Marvel Entertainment today announced both the company’s fourth quarter and 2005 financial results. While you can read the report in full here, the thing that stands out is that Marvel has taken back the rights to The Hulk film franchise from Universal Pictures:
Marvel’s Chairman, Morton Handel, commented, “We are pleased with the financial results for 2005 and the strong cash flows generated by our operations. Several watershed events in 2005 have set the stage for the next phase of Marvel’s growth. We announced a slate of feature films to be produced by Marvel using non-recourse, third-party debt financing. We are actively working on scripts for Captain America, Ant-Man and Nick Fury and expect that one of these could be our first film in production next year with a release in 2008. In addition, the rights for Hulk and Iron Man reverted back to Marvel, which will enable the Company to secure a significantly higher portion of the economic benefit than under the previous licenses signed several years ago. In global licensing, we completed a video game extension agreement with Activision for our Spider-Man and X-Men properties and announced a multi-player online persistent universe game with Microsoft, both leaders in their respective industry segments. Lastly, early in 2006 we entered into a five-year toy license with Hasbro in the action figure and role play toy categories, which should extend the global reach of the Marvel brand.”
Marvel Studios’ Avi Arad added in the Earnings Conference Call that Universal will still distribute The Hulk sequel, but Marvel will make the movie, unlike the first film, which was made and distributed by Universal. Arad says that Marvel is “very aggresive in development on Hulk .”
The company stated the following as its upcoming slate:
X-Men 3, Fox – Currently editing, May 26, 2006 release
Marvel Character Feature Film Line-Up For 2007
Ghost Rider, Sony – Filming completed, currently in post-production, February 16, 2007 release
Spider-Man 3, Sony – In production, May 4, 2007 release
Fantastic Four 2, Fox – Director, In scripting, July 4, 2007 release
Marvel Character Feature Film Development Pipeline (Partial List)
Wolverine, Fox – TBD
Hulk 2, TBD – TBD
Iron Man, TBD – TBD
Thor, TBD – TBD
The Punisher 2, Lions Gate – TBD
Film Projects Included in the Marvel Film-Backed Credit Facility
Ant-Man, The Avengers, Black Panther, Captain America, Cloak & Dagger, Doctor Strange, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Power Pack and Shang-Chi. The first film is anticipated for release in 2008.
Marvel Character Animated Direct-to-Video Projects in Development
Partnership with Lionsgate to develop, produce and distribute original animated DVD features. Four projects in 2D/3D format are in production with the first releases slated for 2006. Titles include: Ultimate Avengers (released February 21, 2006), Ultimate Avengers 2, Iron Man and Doctor Strange.
Marvel Character Animated TV Projects in Development
Fantastic Four: Partnership with Moonscoop SAS (formerly Antefilms Productions) to produce an original animated television series based on the Fantastic Four. Twenty-six, 30-minute 2D/3D animated episodes are planned with initial TV airings in 2006.
Wolverine: In development to produce 26 episodes.
Iron Man: In development to produce 26 episodes.
Marvel Character Live Action TV Projects in Development
Alter Ego; Blade, premiering on Spike TV in 2006; Skrull Kill Krew.
2006 Video Game Release
Activision, X-Men 3 – 1H 2006
Source: Marvel Entertainment