Marvel Entertainment, Inc., announced that the company has entered into a new arrangement with Avi Arad to independently produce films for Marvel under his own production company banner, Avi Arad Productions. In this new capacity, Mr. Arad will remain actively involved in Marvel's upcoming film slate, including Iron Man and Hulk, the first two films anticipated to be financed and produced by Marvel under its new film financing slate. Mr. Arad will also remain attached to produce various licensed productions, including the upcoming Spider-Man 3, scheduled for release next year, and subsequent sequels. Consistent with this restructuring, Mr. Arad is resigning from his corporate positions as Chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel and a Marvel director, but will continue to serve as Creative Advisor for Marvel through the remainder of 2006.
Michael Helfant, President and COO of Marvel Studios, and Kevin Feige, Marvel Studio's President of Production, will lead Marvel Studios and its continuing development of a growing slate of feature films, television and other entertainment projects. Mr. Helfant, an industry veteran with over 17 years of production experience, was recruited to Marvel last year to manage the expanded scope of studio operations; and Mr. Feige, recently appointed President of Production, has worked side by side with Mr. Arad for the past eight years during Marvel's impressive production run.
"I have helped to build Marvel into a very special company, and on the heels of the tremendous success of X-Men: The Last Stand, I felt like it was the right time for me to move away from the day to day corporate responsibilities in order to focus on what I love best - creating and producing. I am leaving behind a great team to run the studio, and I expect to remain actively involved in the development and production of many Marvel films in the years to come," said Mr. Arad.
Mort Handel, Marvel's Chairman of the Board, commented, "Avi has been a driving force at Marvel, and he and his team are credited with producing some of the highest grossing films in history, including this past weekend's blockbuster X-Men: The Last Stand and Spider-Man, Hulk, and Fantastic Four. His vision and leadership will be missed, but we understand Avi's desire to pursue a broader array of opportunities and wish him the best of luck. Going forward, we are fortunate to have a deep bench led by Michael Helfant and Kevin Feige who will assume the bulk of Avi's company responsibilities." In addition, Sid Ganis, a Marvel Director, Independent Producer and the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will assist Marvel during the transition.
With a library of over 5,000 characters, Marvel Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies. Marvel's operations are focused on utilizing its character franchises in licensing, entertainment, publishing and toys. Areas of emphasis include feature films, DVD/home video, consumer products, video games, action figures and role-playing toys, television and promotions. Rooted in the creative success of over sixty years of comic book publishing, Marvel's strategy is to leverage its character franchises in a growing array of opportunities around the world.