Studios, famous now for bringing us the successful “Blade,” “X-Men” and “Spider-Man” franchises,
actually controls the licenses of more than 4,700
proprietary characters, including Captain America,
Ant-Man, Black Panther, Power Pack, Longshot,
Deadpool and Morbius the Living Vampire. Upcoming
Marvel projects include:
a sci-fi actioner about attorney Matt Murdock,
whose childhood encounter with a radioactive
truck left him blind but also with the super-acute
hearing, touch and smell that he secretly uses
to pursue a career as a crimefighter. Ben Affleck
stars in the Feb. 14 Fox release.
2” is a sci-fi actioner about
an amnesiac mutant drawn closer to his past
when an escaped master of magnetism helps the
world’s most powerful telepath halt a
plot to wipe out the planet’s mutants.
Returnees from part one include director Bryan
Singer (“The Usual Suspects,” “Apt
Pupil”) and screenwriter David Hayter
(“The Scorpion King”), as well
as actors Hugh Jackman (“Kate & Leopold”)
as Logan, Patrick Stewart (“Star Trek:
Nemesis”) as Xavier, Ian McKellen (the “Lord
of the Rings” series) as Magneto, Famke
Janssen (“I Spy”) as Dr. Jean “Marvel
Girl” Grey, James Marsden (“Sugar & Spice”)
as Scott “Cyclops” Summers, Halle
Berry (“Die Another Day”) as Ororo “Storm” Munroe,
Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (“Femme Fatale”)
and Bruce Davidson (“High Crimes”)
as Mystique, Shawn Ashmore (“Strike”)
as Bobby “Iceman” Drake, and Anna
Paquin (“25th Hour”) as Marie “Rogue” D’Ancanto.
Newcomers to the series include Alan Cumming
(“The Anniversary Party”) as Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner,
Katie Stuart (“Masterminds”) as
Katherine “Shadowcat” Pryde, Brian
Cox (“The Bourne Identity,” “the
Ring,” “Adaptation,” “25th
Hour”) as Stryker, Aaron Stanford (“Tadpole”)
as Pyro, and Kelly Hu (“Scorpion King,” “Cradle
2 the Grave”) as the mutant supervillain
Deathstrike. Fox has marked May 2 as the spot
for the sequel’s release.
Hulk” is, yes, a sci-fi actioner
that retells the tale of Bruce Banner, a scientist
transformed by gamma radiation into an impossibly
strong green man. Like “X-Men,” “Daredevil” and “Spider-Man,” it’s
based on the character created by Stan Lee.
The “Ice Storm”-”Ride with
the Devil”-”Crouching Tiger, Hidden
Dragon” team of director Ang Lee and
screenwriter James Schamus reunite. The cast
includes Eric Bana (“Black Hawk Down”)
as Banner, as well as Jennifer Connelly (“A
Beautiful Mind”), Sam Elliot (“We
Were Soldiers”), Nick Nolte (“The
Golden Bowl”), Brooke Langton (“The
Replacements”) and Mike Erwin (“The
New Guy”). Universal has prepared a wardrobe
of tear-away shirts for June 20.
May 7, 2004, Sony’s “The
Amazing Spider-Man” is a sequel
to 2002’s monster hit. Tobey Maguire, Kirsten
Dunst, James Franco and J.K. Simmons are set
to reprise their roles as Peter Parker/Spider-Man,
Mary Jane Watson, Harry Osborn and J. Jonah Jameson,
respectively. Sam Raimi will once again direct,
this time from a screenplay by Michael Chabon
(“Wonderboys”). It is widely rumored
that, in this outing, Peter Parker must use his
bizarre superpowers to combat a pair of freakish
supervillains dubbed Dr. Octopus and the Lizard.
also has more than a few projects in development.
America” is a new look at a
World War II soldier injected with an experimental
serum that transforms him into a superman.
