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22 April 2012

Marvel Entertainment: Wolverine Clawing Up Hollywood Comic Movies; Thanks Australian Government

Marvel Entertainment: Wolverine Clawing Up Hollywood Comic Book Movies; Thanks Australian Government; Marvel Comic Book Fans And Australian Film Industry: Excelsior!...

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Australia's favorite son, Hugh Jackman, is returning back down under to Australia to make The Wolverine, his sixth showing as the Marvel Comic book adapted character, thanks to a whopping $12.8 million federal government subsidy.

And while referred to as "one-off", the local film industry is hopeful that the near-doubling of the standard assistance for a big-budget foreign production is a sign of things to come in next month’s budget.

The Wolverine is set in Japan but will be shot at Fox Studios in Sydney between July and December. Hugh Jackman will star and produce.

“It’s so great to bring these big movies down there, to keep people working,” Jackman told the Today program from London, where he is doing Les Miserables for Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech). “I just have to say thanks to Prime Minister Gillard, she was instrumental with this.”

Ms Gillard and Arts Minister Simon Crean jointly announced on Friday "a one-off payment" that provides Marvel Entertainment, the Hollywood producers of The Wolverine, a 30 per cent rebate through the tax system on production expenditure in Australia. "Without this … the producers of The Wolverine would not have chosen Australia as the location," their statement disclosed.

They claimed the subsidy would generate "over $80 million of investment in Australia and create more than 2000 jobs".

But local industry figures are hopeful the "one-off" caveat could soon be lifted.

"It’s a positive step for us, it shows the government’s willingness to look at the proposed increase to the location offset," said Debra Richards, chief of Ausfilm, who is responsible for atracting big-spending foreign productions to Australia.

Ausfilm and others have been lobbying the government for an increase in the foreign location offset for the past three years as the strong Australian dollar and competing incentive schemes offered by more than 40 states within the US and countries such as the UK, Canada and even Malaysia combine to make Australia too expensive for big-budget foreign productions.

The offset was introduced in 2001, at 12.5 per cent. At the time, the Australian dollar was worth about 50 cents. In 2007 it was increased to 15 per cent as a number of other territories copied, and often bettered, Australia’s incentives. Last year it was increased to 16.5 per cent.
The industry is seeking an increase to 30 per cent, and is understood to have backing from both sides of politics because big-budget foreign productions are seen as important in training and retaining technical personnel.

Crucial to the case it has taken to government is the argument that the cost to government will be relatively low as Australia is unlikely to be inundated with big productions. “It won’t be opening the floodgates,” said Ms Richards. “There’s a natural capacity here in terms of personnel and facilities.”

Sources suggest that capacity might be one large production per annum in each of Queensland (Warner studios), NSW (Fox) and Victoria (Melbourne Docklands Studios).

Docklands boss Rod Allan welcomed the news with both cautious optimism and regret.

"I think it’s terrific the federal government is willing to look at a one-off production offset and I hope that’s an indication of its willingness to look at the offset generally,” he said.
“I’d have preferred Wolverine to have come here, but now the Sydney studios are tied up for the rest of the year we’re in a great position to compete for other projects."

Asked if the decision foreshadowed an announcement on the offset scheme in the budget, Simon Crean’s office replied "the issues facing the screen industry are important to the government and will remain on our agenda over the coming years".

The budget will be handed down on May 8.

In the meantime Australian movie fans, especially those of the superhero genre, are hopefully that the likes of Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics will produce more upcoming movies on Australian soil.

A Media Man agency rep said "Something tells us that not only are fans, Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics watching these exciting developments closely, so are the likes of Frank Miller Inc and others. Australian actors, technical staff, make-up and wardrobe talent, honey wagon operators, the hotel industry, gaming developers and a range of other services companies are delighted with the Wolverine production news, and are hopeful that the Australian government will continue to find initiatives to give the Australian movie business more shots in the arm that it needs".

Stay tuned as we witness the Australian movie sector continuing to claw, kick and scratch its way back to its former glory. As Marvel Entertainment comic icon Stay Lee would say, Excelsior!

The Wolverine comic profile...

Wolverine is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Born as James Howlett and commonly known as Logan, Wolverine is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, three retracting bone claws on each hand and a healing factor that allows him to recover from virtually any wound, disease or toxin at an accelerated rate. The healing factor also slows down his aging process, enabling him to live beyond a normal human lifespan. His powerful healing factor enabled the supersoldier program Weapon X to bond the near-indestructible metal alloy adamantium to his skeleton and claws without killing him. He is most often depicted as a member of the X-Men, Alpha Flight, or later the Avengers.

