One important bit of fallout from the Disney acquisition of Marvel appears to be an increased urgency on the part of the other Hollywood studios to make the most of the Marvel characters for which they have acquired screen rights. The rights to Marvel characters come with “use it or lose it” clauses, and in the highly competitive world of Hollywood studios, there’s more onus attached to losing a potentially lucrative property to another major studio like Disney than there would be to the smaller Marvel Studios. Because of this fear of losing a potential gilt-edged property like Iron Man, even Marvel properties with less than stellar records at the box office are in serious development alongside those that have been spectacularly successful.
Variety reports that Sony has revved up a second installment of the only partially successful Ghost Rider for its Columbia subsidiary (see “Ghost Rider II”), while hiring writer Jamie Vanderbilt to begin work on the fifth and sixth installments of Spider-Man.
Fox, not only has a number of X-films in development (see “X-Men Producer Talks X4”), and a reboot of the Fantastic Four written by Michael Green (Green Lantern, see “Another Fantastic Four Movie?”), Variety reports that the studio “is quietly developing a new version of Daredevil and working on a Silver Surfer movie.”
Note that the original Daredevil film, which was released in 2003, cost $78 million to produce and only earned $102.5 million domestically, with 40% of that total coming from its opening weekend, which indicates a very poor audience response. The Daredevil spin-off Elektra fared even worse, earning just $24.4 million in the U.S. against a cost of $43 million. As for the Fantastic Four, the FF films performed better at the box office, but the franchise was clearly headed in the wrong direction. The first film cost $100 million to produce and earned $330.5 million worldwide, while the sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer cost $130 million and brought in just $289 million worldwide.