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21 April 2012

Superhero Film The Avengers Divides Comic Fans; Stan Lee to host 'Avengers' screening at Catalina Film Festival...

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Superhero Film The Avengers Divides Comic Fans...

The latest film from the Marvel superhero franchise has premiered in London and although it is expected to be a mega hit at the box office some comic book fans are already critical.

Marvel Avengers Assemble not only features an all-star cast including Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L Jackson, it also brings together superheroes including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow.

Downey Jr said it was "a blast" to be in London, saying: "It's been five years since our last adventure so I'm happy and humbled to be here."

But for some hardcore devotees of the comics, it is yet another film which "dumbs down" the Marvel books.

Comic book expert, Chris Thompson, told media that although the films help bring the comics to a wider audience, they harm the Marvel legacy.

He said: "One of the down sides is that they often to pander to this market and almost try to dumb down and take away what is great about the comics to cater to the audience.

"So it is very disappointing that you get a glut of very mediocre film titles that come out that don't show comics at their best."

Early reviews, though, indicate this is not one of the "mediocre" movies.

Influential industry magazine Variety tweeted: "Not a false note. Innovative. Brutal. And goddamn funny. Hype = believe it. It's the bomb. I could not possibly say enough."

Written and directed by Buffy creator Joss Whedon, the film is based on Marvel series The Avengers, first published in 1963.

Johansson said she enjoyed reprising the role of the feisty Black Widow, originally seen in Iron Man 2, despite the injuries she suffered doing her own stunts.

"It's nice to be able to play a female character that's not a damsel in distress or some woman in waiting but to actually play someone who's got a lot of conviction and who is really ready to kick some booty," she said.

It is part of a number of superhero films to be released in the past few years, including Thor, the Iron Man films, Captain America and the forthcoming Spiderman movie starring Brit actor Andrew Garfield.

The Avengers was made following the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment by Walt Disney studios in 2009, with Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 also in development.

Marvel Avengers Assemble also stars Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston.

The 3D film is released in cinemas on April 26.


Stan Lee to host 'Avengers' screening at Catalina Film Festival...

If you want to do brunch with comic book king, Stan Lee, it will cost you -- right now about $1,550.

That's the current minimum bid for a shot at attending a VIP brunch at the Catalina Film Festival on May 5 with the co-creator of Spider-man, the Hulk and a slew of other famous characters. The winning bidder gets a seat at the table and other cool stuff, including passes to the film festival in Avalon on Catalina Island, two autographed comic books and ferry tickets to get there and back.

Bidding ends noon Pacific time Thursday, and of course it's all for charity. Proceeds benefit the film festival and the Catalina Island Conservancy.

But brunch isn't the only Lee-centric event at the three-day festival. The former Marvel Comics president, who co-founded the new POW! Entertainment company, also will host a special screening of "The Avengers" on the film's opening weekend. He'll introduce a showing of the documentary "With Great Power -- The Stan Lee Story" and appear on a panel to answer questions about his work and his life.

And on opening night (May 4), he will be presented with the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Award, which gives a nod to films and filmmakers who espouse "a philosophy of individual opportunity, optimism and pride," a film festival statement says.

The festival, May 4-6, will feature 75 films and present awards for animation (Lee will present this award), feature, documentary, student, short and other categories. Films will be shown at the Avalon Casino Theater and other venues. Tickets range from $8 for students and seniors to individual screenings to $150 for a weekend pass to $2,000 for two VIP guests.


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

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