move for a Hollywood outsider, Marvel has amassed a half-billion-dollar war chest to make a slate of movies with budgets as high as $180 million, drawing on some of its 5,000 comic-book characters. Among the first of its superheroes headed for the silver screen: Captain America, the freedom-fighting super-soldier who carries a red, white and blue shield; and Nick Fury, an American version of James Bond who gains extraordinary longevity from an "infinity formula" age-##$%$#ing drug. For Marvel, the new studio is the latest step since its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1998 to extend its business beyond traditional comic-book publishing. The company now makes most of its profit from licensing its characters for toys, videogames and movies. Licensing its properties has limited the company's risk, but it has also limited its potential profits. While Marvel accepted that trade-off as it was building its business after emerging from bankruptcy proceedings, it has become increasingly hard to swallow as franchises like "Spider-Man," "Men in Black," and "X-Men" have spawned hugely successful sequels. "Spider-Man 2," for example, grossed $784 million at box offices world-wide. While Marvel says it has done extremely well from its partnership with Sony Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp. of Japan, analysts estimate it received just 5 percent of Sony's share of the box-office revenue and just over 1 percent of the DVD pie. Marvel won a better deal on the merchandising side after it sued Sony and improved the terms to a 75/25 revenue split with Sony from a 50/50 split. For Paramount Pictures, the new deal provides exposure to a film genre the studio has largely missed at a time when it is looking to reinvent itself under new Chief Executive Brad Grey. Paramount is shifting strategy to reach out to a broader cross-section of moviegoers. Its partnership with Marvel, Mr. Grey's first major deal since taking the reins last month, gives Paramount more traction in the lucrative youth market. "This is a no-brainer," Mr. Grey says of the deal. One major challenge: Marvel has already mined some of its most popular characters. In addition to "Spider-Man," Marvel has licensed its "X-Men" franchise to News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox, which has a third movie in the works for next year. Fox also is releasing a film based on Marvel's "Fantastic Four" characters this summer, while Universal Pictures rolled out another major Marvel franchise, "Hulk," in 2003. Marvel also did a deal last year with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. to make eight direct-to-video movies. Marvel insists it still has a wealth of characters to call on. Indeed, some studios have been chasing the rights to characters like Captain America and Nick Fury for years. Another popular comic that is expected to be part of the Paramount deal: "The Avengers," a crime-fighting group made up of Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and others. "We have many characters that fans have been waiting a long time for," said Avi Arad, chairman and CEO of the Marvel Studios division. In addition, Marvel can still use the Hulk, for example, in an "Avengers" movie, even though Universal previously made a stand-alone "Hulk" movie. While Marvel has never produced a movie on its own until now, Mr. Arad says that Marvel has been intimately involved in the 11 movies it has licensed to date -- from approving scripts to picking the actors. "We have a lot of experience at this, and there's no shortage of talent wanting to be involved in our projects," he says. To fund its slate, Marvel arranged a seven-year $525 million revolving credit facility with Merrill Lynch Commercial Finance Corp., secured against the movie rights to 10 comic-book characters, including Captain America. Paramount isn't putting up any production money; it will receive a fee for marketing and distributing an initial 10 movies, the first of which is expected to hit theaters in two years time. To ensure the maximum possible audience, none of the movies will be R-rated. Early last year, Mr. Arad hired David Maisel as his number two to work alongside him at Marvel Studios, with a mandate to explore ways for the company to make more money from its characters in Hollywood. Mr. Maisel had formerly worked with super-agent Michael Ovitz at CAA and Disney and had turned around a number of businesses. Taking note of the strong track record to date of the movies Marvel has licensed -- the 11 films have averaged $150 million in U.S. box-office sales, with the seven non-R-rated ones averaging $200 million -- Mr. Maisel advised Marvel to get into the business of making movies itself. Marvel wasn't comfortable taking all the risk, however. By bringing Paramount on board, it managed to secure financing from Merrill Lynch that didn't require the company to put up any cash and limited its risks to certain development and overhead costs. In addition to the profits from the movies and merchandising, Marvel will also take a producer fee. "This is a novel deal for Hollywood -- it's very unique that Marvel can get the financial upside from its films, without having to take any material financial risk," Mr. Maisel says. Attracted by Paramount's new management, Marvel first approached Mr. Grey about a deal a few days after he took the studio's helm in March. Mr. Grey, who has been searching for new material to beef up the studio's core brands, decided that a series of comic-book-based franchises would be an important addition. "This deal builds another major brand for Paramount," says Mr. Grey. The deal as it stands calls for Marvel's movies to be distributed through Paramount's main marketing and distribution operation. For Marvel, part of Paramount's appeal was the opportunity to capitalize on the wider media assets of its parent company, Viacom, which owns the MTV and Nickelodeon cable networks. Messrs. Arad and Maisel will run the new Marvel studio. Marvel said most of its movies would be live-action features, although it doesn't rule out animation. "Captain America" is expected to be the first live-action movie out the door; Mr. Arad said Marvel is already "eight months pregnant" in developing that story. Marvel said its decision to go it alone in Hollywood wouldn't affect its current licensing deals with other studios. "We will continue working with our partners -- we have a lot of children out there," Mr. Arad says. I cant believe this is true. Now we might see a crossover film in the future #US1#
  3. it would have been better if they put donkey kong in it
  4. One of the reasons I loved this movie was because Anakin was actually a badass. He wasn't the annoying little baby he was in episode 2. He was actually cool
  5. Who's your favorite? I like Qui-Gon Jinn
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