Official Press Release
Santa Monica, April 5, 2004 –Lions Gate Films, a division of Lions Gate Entertainment (AMEX and TSX: LGF) and Marvel Enterprises (NYSE: MVL) will celebrate the premiere of the new comic book adaptation The Punisher with a special giveaway reprint of Amazing Spider-Man #129, the 1974 Marvel Comic book that featured The Punisher's first appearance. Participating theatres will give away one comic book with one paid admission to The Punisher, while supplies last. The original Spider-Man #129 is a collector's item and sells for over $900.00 on eBay. The Lions Gate special edition marks the first time the book has been reprinted.
Published in February 1974, Amazing Spider-Man #129 introduced The Punisher as a former Marine waging a one-man war on society's most heinous criminals. Deceived by the villainous Jackal, the Punisher has targeted Spider-Man as a threat to the city – and nearly kills him. Ultimately, the Jackal's plot to eliminate both Spider-Man and the Punisher is exposed and the Punisher and Spider-Man recognize one another as compatriots, parting ways to continue their fight on behalf of ordinary citizens.
"We wanted to celebrate the premiere of The Punisher in a way that specifically honored the character's comic book roots and acknowledged his many fans," says Tom Ortenberg, President of Lions Gate Films Releasing. "As a film, The Punisher harks back to the classic action films of the 1970s, so it made perfect sense to re-print the 1974 comic that started it all."
Remarks Avi Arad, the film's producer and CEO of Marvel Studios, "From that first appearance in Spider-Man #129, Marvel readers responded very strongly to The Punisher, so much so that he earned his own comic. We think the movie The Punisher – not to mention Tom Jane's incredible performance – is going to make an equally lasting impression."
The Punisher is the story of Frank Castle, a former Delta Force operative who faces his toughest battle when his family is violently wrested from him. Castle's quest for justice transforms him into The Punisher, a flesh-and-blood superhero who has no superpowers to combat the evil he sees – only his fierce intelligence, his years of combat experience and, above all, his iron determination to avenge those wronged by society's villains. The Punisher marks the directorial debut of Jonathan Hensleigh, renowned screenwriter of genre blockbusters The Rock, Armageddon and Die Hard: With a Vengeance. The film stars Tom Jane (61*, Deep Blue Sea) as Frank Castle, the Punisher, squaring off against superstar John Travolta (Pulp Fiction, Face/Off) as the story's formidable villain. Produced by Marvel Studios' CEO Avi Arad (The Hulk, Spider-Man, X-Men) and producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Hulk, Aliens, Terminator2), the film will be released nationwide on April 16th.
About Lions Gate Entertainment:
Lions Gate Entertainment is the leading diversified independent producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment and video-on-demand content, and its prestigious and prolific library of 8000+ titles is the largest in the indie world. The Lions Gate brand name is synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the globe.
About Marvel Enterprises:
Marvel Enterprises, Inc. is a character-based entertainment company with a proprietary library of over 4,700 characters. Its library of characters includes Spider-Man, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Daredevil, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Thor, Silver Surfer, Iron Man, Dr. Strange and Ghost Rider, among others. Its business is divided into three integrated and complementary operating segments: Marvel Licensing, Marvel Publishing and Toy Biz. The licensing segment relates to the licensing of, or joint ventures involving, Marvel's characters for use in a wide variety of products, including toys, electronic games, apparel, accessories, footwear, collectibles and novelties, as well as in feature films and television programs. The publishing segment creates and publishes comic books and trade paperbacks principally in North America. Toy Biz designs, develops, markets and distributes a limited line of toys to the worldwide marketplace.