The screenplay is by Larry Wilson (“The
Addams Family”) and Les Bohem (“Dante’s
Four” follows a quartet of scientific
adventurers who find themselves transformed
during a space mission into four super-powered
beings – the highly elastic Mr. Fantastic,
the force-field-generating Invisible Girl,
the flying Human Torch, and the grotesque,
super-strong Thing. Peyton Reed (“Bring
it On”) was reportedly being sought to
direct from a screenplay by Chris Columbus
(“Nine Months,” “Little Nemo:
Slumberland”) and Mike France (“Cliffhanger”).
It’s in development at Fox.
an actioner about the amphibious sea-dwelling
superhero known by many in the Marvel Comics
universe as the Sub-Mariner. Namor made his first
appearance in Marvel Comics #1 in 1939, but his
more modern manifestation debuted in Fantastic
Four #4 in 1962. Philip Kaufman (“Rising
Sun,” “Quills”) may direct
from a screenplay by David Self (“Road
Snipes, already a comic book antihero in the
two “Blade” films, has long been
connected to Marvel’s “The
Black Panther.” The actioner is
about an African prince who can transform himself
into an enormous feline to fight evildoers. The
latest screenplay is by Jeffrey A. Fiskin. Snipes
has reportedly said he’ll begin filming
this year for Sony.
The “Blade” franchise
is reportedly experimenting with “The Experiment” helmer
Oliver Hirschbiegel as director of “Blade
3.” A deal has yet to be signed
for him to shoot the screenplay by writer/producer
David Goyer, who also penned parts one and two.
Said to be set 20 years after “Blade 2,” the
new project will see the title character at odds
with the vampires who have taken over the world
and enslaved the human race. New Line has yet
to sharpen a release date.
is reportedly already underway for “The
Punisher.” The actioner is about
an ex-soldier who embarks on a one-man crusade
against the crime syndicate that murdered his
family. Screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh (“The
Saint,” “Armageddon”) was reportedly
set to make his feature directorial debut from
his own screenplay. It’s in development
Strange” is yet another “new
look,” this time at the mystical Marvel
superhero. The screenplay by “Blade” series
scipter David Goyer is in development at Sony.
collector (at least before his short marriage
to Lisa Marie Presley) Nicolas Cage is often
connected to comic book adaptions. Marvel’s “Ghost
Rider” is one. The drama details
the adventures of a motorcycle stunt performer
named Johnny Blaze who is cursed to spend his
nights as host to a fiery spirit of vengeance.
The screenplay is by Shane Salerno (“Shaft”).
It’s in development at Sony.
was also connected to Fox’s “Iron
Man,” about an industrialist who
finds that the high-tech suit of armor that keeps
him alive also allows him to fly and fight evil.
The screenplay is by Jeff Vintar (“Final
Fantasy”). Tom Cruise has also reportedly
been sought to play Man of Iron Tony Stark.
born Nicolas Coppola, cribbed his screen name
from the Marvel superhero Luke Cage, but he is
not connected to “Luke Cage,” a
science fiction adventure about a young African-American
prisoner who gains superhuman powers after he
volunteers for dangerous experiments in exchange
for his freedom. John Singleton (“Shaft,” “Baby
Boy”) may direct from a screenplay by TV
vet Joseph Dougherty (“Once and Again,” “Presidio
Fist” is a Marvel actioner about
a man who gets his superpowers by defeating
a golden dragon. Kirk Wong was reportedly set
to direct from a screenplay by John Turman.
Ray Park (“X-Men,” “Ballistic:
Ecks Vs. Sever”) may star in the project
in development at Artisan.
Surfer” examines a gleaming
superhero who can navigate the far reaches
of outer space via a cosmic surfboard. Geoffrey
Wright (“Romper Stomper”) may direct
from a screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker (“Sleepy
Hollow”), Rudy Gaines and John Rice (“Blown
Away”). Fox has the rights to this project.
an animated actioner about the Norse god Odin’s
son, who fights injustice with the help of his
massive divine hammer.
Finally, “Venom” is
an actioner based on the ruthless Marvel character
who has come to menace “Spider-Man” in
recent years. The screenplay in development at
New Line is by “Blade” series scripter
the dominant force in superhero moviemaking thanks
to its “Superman” and “Batman” franchises,
DC Comics has long been developing relaunches
for each of its flagship characters – but
at this writing Warner Bros., which controls
the movie destinies of all DC-owned characters,
has no superhero projects in actual production.
is said to be on the fast track at Warner Bros.
