Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Publishing | Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater responds to Singapore’s ban of the third volume of Life With Archie, which features the wedding of Kevin Keller and Clay Walker: “Riverdale will always be about acceptance, equality and safety. I’m sad readers in Singapore will miss out on the chance to read such a pivotal moment in comics.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
Business | Devin Leonard looks at the possible effects of a Fox/Time-Warner merger on superhero movies; Time-Warner owns DC Entertainment, and Fox has the movie rights to some Marvel characters. The New York Times offers a broader overview. [Business Week]
DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. aren’t the only ones celebrating the 75th anniversary of Batman. Poster Posse, a collective of global artists, has come together for a collection of Dark Knight that’s so amazing (and, well, large) that it’s being unleashed on blurppy in phases.
The estate of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that bars it from reclaiming a stake in the character, arguing the artist’s siblings didn’t have the ability to assign his copyrights to DC Comics more than two decades ago.
As Law360 reports, the estate insists the Ninth Circuit erred in its November ruling that the family relinquished all claims to Superman in 1992 in exchange for “more than $600,000 and other benefits,” which included paying Shuster’s debts following his death earlier that year and providing his sister Jean Peavy and brother Frank Shuster with a $25,000 annual pension. In October 2012, U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright found that the agreement invalidated a copyright-termination notice filed in 2003 by Shuster’s nephew Mark Peary.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products has renewed its 15-year-old partnership with Mattel in a multi-year deal that expands the toymaker’s rights to include upcoming DC Comics-based films and television series.
Under the terms of the agreement, Mattel will be able to develop toy lines based on the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League movies as well as the TV adaptations Arrow, The Flash, Constantine, Gotham and iZombie.
Mattel, which on Wednesday unveiled its full slate of Comic-Con International exclusives, has DC products spread across its brands, from vintage-style Batman Classic TV Series action figures to Hot Wheels DC Universe cars to the Fisher-Price Imaginext Super Friends line. The company also rolled out merchandise based on Man of Steel and Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, and the popular Arkham video games.
“Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have an unrivaled portfolio of characters and a strong slate of content across all platforms which is essential to driving our global consumer products business — a business anchored by our long-term partnership with Mattel,” Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, said in a statement. “With so much opportunity on the horizon, we know Mattel will bring the talents of its world-class organization to create and market product lines for fans of all ages.”
If everything had gone as planned, sometime Wednesday a street-legal replica of Batman’s Tumblr from Christopher Nolan’s movie trilogy would be crossing the finish line in Ibiza in a triumphant conclusion to the Gumball 3000.
Unfortunately, those plans went awry before the annual 3,000-mile motor rally even got under way last week in Miami Beach, Florida.
After teasing on Twitter what many fans speculated would be a big reveal for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. Tours instead has announced its own contribution to the Dark Knight’s 75th-anniversary celebration: the Batman Exhibit.
Beginning June 26, VIP tours will be offered at the Burbank, California, studio, with guides pointing out locations from Warner Bros.’ Batman films on the way to the newly transformed Studio tour museum, where more than half the ground floor is now devoted to Dark Knight movie memorabilia, from six big-screen Batsuits to costumes worn by Catwoman, Poison Ivy, The Riddle, Mr. Freeze. There are also prop weapons, such as the Joker’s cards, Penguin’s umbrella and Bane’s bomb.
Tied to last night’s official announcement of a Justice League movie, The Wall Street Journal takes another look at Warner Bros., comparing its superhero output to that of Marvel — that’s a familiar story by now — and, more interesting, highlighting the changing position of DC Entertainment within the media giant.
The studio in 2009 announced plans plans to better exploit its comics properties (across film, television, video games and consumer products) with a corporate restructuring that saw the creation of DC Entertainment, a new division overseen by Diane Nelson, a Warner Bros. veteran who headed up its direct-to-video label and served as shepherd of its Harry Potter franchise.
The film features Slade Wilson auditioning for Black Mask, who has put a bounty out on Batman on Christmas Eve. Deathstroke shows off his skills in the action-packed, very bloody and probably NSFW fan film. It’s timing couldn’t be better, as DC just announced a starring role for Deathstroke in Suicide Squad.
Check it out below.
Going Nowhere Studios has debuted a pretty impressive trailer for Deathstroke: Arkham Assassin, a fan-film prequel to the Warner Bros. video game Batman: Arkham Origins.
