Home News News and notes: Annie, Forney, Marvel-Disney

News and notes: Annie, Forney, Marvel-Disney


• Today’s must read: Michael Cavna interviews Steve Tippie, Tribune Media’s VP of licensing on the end of Little Orphan Annie, the comic strip:

MICHAEL CAVNA: “Little Orphan Annie” was said to be down to about 20 newspapers. Was 20 clients too few to make the strip cost-effective to syndicate?

STEVE TIPPIE: Each [strip] is somewhat different. First, we want to pay the creators a decent wage for the work they do. And Ted Slampyak and Jay Meador did terrific work — some of the best in the “story strip” line. That need combined with the production costs of getting a strip distributed just crossed the profit-loss curve this year. Believe me. This wasn’t a decision we took lightly.

But we also felt that Annie, unlike many strips, has such wide, almost iconic presence in our culture that it would serve the character and our business best if we focused on other channels more appropriate to the “kids” nature of the property.

• Ellen Forney has sold a graphic novel to Gotham/Penguin:

Having spent another morning writing and thumbnailing, I figure it’s time to announce: I sold my book to Gotham/Penguin. Hooray! The storyline combines autobiography and studies about artistic creativity, and brilliant cartoonist Megan Kelso agreed to help comb over my roughs.

It’s been a long time in the works: two writing retreats, a reading at Richard Hugo House, lots of late nights at the tea house with my laptop. Now I have until August, 2011 to get it done. Sleeves rolled up, nose to the grindstone!

The LA Times looks at the fertile soil of the Marvel-Disney partnership, which it is hoped will follow the Pixar model, with greater independence allowing for a snappier product:

During a climactic battle late in “Iron Man 2,” the titular superhero saves a boy who’s wearing an Iron Man mask and “repulsor ray” and is mistaken by killer robots for the real thing. It’s a dramatic moment but also an example of how Disney hopes its high-stakes bet on a comic book company will pay off. The same items that the child wears in “Iron Man 2” are now stocking the toy department shelves of Target and other retailers. “The movies were what drove mass-market awareness of Iron Man,” said Simon Philips, president of worldwide consumer products for Marvel. “Before them you had to go into a collector’s store to find something around the character.”

  1. Wow… placing your product using product placement in your own movies… and using the movies as trailers for future movies. The movie is the commercial.

    What will be interesting is when the Mouse of Ideas produces movies outside the established PG blockbuster model. An R-rated movie like Blade will not generate the licensing revenue (or the box office) of a PG movie. A small quirky indy movie, like Damaage Control, will have the same problems.

  2. I liked seeing the can of Dr. Pepper in Iron Man2.

    That, to me, was right up there with the James Bond level of movie product placement, where well-labelled trucks packed with soft drinks would always appear on busy, urban, thirsty car-chase-laden streets.

  3. Re: “That need combined with the production costs of getting a strip distributed just crossed the profit-loss curve this year.”

    I’d be interested in hearing exactly what those production expenses of strip distribution were…

    Seriously, how hard is it to email a TIFF file to all of the papers carrying your strip? What’s the expense of having someone from the sales dept. do strip sales via phone and web?

    I’m not trying to bust on these guys, I’m just curious as to their methods…

  4. @Torsten Adair: Damage Control the movie will have Damage Control logo work shirts, T-Shirts, Hardhats, action figures, and of course the all important Tonka toys tie in. You ever see how rapt the attention of preschoolers are to Handy Mandy or Bob The Builder or Great Big Machines; Even the attention of adults to Discovery Channel programs like Disaster In Seconds and Mega Builders keeps an enthralled audience to the point that Damage Control will be the perfect fit for the male dominated audience of a construction crew movie and all the tie ins that go with it.

  5. I found it ironic and sad that a boy too young to watch the movie based on the MPAA ratings system is used to sell toys to parents and older relatives watching the movie.

    My kids would love to see these movies, but my son is too young and my oldest daughter has no interest yet. Disney better step up the quality of their offerings on Toon Disney if they want to make money off these blockbuster movies…

  6. @Sphinx Magoo Iron Man 2 was PG-13, not R. The boy is old enough to watch it, but it’s suggested that his parents investigate the movie before letting him attend. Though, in this case, it probably didn’t matter once the check cleared.

  7. I think a big question on the Disney-Marvel synergy is if an Iron Man toy will in the upcoming “Toy Story 3”.

    I can totally imagine a scene where Buzz Lightyear walks by a boxed Iron Man action figure and gets jealous of the cool gadgetry. Or maybe a young boy running around in Iron Man headgear.

  8. I don’t know what the pay check would be like for creators of a comic strip that runs in only 20 papers. Likely very very low.

Exit mobile version