The character first appeared in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk #180 (his first full appearance is in issue #181, November 1974) and was created by writer Len Wein and Marvel art director John Romita, Sr., who designed the character, and was first drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe. Wolverine later joined the X-Men's "All New, All Different" roster in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975). X-Men writer Chris Claremont played a significant role in the character's subsequent development, along with artist/writer John Byrne, who insisted on making the character older than the other X-Men. Artist Frank Miller collaborated with Claremont and helped to revise the character with a four-part eponymous limited series from September to December 1982 in which Wolverine's catchphrase, "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice," debuted.

Wolverine was typical of the many tough, anti-authority, antiheroes that emerged in American popular culture after the Vietnam War; his willingness to use deadly force and his brooding nature became standard characteristics for comic book anti-heroes by the end of the 1980s. As a result, the character became the clear favorite for fans of the increasingly popular X-Men franchise. Wolverine has been featured in his own solo comic since 1988 and has been a central character in most X-Men adaptations, including animated television series, video games, and the live-action 20th Century Fox X-Men film series, in which he is portrayed by Hugh Jackman. In May 2008, Wolverine was ranked #1 out of Wizard magazine's Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time and was ranked as the 4th Greatest Comic Book Character by Empire magazine in July 2008. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Wolverine at #21. In May 2011, Wolverine was ranked 4th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes (Credit: Wikipedia)



Marvel's IRON MAN 3 to Be Co-Produced in China; The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment to Bring Super Hero to China...

SHANGHAI & BEIJING & LOS ANGELES, Apr 16, 2012 - The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment today announced the intention to co-produce IRON MAN 3 in China. Under the arrangement, DMG Entertainment will make an investment in the production of IRON MAN 3, manage the Chinese co-production process, and jointly produce the film in China. The Chinese portion of IRON MAN 3's production will run through DMG Entertainment in coordination with Marvel Studios' production and creative teams. DMG will also distribute IRON MAN 3 in China in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company China.

IRON MAN 3 will be the third movie in the billion-dollar plus franchise from Marvel and stars a returning cast including Robert Downey Jr. (as billionaire inventor Tony Stark) Gwyneth Paltrow (as Pepper Potts) and Don Cheadle (as James "Rhodey" Rhodes). IRON MAN 3 is produced by Kevin Feige and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D'Esposito, Charles Newirth, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard and Dan Mintz. The film is being directed by Shane Black who is working on the script with Drew Pearce. The film releases in the United States on May 3, 2013, and is being distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in all territories worldwide other than in China (which is being distributed by DMG Entertainment) and Germany/Austria (which is being distributed by the Tele Munchen Group).

"The popularity of the Marvel franchise globally creates a huge opportunity to deliver fans yet another action packed film," said Stanley Cheung, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company, Greater China. "The co-production of IRON MAN 3 in China is testimony to the importance of this audience to Disney and the local industry capability to deliver a blockbuster title," he added.

"We look forward to working alongside DMG to bring IRON MAN to the Chinese marketplace in a significant way. We are confident that Marvel's stories will continue to be enjoyed by Chinese audiences, and adding a local flavor, and working with our new local partner, will enhance the appeal and relevance of our characters in China's fast-growing film marketplace," said Rob Steffens, General Manager of Operations and Finance for Marvel Studios.

"Our collaboration with Disney and Marvel marks a milestone in the global entertainment landscape, as this signifies the first multi-billion dollar franchise to be produced between Hollywood and China," said Dan Mintz, CEO of DMG Entertainment. "The IRON MAN franchise has been a major success worldwide, and we look forward to pushing the series to new heights with IRON MAN 3. The movie will further build upon its compelling storyline, and feature the hottest A-list stars, and spectacular action, which will resonate well both globally and in China, the second largest box office market in the world."

The first installment of IRON MAN lifted off with high-speed, high-flying action when jet-setting industrialist Tony Stark survives an unexpected attack and escapes by building a high-tech robotic suit of armor. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man. Straight from the pages of the legendary comic book, Iron Man is a hero who is built--not born--to be unlike any other and made US$581 million at the global box office when released in 2008. Based on Marvel's iconic Super Hero, IRON MAN 2 continued the story of the 2008 summer box office blockbuster IRON MAN, and made US$624 million at the global box office when released in 2010. Now, IRON MAN 3 continues the story with a new chapter that will deliver more heart-pounding action than ever before. Marvel Studios' IRON MAN 3 will find Tony Stark with his back against the wall, facing his most fearsome foes yet.

