[Editor's Note: Look for an in-depth interview with Scott Rosenberg later today on CBR News]
[Note: JMS e-mailed CBR News to clarify that the option on "Rising Stars," with MGM, ran out a year ago.]Official Press Release
Los Angeles, CA (December 13, 2005) – Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, David Lee and Steven Squillante, partners of IDG Films, Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, chairman of Platinum Studios, which controls the world's largest independent library of comic book characters, and Arclight Films have announced that they have arranged financing to bring the Top Cow Productions' Witchblade comic book character to the big screen. Production will begin in 2006 on two feature films, to be shot back-to-back, based on the best-selling action/fantasy comic book, which also earned a loyal following as a TNT television series.
Witchblade will be produced through IDG Films, Relativity Media and Platinum Studios, in association with Top Cow Productions; Arclight Films will handle foreign sales. Producers are Relativity principals Ryan Kavanaugh and Lynwood Spinks, Platinum Studios chairman Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, and IDG Films general partners Steven Squillante and David Lee. Executive producing is Top Cow founder Marc Silvestri and Arclight Films' Gary Hamilton and Harrison Kordestani. Co-producers are Top Cow president Matt Hawkins and Platinum executives Jay Burns and Aaron Severson. Attorney Steve Saltzman negotiated on behalf of IDG Films.
Witchblade follows the story of a detective who comes into possession of a mystical and powerful weapon that she uses to fight crime and evil. Along with its short but successful run on TNT, where it received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series, Witchblade has earned countless fans worldwide as a beloved comic book series. Printed in 21 languages and distributed in 55 countries, Witchblade is listed among Wizard Magazine's top ten best comic book characters of all time alongside Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, also winning "Best Female Character in a Comic" at the Wizard Fan Awards for three years. Witchblade has sold well over ten million comics worldwide, with licensed product including action figures, clothing, lithographs, calendars, masks and trading cards.
"We are obviously very excited about this project," stated Relativity's Ryan Kavanaugh. "The large and loyal fan base that exists for Witchblade, both in the U.S. and worldwide, is a tremendous platform upon which to expand its popularity to film. We look forward to the opportunity of working with IDG, Platinum and Top Cow to make it happen."
"IDG Films is pleased and excited to be in business with Ryan and Scott on a property as significant as Witchblade. Bringing this type of production to China will help to showcase China as a major producer of content for worldwide consumption," said David Lee of IDG Films.
"We know that shooting a movie and its sequel back-to-back is rare, but Witchblade is in good company," added Platinum Studios' Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, responsible for bringing the Men In Black franchise to Sony. "Look at Lord of the Rings, The Matrix or, more recently, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3. When you have a property that you have a lot of faith in, it can really pay off."
"We are extremely pleased that Platinum Studios, IDG Films and Relativity are bringing Witchblade to the big screen – twice! We know they will do a remarkable job," said Top Cow founder Marc Silvestri. "Top Cow is the most successful independent comics publisher in the past ten years, landing the only original properties of any comic book publisher (not spin-offs or licenses) at the number one position in the sales charts."
In a recent deal, Platinum Studios has acquired the exclusive rights to develop Top Cow's extensive library of comic book characters for film and television. Platinum Studios continues expanding upon its huge slate of comic-to-film related projects. A number of Platinum Studios' and Top Cow's comic books are set up at most of the major studios, including Meet the Haunteds at NBC/Universal, Cowboys & Aliens at Sony, Unique at Disney, Mal Chance and The Darkness at Miramax, Wanted at Universal, Inferno at Warner Brothers, Rising Stars at MGM and Fathom at Fox, as well as a multi-picture pact with financier Gold Circle.
Relativity Media, LLC is a financing, consulting and production company that utilizes both traditional and non-traditional channels in order to raise production and distribution funds, both for major studios and independent production entities. To date, Relativity has structured and consummated more than $2 billion in production slate financings. It most recently financed and co-produced two of Mark Canton's films, George Romero's Land of the Dead (Universal) and Full of It (New Line).
IDG Films, a new division of the world's leading technology media company, International Data Group, is a film production company that combines investment, development, and production into a single entity. Principals have wide-ranging backgrounds in the entertainment industry ranging from finance, development, and production of feature films, direct-to-television movies, and miniseries, as well as extensive experience in venture capital, including setting up IDGVC, the first American venture capital fund in the Chinese market. IDG Films has offices in Beijing and Los Angeles.
About Platinum Studios:
Platinum Studios is an entertainment company that controls the world's largest independent library of comic book characters, which it adapts and produces for film, television and all other media. Platinum Studios' library contains more than 2,500 characters and a full range of genres and styles that have appeared in hundreds of millions of comics worldwide. In recently closed deal, Platinum Studios has acquired the exclusive rights to develop Top Cow's extensive library of comic book characters for film and television. Platinum recently acquired the rights to Europe's largest creator-owned comic book syndicate, Hexagon Comics, adding hundreds of characters and over 50 years of publishing history to its already massive library.
About Top Cow Productions:
Top Cow was founded in 1992 and publishes its line of comic books in 21 languages in over 55 different countries. The company has launched 20 franchises (18 original and 2 licensed) in the industry's Top 10, seven at #1, a feat accomplished by no other publisher in the last two decades. Its flagship franchise Witchblade was TNT's #1 original film of 2000. Virtually all of Top Cow's other properties are in development as feature films, live action television or animation. Top Cow has also successfully licensed and merchandised its franchises into toys, statues, clothing, lithographs, puppets, posters, magnets, shot glasses, lighters, lunch pails, wall scrolls, mouse pads, die cast cars, calendars, Christmas ornaments, Halloween masks, trading cards, standees, video games and role playing games.
About Arclight Films:
Arclight Films was founded by Gary Hamilton as an international sales company, but has steadily grown into a full-service production, sales and distribution company that encompasses theatrical, television and home video. The company currently has offices in Los Angeles, London, Sydney, Melbourne, Toronto and Hong Kong. Films that will be released under the Arclight banner include Lord of War, starring Nicolas Cage, Ethan Hawke and Jared Leto; the upcoming teen comedy Material Girls, starring Hilary and Haley Duff; Mini's First Time, a dark comedy starring Nikki Reed, Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson and Carrie-Anne Moss, produced by Kevin Spacey; and Come Early Morning, starring Ashley Judd.