Marvel Enters Made-for-DVD Market Through Lions Gate

Marvel Enterprises and Lions Gate Entertainment announced today that they have entered into an agreement to develop, produce and distribute original animated DVD features based on certain characters within the Marvel Universe. Under the terms of the arrangement, Marvel and Lions Gate plan to commence production immediately on eight original animated projects in either 2-D or 3-D format with the first title expected to be released by Lions Gate in late 2005. The announcement was made by Lions Gate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer and Avi Arad, Chairman and CEO Marvel Studios.

“More than $2 billion in DVDs based on Marvel characters have been sold and Marvel’s animated television projects have been very successful, so this is a natural evolution for the company,” said Arad. “Lions Gate has been a great partner for us and this new venture will further solidify the Marvel name as one of the preeminent brands in entertainment.”

Feltheimer added, “This deal reflects the next chapter in our ongoing relationship with Marvel. The Marvel Universe maintains an outstanding and loyal fan base that craves fresh material featuring Marvel’s Super Heroes. We’re confident that we can take Marvel’s extensive library of popular characters with compelling storylines and create action-packed, appealing animated made-for-DVD movies.”

Under terms of the agreement, Lions Gate will provide Marvel with licensing fees for character rights and fund all of the development, production, distribution and marketing for each title. Marvel will spearhead creative development and production. After each animated project’s home video window expires, the companies may exploit the movies in other entertainment media domestically and internationally including television and Video On Demand (VOD). Both companies will share in the profits from the venture.

Marvel will choose from a roster of leading production partners, including Lions Gate’s own animation production partner, CineGroupe. Each animated picture will have a minimum running time of 66 minutes and specific titles and characters chosen for animation will be announced at a later date.

The two companies noted that the agreement builds on the current theatrical relationship between Lions Gate and Marvel. As announced in February 2004, Lions Gate has been granted licenses to develop, produce and distribute theatrical film releases based upon two popular Marvel properties — Iron Fist and Black Widow — and Lions Gate and Marvel already plan to make a sequel to their April 2004 release The Punisher.

Source: Lions Gate Entertainment