Folks may recall that a couple of years ago Marvel got tired of studios throughout Hollywood raking in the big bucks on adaptations of Marvel characters, while Marvel itself merely received a licensing fee. It sought to seize the means of production; and secured half a billion in venture capital to start its own studio. (Not to be confused with the animation studio Marvel had in the Eighties).
Now, as the studio's first flick prepares to roll out in May, the paper looks at the studio's prospects.
On the bad side, it's not a good time to be an independent studio, with New Line dessicating into a division of Warner Brothers. Plus, other studios have the rights to such cash cows as Spider-Man (Sony), X-Men (Fox) Fantastic Four (Fox again), etc. And although Marvel struck a deal with the WGA during the writers' strike, the strike still hurt the studio: It promised its investors 10 movies in five years, but expects to put out only one movie next year.
On the plus side, Marvel Studios has the rights to such characters as The Hulk (they apparently reverted after Ang Lee's version failed to set the world on fire), Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and numerous minor characters.
Further, the studio's May release, IRON MAN, looks to be spectacular. It's got great buzz, helped along by fantastic trailers. A hit first time out on plate would go a long way toward persuading folks to make theirs Marvel. 'Nuff said.