Fox vs. Marvel in Superhero Film Rights Trading Game
Owning the rights to a comic book franchise has never been more lucrative in Hollywood than at this present moment. After Christopher Nolan brought Batman back to existence with his gritty and realistic franchise, studios realised the potential of some of their long-term stable holds. With Sony successfully rebooting Spiderman, a film only 10 years old since its first film adaptation series, other studios are attempting second chances with some of their own heroes.
The latest reboot possibility currently working its way around Hollywood is a reboot of Daredevil, the blind Marvel vigilante who was previously launched in 2003, with Ben Affleck playing the titlular hero. Fox have been working on rebooting Daredevil in a much grittier tone, using a famous comic book story from Frank Miller as the planned inspiration for the film. Variety are even reporting that Joe Carnahan (The Grey, Smoking Aces) has been targeted by Fox to direct, although it seems that Fox has run into some trouble with ownership rights.
Currently Fox only owns Daredevil if they can begin production on a new film before October this year, otherwise the character will fall back into the hands of Marvel (who are actually owned by Disney). While there had originally been some reports that Marvel would be ready to extend the deadline for Daredevil production if Fox was prepared to hand over 2 characters from The Fantastic Four (another Fox asset). Now it looks like the stakes are too high for Fox.
Marvel have been pursuing two big names from The Fantastic Four franchise, the well-known Silver Surfer and the major villain Galactus. With Fox already having lined up Josh Trank (Chronicle) to direct a new Fantastic Four reboot it seems Fox are not keen to release two cornerstone characters. This has left the industry in speculation suggesting that Fox will let Daredevil fall back into Marvel’s hands in order to preserve their Fantastic Four project.
Whether Fox have made the right deal and saved the right project will only be determined by time. But, as comic book movies become more lucrative to studios and those studios continue to be inspired by great work like The Dark Knight saga, fans could be in for a golden age of comic book adaptations.
Well that, or they’ll just prove how truly great Nolan and Warner Bros were to pull it off.