When he’s not facing Electro or the Rhino, there are few things your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man enjoys more than playing basketball with a couple of local kids.
Taking a break from filming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in New York City’s Chinatown, star Andrew Garfield headed to a nearby basketball court — in full costume, no less — to take on two pint-sized opponents. And, as the video below shows, they may have gotten the better of him. (As the person who shot the video notes, Garfield’s co-star and girlfriend Emma Stone, aka Gwen Stacy, can also be seen in the video, with the dog.)
Hardly a week goes by that some film studio or producer doesn’t snatch up the rights to a comic book, intent on transforming the property into the next big Hollywood franchise. While it’s rare for one of those projects to move beyond the development stage, it’s rarer still for the people involved to go out of their way to stress what a movie isn’t based on.
Such is the case with Dodge and Twist, a sequel of sorts to Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist from Sony Pictures, said to be based on an idea by producer/actor/writer Ahmet Zappa. The third paragraph of The Hollywood Reporter announcement reads, “The project is set on an idea by Zappa and not on the more serious book of the same name by Tony Lee.”
That book would be Dodge & Twist, a graphic novel by Lee and Paul Peart-Smith announced as early as 2007 that at one point was targeted for release by AiT/Planet Lar (you can still see an unedited 19-page preview on the company’s website). Although the graphic novel was never published, Lee released Dodge & Twist in 2011 as a prose ebook set 12 years after the events of Dickens’ classic, with Oliver forced to assist the Artful Dodger in stealing in the Koh-I-Noor diamond from the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Marvel on Monday urged the Second Circuit to deny Gary Friedrich’s attempt to revive his copyright claims to Ghost Rider, reiterating that the writer no only signed away his rights to the character three decades earlier but waited too long to file his lawsuit.
Friedrich sued Marvel, Columbia Pictures and Hasbro, among others, shortly after the 2007 release of the first Ghost Rider movie, insisting he had regained the copyright to the fiery Spirit of Vengeance some six years earlier. He argued he created Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider in 1968 and later agreed to publish the character through Magazine Management, which eventually became Marvel Entertainment. Under the agreement, the publisher held the copyright to the character’s origin story in 1972′s Marvel Spotlight #5, and to subsequent Ghost Rider works. However, Friedrich alleged the company never registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Office, permitting the rights to revert to him in 2001.
In December 2011, a federal judge rejected Friedrich’s lawsuit, finding the writer gave up ownership to the property when he endorsed checks that contained language relinquishing rights to Marvel’s predecessors. The judge said Friedrich signed over all claims to the character in 1971 and again in 1978 in exchange for the possibility of more freelance work for the publisher. (Two months later, Marvel agreed to abandon its 2010 countersuit accusing Friedrich of trademark infringement if the writer would pay $17,000 in damages and stop selling unauthorized Ghost Rider merchandise.)
The writer appealed in July, arguing the court erred in ruling that the language on the back of Marvel paychecks in the early 1970s and in the 1978 contract were sufficient to constitute transfer of copyright. However, his attorney also reasserts the claim that the agreement was entered into under duress, with Friedrich told “if I wanted to continue to work for Marvel that I would have to sign it.”