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Avi Arad leaves MARVEL!

Hey folks, Harry here... word has come in from all over the place that Avi Arad and Ari Arad have left MARVEL. If true, this would mean the new guy in charge of the whole Marvel film universe would be Kevin Feige. Is this a good turn of events for the Marvel Universe? Honestly, I don't know. Sure, I haven't been very happy with the Fox MARVEL films recently... ELECTRA, FANTASTIC FOUR and X-MEN 3... but they have earned significant money. I've never spoken with Kevin Feige, Moriarty knows him and seems to feel he's very sharp and has a good head for Marvel and its properties... Having said that, Avi Arad has been both a hero and villain in the realm of Marvel and Comic Book cinema. Bringing talented directors like Ang Lee, Bryan Singer, Sam Raimi, Jon Favreau, Guillermo Del Toro, Steve Norrington to their properties... but at the same time he's brought some less talented directors... rolling the dice on newer talent... that has crapped out on us, but usually with good scripts. However, a lot of those sorts of problems on the worst Marvel films came from Studio interferance and the last conversation I had with Avi - he was very very excited about being able to independently produce Marvel films with a distribution partner in Paramount. Why has he decided to leave? Was he forced out? At Cannes this year they were working on raising the warchest to produce more products, did that go badly? Or is Avi tired of it all and just wants to produce his own films... does his exit from Marvel come tied with some of Marvel's properties to produce? We'll find out soon enough, I called both Avi and Kevin at MARVEL, but have yet to hear back. I'm sure we'll hear soon enough.

Avi just sent me the press release:

MARVEL ANNOUNCES NEW INDEPENDENT PRODUCER DEAL WITH AVI ARAD

- Michael Helfant and Kevin Feige to Lead Marvel Studios as President/COO and President, Production -

- Arad Will Continue to Produce Spider-Man 3, its Sequels and Marvel's Own Productions of Hulk and Iron Man -

NEW YORK--May 31, 2006--Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: MVL), a global character-based entertainment and licensing company, today 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.

Michael Helfant, who joined Marvel in November 2005, has over 22 years of entertainment industry experience, most recently as COO of Beacon Pictures, a major independent motion picture production company whose recent feature film releases include Open Range, Raising Helen and Ladder 49. Prior to Beacon, Mr. Helfant was Senior Executive Vice President of Dimension Films (SPY Kids, Scream and Scary Movie franchises, and The Others), a division of Miramax Film Corp. from 1999-2002. Mr. Helfant also served as Executive Vice President, Head of Business Operations and Acquisitions at Interscope Communications, Inc. (Runaway Bride, Pitch Black, Mr. Holland's Opus and Jumanji), and Senior Vice President of Sovereign Pictures, Inc (Reversal of Fortune, My Left Foot, The Commitments and Cinema Paradiso). Mr. Helfant started his career as an entertainment attorney with Loeb & Loeb in Century City. Mr. Helfant is a graduate of the JD/MBA program at UCLA.

Kevin Feige has over ten years of entertainment experience, including eight years developing feature films and entertainment based on Marvel characters. He joined Marvel Studios in 2000 as Executive Vice President and was recently promoted to President, Production. He has been actively involved in Marvel's feature film projects, serving as Executive Producer on X-Men: The Last Stand, Spider-Man 2, The Hulk, The Punisher and Fantastic Four; Co-Producer on X-Men: United and Daredevil and as a production executive on Spider-Man. Prior to joining Marvel Studios, Mr. Feige worked for Producer Lauren Shuler Donner and Director Richard Donner at The Donners' Company. While there, he worked on films including Volcano, starring Tommy Lee Jones and the hit romantic comedy You've Got Mail, directed by Nora Ephron and starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. He then transitioned into development which led to an Associate Producer role on the film that revamped the comic book genre, X-Men. It was there that he started his work in the Marvel Universe, developing the X-Men feature for two years with Lauren and Director Bryan Singer, and serving as the film's Associate Producer. Mr. Feige graduated from the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television.

Readers Talkback
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  • May 31, 2006, 3:50 p.m. CST

    Countdown....

    by thevision17

    To all of the idiots here to start saying that he sucked!!! No matter what the subject, it always spirals down to the negative guys screwing up AICN....

  • May 31, 2006, 3:52 p.m. CST

    1st maybe?

    by PutZ

    maybe not?

  • May 31, 2006, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Yay? I don't know how to take this...

    by andrew coleman

    I think Arad got tired of the bs. Sure some of the movies have made money, Elektra bombed, FF made it's money back and X3 is a hit. Wow that's actually not that great of a recent track record. Only the Spider-man movies have hit home runs so this isn't surprising. All these movies should be Spider-man esque but they fail and someone had to take the fall.

  • May 31, 2006, 3:53 p.m. CST

    whats really important

    by rubensreviews

    is why imdb is saying may parker is carnage...

  • May 31, 2006, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Methinks...

    by thevision17

    NOT.

