Comics2Film Wrap for April 22nd, 2003

Tue, April 22nd, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

TV/Film
Rob Worley, Columnist

HAMMER OF THE GODS

The feature film rights for Michael Avon Oeming's comic "Hammer of the

Gods" has been picked up by Regency Enterprises according to today's Hollywood

Reporter.

Peter Wortmann and Bob Conte ("Who's Harry Crumb?", "The Black

Rock") are set to write the script. The pair will be collecting a mid-six

figure salary for it.

As Comics2Film reported in January, the movie will deviate from the comic

book significantly, instead following the adventures of a contemporary

21-year-old who is fated to save the Norse world in order to keep an evil force

from bleeding into the present day.

 

HULK TRAILER

Hulk dogs bite! Puny Banner change into Hulk! Hulk smash puny police car!

Hulk smash puny tank! Hulk smash puny helicopter! Hulk do super leap in air just

like comics!

The new trailer for "The Hulk" is online! Check it out at Apple.com.

 

SPIDER-MAN 2

Spider-Man

crews in New York were busy on Easter Sunday shooting in-costume stunt work.

Check out this gallery

of images on IMDB.com, including some shots of the web-slinger saving Aunt

May from God only knows what.

 

HELLBOY

Fans are still itching for that picture of Ron Perlman in "Hellboy"

makeup. For now they'll have to settle for a new batch of production stills and

design illustrations from the movie. Click over to the

official website.

The site now had design art for the aquatic Abe Sapien, a set called

"the Ice Cave" and Grigori's mecha glove. Fans can also get a close-up

look at that grainy image of Hellboy jumping, that appears on a tabloid paper in

the movie, as well as a good shot of Hellboy's big gun. 

In other HB news, a start-of-production press release issued in early March for

"Hellboy" named Victoria Smurfit ("Bulletproof Monk") as

playing Ilsa in the movie. However, Comics2Film/CBR News has confirmed that

BiddyHodson will play the role.

Counting

Down reported in early February that Hodson ("The Mists of

Avalon") was replacing Smurfit due to scheduling conflicts. The erroneous

press release caused some confusion when Smurfit was again named for the part.

Director Guillermo del Toro told C2F/CBR news that he has already

shot scenes with Hodson in the role of the Nazi femme fatale. 

 

SPIDER-MAN

As expected, yesterday Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judge Alexander

Williams III lifted the seal on the court documents regarding the Spider-Man

licensing case that Marvel has brought against Sony. Marvel issued the following

press release in the matter:

A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Monday denied a motion brought by Sony

Pictures Entertainment to seal proceedings in a lawsuit brought by Marvel

Characters, Inc., a subsidiary of Marvel Enterprises, Inc. concerning Marvel's

most popular hero, Spider-Man. Judge Alexander Williams III ruled Monday

afternoon that all aspects of Marvel's lawsuit will henceforth be entirely open

to the press and to the public.

On February 25, 2003, Marvel filed, temporarily under seal, a twelve-count

complaint against Sony. The lawsuit seeks more than $50 million in damages as

well as rescission of the License Agreement between Marvel and Sony and an

injunction against any further film or television production by Sony of

Spider-Man beyond the current sequel, "Spider-Man 2," which is already

in production. Marvel has asked to try its case to a jury.

The suit accuses Sony of fraud and of deliberately misleading Marvel by

failing to disclose its intent to misappropriate Spider-Man for itself to the

exclusion of Marvel. Marvel claims that Sony falsely represented that it offered

Marvel unique and unparalleled merchandising opportunities -- unlike any other

potential partner, but Sony never delivered on its false promises. The suit also

charges Sony with material breaches of the parties' License Agreement and

merchandising joint venture, and of wrongfully withholding millions of dollars

it owed to Marvel, by using "Hollywood accounting" practices and

refusing to provide critical financial information owed to Marvel.

"Sony's allegations that this dispute arose out of Marvel's allegedly

improper accounting is completely false," Carole Handler, one of Marvel's

attorneys, stated. "As Marvel's Complaint makes clear, Marvel is owed

millions of dollars by Sony, and the reason for this lawsuit is Sony's

appropriation of the Spider-Man character for itself. Marvel created the

popularity that ensured Sony's box office success and that Marvel Studios

contributed to that success."

Marvel also alleges that Sony engaged in restraints of trade to protect the

interests of affiliates such as Sony Electronics and Sony Interactive. The suit

also charges that Sony ignored contractual arrangements that protected Marvels'

ongoing licensing by failing to market movie merchandise only during limited

"windows" and by ignoring Marvel's "tie-breaker" rights when

disagreements arose over merchandise licenses.

"We allege that Sony has hijacked Spider-Man to promote and merchandise

other less popular characters," stated Ms. Handler. "Spider-Man is one

of the brightest stars in the Marvel universe. Disregard of Marvel's

intellectual property rights by a major studio cannot be condoned."

If the License Agreement between Sony and Marvel is cancelled, Sony will lose

the right to make movies based on Spider-Man after "Spider-Man 2."

More important, Sony's opportunity to build a long-running film franchise for

itself comparable to the James Bond films (Sony's unsuccessful attempt to

acquire that franchise for itself from MGM was defeated in federal court in

1998) will be in jeopardy. The first "Spider-Man" grossed $821 million

in worldwide box office receipts and, including its DVD sales, generated more

than $1.3 billion in revenue.

Judge Williams deferred any ruling on Sony's motion to refer the dispute to a

private judge within the auspices of the court system until more information was

placed before the Court.

The right to make a movie based on the popular Spider-Man character and

stories had been hotly contested in court for years before Sony and Marvel

executed a License Agreement in 1999 giving Sony the motion picture and

television rights to the character.

In the 1990's, six different studios went to court to claim those rights for

themselves. One of those studios was Sony. In January, 1999, another Superior

Court Judge, Aurelio Munoz, determined that the motion picture and television

rights belonged to Marvel.

Marvel's legal representation in this case is led by Carole E. Handler and

Pierce O'Donnell, O'Donnell & Shaeffer LLP, Los Angeles, California.

 

LXG (BY ANY OTHER NAME)

Last week we picked up on a report which stated that the upcoming

"League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" was not undergoing a last minute

title change (a la "X2: X-Men United"). Cinescape

followed up on the story both confirming it and also shedding some new light.

Anonymous sources tell Cinescape that the long title will officially stick,

but for promotional purposes Fox will start referring to the movie simply as

"The League."

 

SABRINA

Variety

reports that The WB Network is pulling the plug on what may have been the

longest-running comic book adaptation for TV. "Sabrina, The Teenage

Witch" will see it's last two episodes combined into a one-hour series

finale which will air this Thursday.

"Sabrina" enjoyed seven seasons on the air and 163 episodes. It

initially ran on ABC for four years before moving the The WB in fall of 2000.

Executive producer Paula Hart, mother of the show's star Melissa Joan Hart

said the cancellation surprised her due to the show's strong performance for the

network. She credits the show for being a launching foundation for the net's

other Friday comedies.

Never the less, the storyline for the season finale ties up many loose ends,

in anticipation of the series end.

CBR News

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