§ Are they really gearing up for a second GHOST RIDER film? Looks like it. Star Nicolas Cage and writer David S. Goyer are expected to jump on the flaming motorcycle again. The move is part of a flurry of activity regarding Marvel characters at rival studios, now that Disney has bought the Marvel library:
Fox is: rebooting “Fantastic Four” with “Green Lantern” scribe Michael Green and producer Akiva Goldsman; mobilizing a “Wolverine” sequel and several “X-Men” spinoffs; is quietly developing a new version of “Daredevil” and working on a Silver Surfer film. Sony recently set James Vanderbilt to write the fifth and sixth installments of “Spider-Man,” and Universal continues work on “Sub-Mariner.” Paramount continues as distributor for “Iron Man 2” and several others expected to include “Thor” and “Captain America.”
§ Meanwhile, a few toys that were kicking around on the living room floor are being cleaned up for the screen. Barbie, at long last, is being developed for the big screen, following a successful series of low budget direct to DVD movies:
According to Mattel, the 50-year-old Barbie has 99% worldwide brand awareness, and it’s the No. 1 girls property in the toy industry, the top doll property in the U.S., and the No. 1 worldwide property in the traditional toy industry.
“Barbie is the most famous doll in history, a unique cultural icon in the world of brands,” said Universal Pictures chairman Marc Shmuger. “So many representations of Barbie frequent pop culture. We’re grateful to Mattel for entrusting us with this extraordinary opportunity.”
Mark said the next step will be to canvass writers and decide on a creative take for a family-friendly movie.
Gee whiz, the possibilities are endless! Maybe Barbie can be a dentist. Or a veterinarian! Or a astrophysicist! Maybe they will bring Skipper, Cock-Ring Ken, and potty-training Kelly along for the ride.
On the boys side, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe are also getting a revamp, landing at Sony after some false starts at Warner Bros.
The fantasy actioner will revolve around a prince who becomes the warrior He-Man and battles the evil Skeletor for control of his magical homeland, Eternia.
John Stevenson (“Kung Fu Panda”) had previously been attached to direct, with Justin Marks and Evan Daugherty having penned versions of the script. Rights to those scripts now belong to WB, meaning a new writer will likely be hired.
Both deals were negotiated by CAA, which reps Mattel.
§ Remember Platinum Studios and their library of 5,600 characters — bigger than Marvel, even? Looks like things are heating up! Variety reports that producer Tony Krantz is developing MAL CHANCE.
“Mal Chance” tells the story of Lola, part of an ancient clan of assassins targeted for death by a powerful gangster. Her only recourse is to bring down the gangster’s entire operation with the help of an honest FBI agent who is unaware of her true identity.
Pic will be exec produced by the Greenberg Group’s Randy Greenberg and Ross Dinerstein of Flame Ventures. Greenberg recently brought in the financing for Platinum Studios’ recent film, “Dead of Night,” done with Hyde Park Entertainment and Omnilab Media.
No one seems to know exactly what the graphic novel MAL CHANCE actually is, but it’s created by Spanish creators Martin Pardo and David Morancho. Maybe it’s the same thing as RED MANTIS? Pre-awareness is not high on this.
MEANWHILE, another Platinum property, THE WEAPON, is going into production. While the book is about a Chinese-American teenage superhero, is set in Chinatown, and is filled with Chinese imagery, and will now be made into a movie, the movie version will star white Disney Channel star as “Tommy Zhou”. Which has annoyed some people. (Thanks to Kate Fitzsimons for the link.)
Looks like Platinum’s film slate is getting off the ground. Collider looks at some of the other Platinum projects bubbling on the stove.
UPDATE: Rich Johnston solves the MAL CHANCE mystery: it’s a Spanish comic from the ’90s originally called LOLA.