Director Brett Ratner (“Red Dragon”)
segues here from cannibalism, repression and
psychological instability to truth, justice and
the American way to direct this version. The
new script by J.J. Abrams (“Armageddon,” TV’s “Alias”)
reportedly “re-imagines” the DC Comics
legend, and features a disgruntled CIA scientific
investigator named Lex Luthor and a planet Krypton
that doesn’t explode. Anthony Hopkins has
reportedly been cast as Superman’s father,
Jor-El. Filming is expected to start in the spring
with a planned release in summer 2004.
Vs. Superman” was once expected
to be the reintroduction of both characters,
but the defection of director Wolfgang Petersen
(“Air Force One,” “The Perfect
Storm”) to the Trojan War epic “Troy” put
this project on the back burner. As the title
implies, the screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker
(“Sleepy Hollow”) finds the Man
of Tomorrow at odds with the Caped Crusader.
Colin Farrell and Jude Law were once rumored
(or, since they’re both denizens of the
British Isles, rumoured) to play the respective
on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, “Batman:
Year One” is the story of two
young Gotham City men, billionaire Bruce Wayne
and police lieutenant James Gordon, who seemingly
operate on opposite sides of the law but ultimately
find they have a lot in common. Darren Aronofsky
(“Below”) was reportedly set to write
nemesis heads into eponymous territory in “Catwoman.” Ashley
Judd (“Frida”) was reportedly set
to play the conflicted villainess’ alter
ego Patience Price (changed here from the traditional
Selina Kyle). Longtime visual effects supervisor
Pitof (“Alien Resurrection,” “Astérix
and Obélix vs. Caesar,” “Messenger:
The Story of Joan of Arc”) was reportedly
set to direct from a screenplay by John Rogers
(“American Outlaws”). Warner Bros.
is aiming for a 2004 release.
Woman” is another of the DC
titles that goes through various stages of
development hell. Sandra Bullock and Jennifer
Lopez are rumored to be the leading contenders
among the young actresses who might wield the
called the “War and Peace” of comic
books, is said to have been the subject of a
fairly faithful screenplay adaptation by David
Hayter (the “X-Men” series), who
may also make his feature directorial debut.
Based on the apocalyptic comic series written
by Alan Moore (“From Hell”), the
Universal project deals with a disturbed ex-superhero
trying to track down a mystery man who is killing
his former fellow costumed crimefighters.
on another DC-owned character created by Moore,
is described as the “Dirty Harry of the
occult world.” The movie’s story
sees John Constantine team with a female police
officer. Keanu Reeves has reportedly signed to
play the title character. Music video director
Francis Lawrence (POD’s “Alive,” Shakira’s “Whenever
Wherever”) was reportedly set to make his
feature directorial debut. Warner Bros. is expected
to set a 2004 release.
on still another popular comic created and written
by Alan Moore, “The League Of Extraordinary
Gentlemen” is a sci-fi action
thriller, set in 1898 England, about a group
of diverse literary heroes commissioned by Queen
Victoria to stop an evildoer from conquering
the world. Steve Norrington (“Blade,” “The
Last Minute”) directed from a screenplay
by Alex Ayres and comic book writer James Robinson
Sean Connery (“Finding Forrester”)
stars as Allan Quatermain, Peta Wilson (TV’s “La
Femme Nikita”) as Mina Harker, Jason Flemyng
(“Mean Machine”) as Henry Jekyll,
Naseeruddin Shah (“Monsoon Wedding”)
as Captain Nemo, Max Ryan (“Kiss of the
Dragon”) as Dante Inferno, Richard Roxburgh
(“Moulin Rouge!”) as the Fantom,
Stuart Townsend (“Queen of the Damned”)
as Dorian Gray and Shane West (“A Walk
to Remember”) as Tom Sawyer. While DC Comics
subsidiary Wildstorm publishes “League,” DC
does not own the property, which is likely why
Warner Bros. is not releasing the movie. Instead,
Fox has pen and inked July 11, 2003 for the release.
