Stan Lee Media, Inc. (which isn’t really related to Stan Lee himself, since the company filed for bankruptcy back in 2001), is swinging for the fences. The company filed a $5.5 BILLION lawsuit against Disney, claiming that Disney does not actually own the rights to Stan Lee’s creations, and therefore want all the profits from the massive movie hits that Marvel, and now Disney since they acquired Marvel in 2009, plus a declaration of full control over the characters. This directly affects the Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men franchises, and several characters in The Avengers.
This appears to be a continuation of lawsuits that started back in 2007. SLMI claims that when the company was formed, Stan Lee assigned all rights to his characters to the company. But later on, Lee assigned the rights to Marvel, the company he originally created and published all those characters. It all hinges on what Lee actually gave to SLMI – was SLMI created to work on new properties, or to administer the old ones?
Now we know what the “live action Marvel TV series” is that was reported when Disney struck a deal with Joss Whedon in the wake of his The Avengers juggernaut: S.H.I.E.L.D., a TV series based on the peacekeeping organization that runs throughout the Marvel universe and prominently in The Avengers.
ABC has given the green light for a pilot to be written by Whedon, his brother Jed Whedon, and Jed’s wife, Maurissa Tancharoen – the team responsible for Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and have worked together on various other projects including Dollhouse. Joss Whedon may even direct if his schedule permits.
Speaking of the Man in the Iron Suit, it appears that Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. injured his foot during a stunt on set. According to Disney:
While performing a stunt on the set of Iron Man 3, Robert Downey Jr. sustained an injury to his foot. There will be a short delay in production while he recuperates.
Nothing else is known at this point. This comes on the heels of actress Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory) who suffered injuries to her hand in an automobile collision in New York City yesterday. Fortunately she tweeted yesterday (with her husband typing) that she was “in pain but will keep all my fingers,” and she was back on set today.
Planning way ahead after confirming that Joss Whedon will be on board for the inevitable sequel to the mega-blockbuster The Avengers, Disney and Marvel Studios have already set a release date of May 1st, 2015, just a day short of a year from The Amazing Spider-Man sequel, which is a year-less-a-day after Iron Man 3. It seems that Marvel wants to own the beginning of May…
Disney CEO Bob Iger announced during the company’s regular earnings call that Joss Whedon is on board to direct a sequel to the blockbuster movie The Avengers – big news enough – but then also said that Whedon is also developing a live action series using Marvel characters! More when we get it…
Update: Marvel Studios confirms the deal, along with a targeted 2015 release for the sequel. Whedon also has an exclusive deal for film and television development with Marvel Studios until the end of June 2015.
In two separate suits, both Marvel and NBCU/Syfy are being sued for alleged trademark and copyright infringements.
Marvel (along with Disney corporate sibling Buena Vista Home Entertainment) is being sued by the German luggage manufacturer who made a special luxury briefcase used in the movie. Not because if its use in the movie, however – they had permission – but because Marvel/BVHE planned to distribute a special box set of Avengers movies in a replica attache case, and they haven’t received permission for that – yet.
In the other case, Preston Asevedo, a Louisiana artist, filed suit against NBC Universal/Syfy and the creators of the show Dream Machines over the use of a piece of art that can be seen on the outside sign of the Parker Brothers’ shop in each episode of the recently aired first season of the show, where the brothers and their team build custom futuristic vehicles for celebrities and charities. Check out the images below of the original work and the one seen in the show:
It isn’t just similar – it looks like someone took the original, inverted it and dressed it up. It also appears that Asevedo had contacted the Parkers, who acknowledged that they used a variation of the art for their own logo but were unable to determine who the original artist was, and wanted to work with Asevedo to give him credit and remuneration. But apparently they weren’t able to reach and agreement, and Asevedo filed suit.
Lesson learned – unless the art is provably in the public domain, make sure you get permission or don’t use it…
Disney will pass $1 billion in domestic gross receipts for it’s movies this year faster than any other studio and faster than it’s best previous year – in only 188 days.
The Avengers was a big part of that, grossing over $600 million alone so far, outpacing even The Hunger Games this year. The Avengers come out on Blu-ray and DVD September 25th. We managed to catch The Avengers while on a cruise – it was an extremely fun movie to watch. Sure, there were plot holes, etc. but it was just fun!
Sony/Columbia’s reboot of the Marvel Franchise The Amazing Spider-Man appears to have been a good play, with the superhero movie taking in $21M on Friday and is looking at a $65M weekend, and since it opened strongly on Tuesday before the holiday it likely going to top $140M total through Sunday.
Meanwhile, Disney/Pixar’s Brave, in it’s third weekend of release, is looking at a $24M weekend, taking third behind Universal’s R-rated Ted ($36M). Although from my ears buzz on Brave has been light, it’s a cute fantasy mother/daughter story but with enough elements to interest the boys as well.
In this first official image from the set of Iron Man 3, you can see that Tony Stark has an increasing number of power suits…we count 7, not including parts. It will be interesting to see what each of them is best used for – other than just for style…
As the Superhero Steamroller called The Avengers rolls over everything, taking in another $55 million in it’s third weekend and burying Battleship, which may be on it’s way to become Universal’s John Carter (both of which starred Taylor Kitsch…hmmm…hope he isn’t invested in Facebook stock…), Marvel/Disney wants to ride the high and has infused the just-started Iron Man 3 with an additional $60 million in it’s budget…raising the total to $200 million, according to Latino-Review. That’s a lot of explosions and devastation…no idea exactly what they’ll spend it on, I just hope they do so wisely, and not on Tony Stark’s Scotch budget.