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Comics2Film Wrap for April 9th, 2003

GHOST RIDER

After shepherding the hit comic book movie "Daredevil" to theatersthis year, director Mark Steven Johnson is going back to the Marvel library todirect "Ghost Rider." That's the word from today's Variety

Nicolas Cage is still attached to star in the flaming vehicle, which isgreenlit to roll cameras late this year or early next year. Johnson will firstrewrite Shane Salerno's draft of the script about a motorcyclist who pacts witha demon of vengeance in order to save the woman he loves.

The movie is set up at Columbia Pictures and Crystal Sky.

"Daredevil" producers Gary Foster (Johnson's partner at HorseshoeBay Productions) and Avi Arad (Marvel chief) will produce "GhostRider" along with Crystal Sky's Steven Paul.

 

TUTENSTEIN

Discovery Kids will make an announcement concerning it's new cartoon lineupon NBC soon according to MediaWeek.com. The announcement will make specific mention of Jay Stephens' patchworkmummy-boy "Tutenstein" as well as another new series called"Kenny the Shark."

MediaWeek provided this description for "Tutenstein": The story of amegalomaniacal 10-year-old mummy who is awakened and tries to reclaim his statusas ruler of the world. Authentic Egyptian lore permeates the show's details, butnot in a heavy-handed way. 

"It's unfunny if you take time out to load inEgyptian content," says MarjorieKaplan, senior vice president/general manager of Discovery Kids, "but it's funny that Tutenstein'sstomach is growling in its canopic jar."

The new series will debut on the NBC Saturday morning segment and then re-runon the Discovery Kids cable channel a week later.

 

BULLETPROOF MONK

He may be bulletproof but he's not germ-proof. Because of that, the HollywoodReporter reports that big-screen superhero Chow Yun-Fat will not be headingto Hollywood for the premier 'Bulletproof Monk' today.

Chow lives in Hong Kong, a city recently stricken by the outbreak of thedeadly Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (a.k.a. SARS). The article does notindicate that Chow actually has the disease, but is merely heeding travelwarnings issued by the World Health Organization as well as warnings issued byhis wife.

Readers who caught Friday'sQ & A with the actor know that when Chow's wife Jasmine gives an order,the actor follows it.

 

HULK

From a press release: Marvel Enterprises, Inc. and Universal Studios ConsumerProducts Group, have built a massive worldwide licensing program for the June 20 releaseof one of the summer's most anticipated movie events - Universal Pictures'"TheHulk." With a roster of more than 300 licensees worldwide consisting of industryleaders including Toy Biz Worldwide, Harper Collins, Upper Deck Entertainmentand Vivendi Universal Games, unique products based on this larger-than-lifeproduction will be breaking onto retail shelves around the world this summer.

"'The Hulk' is one of the most highly anticipated movies for this summerand certainly one of the most high-profile Marvel movies ever to be released.The merchandising program already established for 'The Hulk' is larger than thelicensing program that was in place for 'Spider-Man' last year, making it ourlargest licensing program for a theatrical release to date," said RussBrown, Executive Vice President, Consumer Products, Promotions & MediaSales. "The potential success of this program has already started to berealized with the overwhelming sales of Toy Biz Worldwide's Hulk toy line, whichcontinues to track as well or better than last year's top-selling Spider-Manmerchandise. We are optimistic that all of the Hulk-based merchandise will havesimilar success."

Tim Rothwell, SVP, Universal Studios Consumer Products Group added,"From a retail perspective, The Hulk has dominant positioning at everymajor retailer worldwide kicking off this summer and moving through Holiday2003. Not often does a brand have such an unprecedented global appeal andworldwide acceptance as The Hulk does, from licensing to promotions toretail."

Leading The Hulk merchandise barrage is master toy licensee, Toy BizWorldwide, which is producing the complete, highly-articulated action figureline as well as several must-have accessories including the already top-sellingElectronic Hulk Hands. The Hulk products have already started hitting retailshelves. A complete licensee list is available upon request.

The Hulk licensing program is one of the biggest campaigns in Marvel'shistory and follows on the heels of a banner year for the Company's licensingdivision in 2002 as net sales increased 99% to $79.6 million from $40 million in2001 (as recently reported in Marvel's fourth quarter and year-end December 31,2002 report).

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