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Comics2Film Wrap for April 22nd, 2003

by  in Movie News, TV News Comment

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.