The NYT takes an in-depth look at Marvel’s new role as a movie studio, profiles top dog David Maisel (above), and even offers some pretty interesting scuttlebutt over Avi Arad’s departure:

Mr. Arad left Marvel last year after a power struggle with his former deputy in which he tried to have Mr. Maisel ousted, according to two executives knowledgeable about the tension. One of those executives said that Mr. Arad had disagreed with Mr. Maisel over budget cuts to the new Marvel movies and the production timetable, which Mr. Arad considered too rushed.

Asked about the conflict, Mr. Arad said that he had left Marvel because he wanted to start his own company, Avi Arad Productions. Mr. Maisel declined to comment on the relationship, but said the budget and timing were in line with similar Hollywood productions.

As you may recall, as Marvel starts its own production company — IRON MAN and HULK 2 will be produced by Marvel, and merely distributed by Paramount — much is at stake. The entire article is worth reading for a good synopsis of the entire Marvel-in-Hollywood story.


  1. These paragraphs were kind of interesting as well:

    “The financial model seems unusually favorable. Because most of the financing raised by Merrill Lynch (the $465 million revolving credit facility) is insured by Ambac Assurance, Marvel is not liable to repay its senior creditors if the movies tank. The Ambac deal uses the comic characters as collateral and thus requires no capital outlay by Marvel.”

    “But that if — making successful movies — has tripped up many a brilliant financial model in the past. And the favorable terms mask a hidden risk: If the movies are not successful, Marvel will forfeit the film rights to the characters in the deal, including Captain America, Thor, Nick Fury and the Avengers.”

  2. That photo of Maisel is so fake. He probably cleared the table of those statues — with his arm — as soon as the photo session was over.

    Marvel requires no capital outlay — but they forfeit film rights to those characters???? Good Heavens, that sounds like a horrendous deal! Remember all the legal trouble Marvel had, getting the license once Cannon Films filed for bancruptcy?

  3. No, no, everyone… this sounds like an excellent idea! What are you thinking. Marvel knows how to take on the non-comics business. For example, remember when Marvel decided to start doing it’s own distribution rather than going through the experts at Diamond? That …


    Oh, crap.

  4. “It’s a convoluted, almost Rube Goldberg-type apparatus for generating higher profitability with minimal risk,” said Harold L. Vogel, of Vogel Capital Management. “But we all know the movie business depends on how profitability is defined. We know most movies do not actually make money, or a lot of money. So I don’t know that they come out ahead at the end of the day, even when you adjust for risk and the time it takes. Why go through all this, except to generate fees for Merrill Lynch and some lawyers?”

    Because they never got over the big kids picking on them and now they want to be in charge, that’s why.

    God, this is all going to tank so huge.