In the game, a bounty is placed on the Dark Knight by the Black Mask, bringing eight of the world’s greatest assassins to Gotham City on Christmas Eve — including the formidable Deathstroke. But as the trailer teases, the crime lord requires a demonstration of his skills.
The short film is set to premiere Monday online.
Legal | Eriq Gardner delves into the issues underlying the continuing legal battle over unauthorized replicas of the Batmobile from the 1966 Batman television series and the 1989 film: This summer the Ninth Circuit will consider the appeal of Gotham Garage owner Mark Towle, whose Batmobile replicas were found in February 2013 to violate DC Comics’ copyrights and trademarks. While Towle argues that Batman’s ride is a “useful article,” meaning a utilitarian object not protected by U.S. copyright law, a federal judge ruled the Batmobile is “a copyrightable character.” Gardner notes that if the appeals court sides with DC/Warner Bros., “Hollywood studios would win a powerful weapon to stop products that are similar to props like light sabers and ruby slippers.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
If Hammacher Schlemmer‘s $200,000 licensed, street-legal 1966 Batmobile is a little too cheap, or a little too dated, for your tastes, allow us to this roadworthy replica on the Tumbler from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Listed on the James Edition luxury goods website, the vehicle will only set you back … $1 million.
But, hey, it’s worth it: This concept car — it’s “inspired by the movie Batman Begins” — comes equipped with an eight-cylinder LS1 engine, four 44-inch super swamper tires with custom rims, five driver-assist cameras and a stereo with blue tooth, CD/DVD and iPod integration. Plus, it’s a limited edition; there are just five of these in the world.
Australian fashion company Black Milk Clothing has debuted a Batman collection, featuring comics-inspired apparel ranging from dresses to leggings to swimsuits. While the flashiest piece may be the Batman Cape Suit, with detachable cape, the standout items are probably those that incorporate actual comic-book art by the likes of Neal Adams, Brian Bolland, Terry Dodson and Jock.
You can check out some of the pieces below, along with a video, which gets annoying fairly quickly.
With rumors circulating about cameos by the Flash, Aquaman and even Martian Manhunter in the Man of Steel sequel, it’s likely only a matter of time before Warner Bros. gets around to everyone’s favorite Thanagarian (and/or reincarnated Egyptian prince). If studio executives have any doubts, Good Mythical Morning presents an argument for why Hawkman deserves to headline his own movie that, if I’m understanding it right, would be pitched as “Any Which Way But Loose meets Fly Away Home meets Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
There’s also a trailer which, to be fair, features a costume only slightly worse than the one Hawkman wore on Smallville.
Time Inc. confirmed this morning that long-expected layoffs, which widespread reports place at as high as 500 employees, will begin immediately as parent company Time Warner prepares to spin off its low-performing publishing division. Time Inc., which publishes more than 20 magazines, employees about 7,800 people worldwide.
DC Entertainment, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment, won’t be affected by either the layoffs or the spinoff.
The New York Post contends the newly acquired American Express Publishing (Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Departures), with about 400 employees, is expected to be hit hard by the cuts; its Executive Travel magazine could be shuttered immediately.
Although an appeals court seems to have brought to an end the Joe Shuster estate’s bid to reclaim the artist’s stake in Superman, The Hollywood Reporter reminds us that the fight by Jerry Siegel’s heirs is far from over.
According to the website, attorney Marc Toberoff — he represents both families — is scheduled to file a brief next month on a pending appeal of a March 2013 ruling that affirmed the writer’s family relinquished any claims to the Man of Steel by accepting a 2001 offer from DC Comics that permits the publisher to retain all rights to Superman (as well as Superboy and The Spectre) in exchange for $3 million in cash and contingent compensation worth tens of millions.
Toberoff maintains the Siegels never accepted the DC offer (the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found otherwise), but even if there was a contract, then the publisher failed to perform. That explains the addition last year of the line “By Special Arrangement with the Jerry Siegel Family” to the credits of any DC title featuring Superman, a stipulation of the 2001 agreement.
However, Wright noted that breach-of-contract claims are a matter for state court, and don’t affect the enforceability of the 2001 agreement. So, a separate lawsuit remains an option for the Siegels, even if — or perhaps when — they exhaust their copyright case.
As The Hollywood Reporter points out, while the Siegel heirs still face “incredibly long odds,” their fight isn’t over yet.