Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Variety reports a Ghost Rider sequel is on the way as well as a new Daredevil film and a Silver Surfer movie. Nicolas Cage is ready to become the famous flaming skull again. Here's the breakdown:

David Goyer is in early talks to create the story and supervise writers for a film expected to once again star Nicolas Cage, who played the highly flammable cyclist in the 2007 original.

Through a spokesperson, Goyer said he hadn’t signed on yet. But plans are already under way to base the sequel on a “Ghost Rider” script written years ago by Goyer, whose superhero work includes hit screen transfers of DC’s “Batman Begins” and Marvel’s “Blade” franchise. The original “Ghost Rider” was scripted by director Mark Steven Johnson.

“Ghost Rider” will be produced by former Marvel topper Avi Arad, Michael De Luca and Steven Paul, with Gary Foster executive producer.

The activity on “Ghost Rider” follows a flurry of activity on Marvel characters at almost every studio but Disney, which acquired Marvel Entertainment in a $4 billion deal.

Fox is: rebooting “Fantastic Four” with “Green Lantern” scribe Michael Green and producer Akiva Goldsman; mobilizing a “Wolverine” sequel and several “X-Men” spinoffs; is quietly developing a new version of “Daredevil” and working on a Silver Surfer film. Sony recently set James Vanderbilt to write the fifth and sixth installments of “Spider-Man,” and Universal continues work on “Sub-Mariner.” Paramount continues as distributor for “Iron Man 2” and several others expected to include “Thor” and “Captain America.”

The activity is necessary for those studios to keep the superhero properties. If the properties atrophy, they can be reclaimed by Marvel Entertainment, which happened with such properties as Dr. Strange, Black Panther and Iron Man, the latter of which languished at New Line before Marvel turned it into the self-financed blockbuster.

Those properties were repossessed by Arad when he ran Marvel from 1993-2007, when he left to start a film company with son Ari just after Marvel locked in its $525 million credit facility. Arad said he left because he was exhausted, and because he was convinced that his number two, Kevin Feige, was ready to take over. That belief is reinforced by Feige’s emergence as a possible replacement for Disney film topper Dick Cook, because he made a strong impression on Bob Iger during the Marvel deal making talks.

While the plethora of superheroes at other studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park has raised skepticism over Marvel’s acquisition price, Arad doesn’t see the $4 billion price tag as untoward. He said the number validated the vision that he and Ike Perlmutter had when they implored creditors to spurn a $350 million cash offer from Carl Icahn, when Marvel was in bankruptcy in the late 1990s. Arad argued at the time that interest by several studios in “Spider-Man” alone meant that the film could be a billion dollar enterprise. Since then, X-Men and Blade also joined that billion dollar club, and Iron Man is well on the way.

Arad—who is producing both Marvel’s “Ghost Rider” and “Spider-Man” at Columbia—said that on films that Disney doesn’t distribute, Marvel gets lucrative first dollar gross fees, and is well compensated for the use of its characters in the Universal theme park. The acquisition’s real upside, the library of Marvel characters, can be mined for decades, Arad said.

The Goyer-scripted “Blade” trilogy, Marvel’s first film success, is a good example.

“The character was virtually unknown, didn’t even have his own comic book, and had been part of `Tombs of Dracula,’” Arad said. “It tells you what can happen if you unleash a library with the right creative partners.”

Arad mentioned Dr. Strange, Nick Fury, Power Pack, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers as prime movie properties.

“I had this poster of the Marvel universe, with these beautifully drawn characters, and we used to say you could throw a dart, hit a character and make a hit movie under the Marvel brand,” Arad said. “There is long list yet to be unleashed. I think this will look like a smart deal over time, because Disney is a company that knows how to exploit a brand.”

While this is good news about a Daredevil reboot, I can't imagine a sequel to Ghost Rider being successful after that last film. It was movie filled with bad acting, cheesy special effects and pointing. All the characters pointed at each other in that film, so much so, that everyone in the theater noticed it. Let's hope they get these characters right this time around.


Keith said...

I hope they do a better job with Ghost Rider and Fantastic Four.

K and S said...

You and me both, Keith. You and me both.

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