Shooting is expected to commence in May in the United States and begin location filming in China in late summer 2012.

About The Walt Disney Company in China

The Walt Disney Company DIS -0.45%, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a diversified international family entertainment enterprise with five business segments and is a Dow 30 company with revenues of $41 billion in its most recently reported fiscal year. Disney's first animation screened in China in the 1930s and today our long association continues with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with over 1000 employees. The Company has a broad range of businesses including publishing, broadcast, mobile, web, retail and its English language program, Disney English, which launched in 2008. Nearly 24 hours of Disney television programming is now available in China every week, reaching 300-360 million people each month. In September 2005, Disney opened its doors to its first theme park in China, Hong Kong Disneyland and in 2011 announced ground breaking for the Shanghai Disneyland Resort, a joint venture with Shanghai Shendi Group.

About Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com . Super Hero(es) is a co-owned registered trademark.

About DMG Entertainment

Founded in China in 1993, DMG owns and operates a premier entertainment company (DMG Entertainment), and an award-winning communications agency (DMG Media), possessing nearly 20 years of experience. DMG Entertainment is a leader in China's film market through the production of a diverse portfolio of commercially driven films, including 2009's The Founding of a Republic, 2010's Go Lala Go!, and 2011's Beginning of the Great Revival, as well as through the distribution of Hollywood titles such as Twilight, Knowing, Killers, Resident Evil: Afterlife, RED, The Eagle, and Priest. DMG Entertainment has also produced Hollywood/China films including Looper set for release in 2012. DMG Media has provided strategic and creative campaigns for international brands looking to connect with Chinese consumers through DMG's all-encompassing platform. SOURCE: The Walt Disney Company China


Madame Tussauds New York Unveil Their Marvel Superheroes Exhibit...

Madame Tussauds New York, USA, has revealed a first look at their new interactive Marvel Super Heroes exhibit, set to open on Thursday, April 26th, just before many of the heroes appear on the big screen in the May 4th release of Marvel's 'The Avengers'.

The new, multi-level experience will feature wax likenesses of The Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and two new wax figures of Captain America and Thor, as well as the Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience – a new, short film with amazing special effects.

Captain America, as portrayed by Chris Evans in the 2011 blockbuster film, Captain America: The First Avenger, will stand in his patriotic red, white and blue costume, holding his circular shield. Thor, as portrayed by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth in the hit 2011 film, Thor, will wield his mighty hammer, Mjolnir.

“We’re bringing the Marvel Super Heroes that so many of us grew up with to life,” said Bret Pidgeon, General Manager of Madame Tussauds New York. “Marvel fans young and old alike will now have the opportunity to see, interact with and stand alongside their favorite characters.”

The exhibit will lead visitors through a long hallway and downstairs into the secret command center to unlock their powers alongside their favorite heroes. Captain America and Iron Man stand at the ready while Spider-Man crouches, about to spring into action and a 15-foot-tall likeness of The Hulk emerges through a wall into the Gamma Radiation Lab.

Expo visitors will stand at the “Contamination Station” to see if they’ve been exposed to the gamma rays that turned Dr. Bruce Banner into his green alter ego. They will also have the opportunity to wield the hammer Mjoilnir alongside of Thor as he emerges through a portal from Asgard prepared for battle.

“From the pages of our comic books to the big screen and now live in wax – it’s a great thing to see some of our best-loved Marvel characters come to life in this fun and interactive way,” said Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment. "For more than 70 years, Marvel has captured the imagination of fans around the world and we’re excited to be working with Madame Tussauds New York to open this amazing experience for everyone to enjoy.”

The never-before-seen Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience places visitors in the middle of a Stark Industries press conference. Viewers can not only watch as Peter Parker asks Tony Stark questions, but feel the commotion once the press conference is interrupted by the evil Loki and Dr. Doom. Viewers will feel as though they are joining Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, and Spider-Man to battle their nemeses. Excelsior!

News...

Madame Tussauds recently opened their Sydney, Australia branch, and we understand there's a Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) wax double. Excelsior!

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