  • May 31, 2006, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Avi can go back to playing with his action figures

    by Killgore

  • May 31, 2006, 3:53 p.m. CST

    thats pretty huge

    by casinoskunk

    wow

  • May 31, 2006, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Carnage?

    by Screaming Brain

    I agree... why the hell is imdb saying may parker is carnage???

  • May 31, 2006, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Avi's still producing all the upcoming Marvel movies

    by Frank Einstein

    Did Harry even read the press release? Arad is stepping down as head of Marvel studios so that he can produce all the upcoming Marvel movies as an independent, making him more money and giving him the ability to add outside projects like the Bratz movie to his plate. So he's "leaving" Marvel but he's not really leaving at all.

  • May 31, 2006, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Why imdb is saying May Parker is carnage ...

    by chrth

    My guess is that it's because imdb is unreliable and someone thought it'd be funny to add that

  • May 31, 2006, 4:09 p.m. CST

    Guillermo del Toro?

    by rev_skarekroe

    What Marvel movie did he do?

  • May 31, 2006, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Avi Was Always An Original Idea Guy

    by CaptDanielRoe

    Does anyone else remember when he was a star toy designer? I think he was responsible for that terminator-torsoed robot in the wheelie disc that screamed at ear-piercing decibel levels.

  • May 31, 2006, 4:15 p.m. CST

    Kudos to the Say Anything Knowles animation.

    by Nate Champion

    One of the best yet. As far as Arad is concerned, anyone who makes films like Electra and Fantastic Four deserves a bullet in the head. If you ask me, he got off damn fuckin' easy.

  • May 31, 2006, 4:15 p.m. CST

    YackBacker, thanks!

    by Screaming Brain

    I don't know why this site is sooo busy blowing Superman and Snakes on a Muthafucking Plane. "Transformers" and "They call me Bruce" will crush them both.... and they call themselves "geeks". psht! whatever.

  • May 31, 2006, 4:18 p.m. CST

    rev_skarekroe

    by KabutoKoji

    For the comic book genre, Del Toro has directed two. For Marvel specifically? Blade 2. The other was Hellboy, for another company...

  • May 31, 2006, 4:19 p.m. CST

    He ain't exactly leaving

    by Terry_1978

    More than likely he'll have a hand in stuff from time to time, but don't start jumping the gun thinking that as soon as he leaves things will get better movie wise for these characters. There are plenty of producers on these flicks that can cause just as much damage.

  • May 31, 2006, 4:22 p.m. CST

    rev_skarekroe

    by Datascream

    Guillermo del Toro did Blade 2. Also the May Parker and Carnage thing is probably a mistake. On the imdb page of Silent Hill it's also said before that Pyramid Head was played by Deborah Kara Unger. But has since then been corrected. So it's probably just a typo or something.

  • May 31, 2006, 4:24 p.m. CST

    oops, KabutoKoji beat me to it..

    by Datascream

  • May 31, 2006, 4:29 p.m. CST

    FRACK!

    by Purgatori

    Anyone have a working link to the Transformers pics?

  • May 31, 2006, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Finally! He's gone!

    by Darksider

    Now can we get someone who is familiar with the material? Someone who also doesn't try to make every film "about relationships" and make damn comic book movies. It's not fucking Shakespeare.

  • May 31, 2006, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Wait wait wait

    by Kevin Bosch

    So these are two different dudes? Who names one kid Avi and the other one Ari?

  • May 31, 2006, 4:33 p.m. CST

    good riddance!!

    by quadrupletree

    To bad rubbish.

  • May 31, 2006, 4:34 p.m. CST

    a few things

    by Darth Thoth

    1) Seems like there will be more Spider Man movies after #3. 2) Avi probably realized what an abomination X3 was and his consciousness made him realize it was time to switch things up. 3) I'm real interested to see how Hulk 2, Ironman, and of the course the next Spider Man(s) turn out. 4) Congrats Harry on the engagement? If true, props to you man.

  • May 31, 2006, 4:43 p.m. CST

    So....um....if I read this right...er......

    by RobinP

    he's going....but he's not going. He's not going to be head of Marvel Productions, but he's going to produce movies based on Marvel characters as an independent ? This smacks of BFD (Big Fuckin' Deal) Harry - did you actually READ the press release ??

  • May 31, 2006, 4:45 p.m. CST

    You know, I think you guys are reading...

    by Childe Roland

    ...this all wrong. Avi leaves to form his own production company and times the announcement for just after the staggeringly good weekend box from his latest flick comes in? I'm guessing he used that as a bargaining chip to let him keep his fingers in the pot and making money off Marvel while still taking on non-Marvel projects and making even more money. Essentially, it's like he bought his live-in girlfriend a giant diamond and fucked her into three orgasms, then picked the next moment to reveal that he needs his space and wants to see other people. Oh...and he'd still like to keep a key to the place and drop by to fuck her every now and again. It looks as though Marvel pretty much bent over and said "yes, please" to that proposition. I don't know if that's going to end up in better movies for Marvel or not, but this is hardly a case of Arad getting forced out or taking the fall for a record-breaking summer blockbuster opening...that much I can promise you.

