With the robust launch of the Witchblade anime series, the success The Darkness videogame and the impending release of a major motion picture based on Wanted, ICv2 talked with Top Cow President Matt Hawkins to see what strategies that Top Cow would adapt in order to take advantage of these multi-media opportunities to sell more comic books and graphic novels. In Part III Hawkins discusses the forthcoming film version of Wanted and, from the perspective of someone who has been involved with at least 30 projects that have been optioned for development, the difficulties of getting films made in Tinseltown. In Part I Hawkins explained the 'rebooting' of the Witchblade trade series and the different approaches to the bookstore and direct markets. In Part II he talked about the new The Darkness comic book series and Top Cow's changing business model.
Tell us what you have planned for Wanted in the run-up to the release of the movie in March?
Well, we were going to re-release the individual issues with new covers and some 'director's cut' commentary in the back, but we did a lot of retail outreach and we got a pretty behemoth backlash -- the retailers did not want a re-release of the comics, so we pulled it and we decided simply to concentrate on re-releasing the graphic novel. We thought about doing photo covers and stuff like that, but I went to Universal and to use one of the Angelina Jolie photo covers would cost like a hundred grand, so at that point, I didn't think it was worth it for one image. So we are going to do campaigns in the bookstores pushing the graphic novel just like they did with 300 and
When does Wanted premiere?
The film comes out March 28th. I have already seen about 45 minutes of it -- it has got great casting, it looks phenomenal, a great director and an $80 million budget -- I can't imagine that this thing won't hit. There's nothing else coming out then. The next notable film coming out is the Indiana Jones movie in May (May 22nd) -- so we've got a great window of opportunity there. I don't know if you have seen any of the still images of Angelina Jolie on the car with the guns or any of the other stuff -- I'm biased, but to me it looks bad-assed.
Are there any other multi-media projects that you can tell us about?
Well there is the second The Darkness videogame -- release date unknown -- these things always take longer than they say they will -- probably the end of '09. There's a strong likelihood of Witchblade Season 2 in
On the film front it's a little more sporadic. We've had Rising Stars attached for live action, Inferno, Witchblade a number of different times. It's always frustrating when it gets close and then it falls apart, but the biggest thing unfortunately for us is that our most iconic and well known characters are all female leads, and in
That anti-female hero bias has been in the news recently thanks to Warners' Jeff Robinov, have you been following that?
Yeah, I've been following it and the funny thing is that's not new. Everybody just picked up on that in the last few months, but that guy's been saying that for years. It's a pretty common
But your experience with Wanted has been good?
Wanted has been great. They haven't tried to water down the comic at all. Timur (Bekmambetov, the director of Wanted) makes really violent, hyperactive sorts of films. He was this outsider who was brought in -- and he is the visionary. If you look at most good films and find that there was one guy who had the power and the ability to tell the studios 'This is what I am doing, leave me alone,' those films tend to do better and they're good.