• Yow, lots of Marvel movie news percolatin’ out there. Claude Brodesser-Akner reports that Columbia is the first studio to run up against the ticking time bomb of Marvel’s reversion clause. That is, rights to many of the film franchises Marvel has at other (i.e. not Disney) studios, such as Spider-Man, X-Men, Daredevil, and so on, will revert to Disney/Marvel if the studio doesn’t make a movie for a few years. And so, to hold onto Ghost Rider, Columbia has to get cracking on making a sequel, even if it means toughing it out without Nicolas Cage:
Insiders tell us that Columbia is asking Marvel for an extension. (Asking, pleading, it’s a fine line.) But time is running out. Cage has spoken about his desire to make a second Ghost Rider; the issue is whether his schedule will be free before the deadline. Disney is also hoping to get him for a third National Treasure with Jerry Bruckheimer, which could be shooting as early as this fall and would presumably earn the star a hefty paycheck. And considering Cage’s well-documented money troubles, that cash may trump his deep love of comic books. But Columbia (which would not comment on this story) desperately needs a blockbuster for 2011, now that Spider-Man has been pushed to 2012 — not to mention that no exec wants to lose a moneymaking franchise to a rival studio
Okay, we get it — Columbia needs a blockbuster. So, now, why are they holding onto Ghost Rider? BA-DUM-CHING.
• It seems that Edgar Wright is gonna join the director’s comics two-fer club (like Zack Snyder and Mark Steven Johnson) by making ANT-MAN once he’s done with Scott Pilgrim:
“['Ant-Man'] isn’t one of their biggest properties,” related Wright. “It’s not like a tentpole deadline. It’s more like me and Kevin [Feige] [saying], ‘Let’s make a really good script.’ We’ve always agreed on that — ‘Lets make a good script that works, that’s all about a great genre film, and that isn’t necessarily relying on anything else.'”
• ANT-MAN is supposed to be a wacky, goofy kinda superhero movie, which would tie in to this story from Devin Faraci, explaining that , Marvel wants to get costs under control by making low budget movies that can easily recoup using obscure characters — see, KICK-ASS is going to be a pioneer after all:
Marvel Studios is currently taking meetings with writers and directors to work on small scale movies based on some of their third tier characters. The movies would cost in the range of 20 to 40 million dollars (very small when we’re talking studio films) and would allow them to take risks with less obvious characters and with interesting talent.
Filmmakers are being offered their pick of characters whose names are only familiar to comic fans. Properties like Dr. Strange, Ka-Zar, Luke Cage, Dazzler and Power Pack are among the many that are being tossed around right now. And the attitude seems to be that Marvel is open to bringing any of their characters to the screen at the right price point.
A DAZZLER movie? Ka-Zar? Is this a step forward or a step back? Does anyone remember Roger Corman’s FANTASTIC FOUR and Dolph Lundgren as The Punisher? If you do, they are surely the kind of memories that leave you waking up, in a cold sweat, screaming into the night.
On the other hand, this could be very good news indeed for — dare we say it —