Horse Comics, the force behind “The Mask,” “Timecop,” “Barb
Wire” and “Mystery Men,” was
founded in the 1980s with the intention of revitalizing
what its founders saw as the hidebound comics
industry. They have also specialized in turning
movies and TV shows like “Buffy the Vampire
Slayer,” “Indiana Jones,” “Star
Wars,” and “Xena: Warrior Princess” into
comic book series.
with a demonic-looking fellow, born in Hell and
brought into the world during a Nazi pagan ritual,
who is raised in a doctor’s Bureau for
Paranormal Research and Defense. Hellboy presently
works for the bureau alongside: a merman named
Abe Sapien; Liz Sherman, a woman who can psychically
control fire; and Moss, an FBI agent who is Hellboy’s
rival for Liz’s affections. Ron Perlman
(“Star Trek: Nemesis”) stars as Hellboy,
Larry Miller (“A Guy Thing”) as Dr.
James Manning, Selma Blair (“A Guy Thing”)
as Liz, Doug Jones (“Adaptation”)
as Abe and James Babson (“The League of
Extraordinary Gentlemen”) as Moss. John
Hurt (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s
Stone”) co-stars. Guillermo del Toro (“Blade
II”) directs from his own screenplay. Sony
plans a 2004 release.
Mask 2: The Son of the Mask” is
a sequel to the 1994 blockbuster, but reportedly
won’t include the prohibitively expensive
services of Jim Carrey or Cameron Diaz, focusing
instead on an infant who is transformed each
time he wears the titular object. SSSSSnursin’!
Larry Guterman (“Cats & Dogs”)
was reportedly set to direct from a screenplay
by Lance Khazei. New Line has tentatively set
a 2004 release date.
“Black Cross” is
a Dark Horse actioner, set in a post-apocalyptic
future, about a loner who takes on militaristic
mercenaries who hunt humans for sport.
Based on the comic created by Steve Perry
and Chris Warner, it may be directed
by Russell Mulcahy (“The Shadow”).
Howie Long (“Broken Arrow”)
was once reportedly sought to star in
the Disney project.
a Dark Horse title about a political speechwriter
who is captured by extraterrestrials who transplant
his brain into a massive, bizarre robotic body.
When he escapes his alien captors (who flee the
earth with his real body, perhaps forever), he
must find ways to readjust to the world of humans
while trapped in his freakish form. Screenwriter
Larry Wilson (“The Addams Family”)
was once attached to direct from a screenplay
by Wilson, Caroline Thompson (“Buddy,” “Stuart
Little”) and “Concrete” creator
on the Image comic book created by Tony Daniel, “Adrenalyn,” is
a contemporary science fiction actioner about
a Russian female cyborg built to bring the United
States to its knees. The screenplay is by Alan
Sereboff. Christina Ricci (“Pumpkin”)
was once reportedly set to star.
52,” also based on an Image
comic, is a science fiction horror-thriller,
set in Antarctica, about misfits who band together
to save themselves and the world from an alien
killing machine. The screenplay is by Damion
Shannon and Mark Swift.
an actioner about a fallen angel who is transformed
into an avenging superheroine. It’s based
on the Image comic book character and in development
at New Line.
French friends have turned a 1965 French comic
book into a major franchise. “Astérix
And Obélix: Mission Cleopatra” is
the latest in a series of comedies, this time
about the famous Egyptian queen and her wager
with Caesar that she can have a palace built
in three months. Actor Alain Chabat (“The
Taste of Others”) makes both his feature
directorial and screenwriting debuts. Gerard
Depardieu (“C.Q.”) and Christian
Clavier (“Just Visiting”) return
as the dimwitted title characters. Monica Bellucci
(“Brotherhood of the Wolf,” “Irreversible”),
Gerard Darmon (“For Sasha”), Jamel
Debbouze (“Amélie”), Claude
Rich (“Season’s Beatings”),
Edouard Baer (“Alias Betty”) and
Chabat costar. Miramax plans a June 2003 release.
of French comics, Drew Barrymore is reportedly
producing a movie based on the Jean-Claude Forest
comic book “Barbarella” (but
not on the 1968 Jane Fonda/Roger Vadim camp classic
famous for its peek-a-boo nudity). Barrymore
is expected to star in the project, scripted
by John August (the “Charlie’s Angels” series).
