Variety reports that Marvel Studios has launched a writers program that will pay several screenwriters to sit around and work on developing Marvel movie ideas.
Marvel will invite up to five writers each year to work on specific projects, said a source familiar with the deal. Those could include staffers behind Marvel’s comicbooks. Tenpercenteries around town are currently pitching potential candidates with writing samples.
The company will provide the specific pitches it wants the scribes to tackle. Those could involve certain plot points for movies already in development or characters it would like to see in its future film slate.
Gathering of scribes will help Marvel come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties, such as Black Panther, Cable, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Nighthawk and Vision.
This sounds all well and good — the writers could make $100k a year– but Nikki Finke says it comes at a price:
One source tells me the terms of the program “are apparently more onerous than the terms of the Disney Writers Program. Before the writers are even allowed to come in and meet, they must sign a non-disclosure agreement and a 70-page, non-negotiable contract. Among other things, the contract gives Marvel ownership over everything the writers create during the one year term of [the] deal, plus a first look and last refusal to any and all projects the writers have previously written or will write for 24 months in the future.” Egads! Unfortunately, with Hollywood feature development at a near standstill, I suspect Marvel could have its pick of film writers in exchange for $5 and a hot lunch.
One of our email pen pals compared this to a Tokyopop type deal, but we suspect Toykopop did not pay its creators $100,000 a year. (Disney has a similar writing program and pays $50,000 a year.) Selling your immediate past and future is indeed a pretty onerous deal, but we hear comics writers are jostling for a place in the program. Go figure.
BONUS: make sure to read the comment section at Finke’s blog for a “spirited debate.”