Fox and Warner Bros. have coyly mentioned 2004
as a possible release date.
Universal’s “Metabarons” is
a science fiction epic, set in the year 20,000,
about a powerful dynasty of space warriors. It’s
based on the French graphic novels written by
Alexandro Jodorowsky. Alfonso Arau (“A
Walk in the Clouds”) may direct a screenplay
by Arau and Jodorowsky (“El Topo,” “Santa
by the comic book series co-penned by Gotham
Chopra (son of Deepak), “Bulletproof
Monk,” is an actioner about an
immortal martial arts master who takes a street
kid under his wing. Video director Paul Hunter
makes his feature directorial debut from a screenplay
by the “Demon Knight” team of Ethan
Reiff and Cyrus Voris. Chow Yun-Fat (“Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), Seann William Scott
(“Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” “Old
School”) James King (“Slackers”),
Karel Roden (“Blade 2”), Victoria
Smurfit (“About a Boy”) and Marcus
Jean Pirae star. MGM unloads it April 16.
remainder of projects described here can be comfortably
classified as “in development.” “Shrink!” is
a Sony comedy about a psychiatrist who finds
herself caught in a love triangle with a superhero
and a supervillain. It’s based on the Internet
comic created by former Marvel comics illustrator
Rob Liefeld. Jennifer Lopez (“Maid in Manhattan”)
Days of Night,” a story that
originiated in an IDW Publishing comic, is
set in Barrow, Alaska, a town near the Arctic
Circle that spends nearly a month in darkness.
When it is overrun with vampires, a husband-and-wife
pair of sheriffs must choose between saving
themselves and helping the town survive the
onslaught until the sun returns. Steve Niles,
who wrote the print version, was reportedly
drafting a screenplay.
on the CrossGen comic book, DreamWorks’ “Way
Of The Rat” is a martial arts
action-adventure, set in Hong Kong, concerning
a young acrobatic hero, a wise-cracking monkey
and a princess who has a way with blades. Chuck
Russell (“The Mask,” “The Scorpion
King”) may direct from his own screenplay.
on the Top Cow comic title, is the story of a
shockingly well-toned, thong-wearing young woman
who discovers she is descended from a mysterious
race that evolved below the ocean’s surface.
Linda Woolverton (“Beauty and the Beast”)
was reportedly drafting a screenplay for the
live-action Fox project.
Alba (TV’s “Dark Angel”) was
reportedly set to take the title role in Universal’s “Beautiful
Killer,” based on the Black Bull
Comics one-shot about a young girl driven to
seek vengeance after her parents are killed because
of their involvement in the espionage game.
on the Malibu Comics line, is the tale of 13-year-old
who, as a result of a government-backed experiment,
gains the ability to transform into an adult
superhero. Don Calame and Chris Conroy were reportedly
set to write the screenplay.
an animated actioner about a man who benefits
from a force from the future that allows him
to emerge from a deadly inferno with superhuman
powers. It’s based on the Event Comics
character created by Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti.
The screenplay is by Rand Ravich (“Candyman:
Farewell to the Flesh,” “The Maker,” “The
the Comic-Con International, Mindfire Entertainment
announced a deal with Harris Publications to
produce a live-action feature film based on “Vampirella,” the
comic book about the voluptuous bloodsucker dedicated
to defeating other voluptuous bloodsuckers. Plans
once called for a Halloween 2003 release.
and, depending on your particular tastes, perhaps
least, Universal’s “Archie,” based
on the 55-year-old comic, is a teen romantic
comedy about a middle-class blonde in love with
a middle-class redhead in love with a rich brunette.
Tommy O’Haver (“Billy’s Hollywood
Screen Kiss,” “Get Over It”)
may direct from a screenplay by O’Haver
and Douglas Carter Beane (“To Wong Foo,
Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar”).
If the writing/directing team’s past projects
are any indication, Archie and Jughead may just
live happily ever after.