  • May 31, 2006, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Thank God!

    by OBSD

    Now if we can just get rid of Rothman, we may be on to something.

  • May 31, 2006, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Strange develpment indeed....

    by Doom II

    He's leaving with a big fat wallet, that's for sure.

  • May 31, 2006, 5:28 p.m. CST

    probably won't make a big difference

    by Rupee88

    The studios are the ones who hire the writers and directors...Marvel and their henchmen have little say. The Marvel produced films will be another story, but there's no way to tell whether this is a good or bad development for that. Nearly all the Marvel character films have really sucked, so I don't see why anyone would mourn the loss of anyone even partly responsble for them. But again, Arad probably deserves little of the credit or the blame, so no big deal that he is leaving.

  • May 31, 2006, 6:15 p.m. CST

    But the real question is....

    by brainedchild

    Is Avi selling off all his stock?

  • May 31, 2006, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Hey! Tom Rothman posts here!

    by MattCG

    And he's a pissy, little bitch. As for the Arad thing? Good. For someone who claimed to have such a profound understanding of Marvel's properties, he sure didn't have much of a problem handing them off to people who would royally fuck them up. As for not knowing Rothman if I saw him? http://www.tom-rothman.com/tom_rothman.jpg Who could forget that fucking mug?

  • May 31, 2006, 6:58 p.m. CST

    Any Chance He Can Take Quesada With Him...

    by Buzz Maverik

    You know, as a career opportunity for Joe, not because I think Joe has been gawd-awful for funny books or anything.

  • May 31, 2006, 6:59 p.m. CST

    "Michael Helfant" sounds like "Gag Halfrunt"

    by Tall_Boy

    "Zaphod's just this guy, you know?"

  • May 31, 2006, 7:30 p.m. CST

    X3 gave Arad the leverage to punch his own ticket

    by Ye Not Guilty

    That's all this means. He can do whatever he wants, basically.

  • May 31, 2006, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Snakes on a Fangoria cover!

    by BurtGummer

    Fuck X3, go to fangoria.com, click on upcoming issue! Also go to myspace.com/eliroth and read about his audition for Tarantino's part of GRINDHOUSE, pretty funny

  • May 31, 2006, 8:02 p.m. CST

    maybe he's interested in making films that are good

    by HypeEndsHere

    and that adults with half a brain or more can enjoy. movies without action figures involved or based on cartoons and drawings of musclemen with magic powers. you know, movies that won't be forgotten a year after they're released on DVD. i mean how rewarding is overseeing The Punisher or Blade II in the grand scheme of things?

  • May 31, 2006, 8:50 p.m. CST

    which corporate dickhead is going to sell soul next?

    by INWOsuxRED

    Unless it was Chris Claremont taking his place, I don't think anything has changed here. Having Marvel "take back" their properties means nothing either. It just means one less entity needs to be involved to greenlight a pile of shit. Marvel is just as good at fucking up their own properties as any movie studio. Actually Marvel is way more proficient at ruining their own properties. They don't care about quality on any level, they just care about return on investment. When they are involved in good projects, it is by accident.

  • May 31, 2006, 8:51 p.m. CST

    You first read this here...

    by genro

    Avi's closest friend is the owner. This guy gets very, very bored with businesses and loves to turn them when they are at a peak. The longest he's ever held onto a company is this Marvel term. I think this means Marvel is about to be sold to Viacom.

  • May 31, 2006, 8:55 p.m. CST

    Leevancleef, you aren't worthy of the name, you slurper

    by IAmJack'sUserID

    Satan damn your soul to hell, asstoker.

  • May 31, 2006, 9:02 p.m. CST

    All The Best

    by Evil Chicken

    Avi Arad held court over some amazing forward movement for the Marvel Universe. The guy did right by most of the characters that he represented in getting onto the big screen. I wish him the best in the future and I

  • May 31, 2006, 9:37 p.m. CST

    His Track Record,

    by Mad-Maximus

    I'll admit, if it wasn't for Avi Arad then maybe we wouldn't have had half the movies come out but then he had to have his input on certain movies. The movie he did have input were not that good quality wise and only one mad money and that was FF and X3. The others: Daredevil, Elektra, Ghost Rider(well that jury is still out, just don't have faith in the director). The Marvel movies that were successful and good quality he really didn't have that much input in such as the first 2 X-men movies plus the Spiderman franchises. I just hope he doesn't mess with the rest of the Marvel movies.

  • May 31, 2006, 10:03 p.m. CST

    leevancleef33... You're a stretching asshole.

    by ZeroCorpse

    Jerk. Hey Doc P! Can you delete leevancleef33's posts pretty please?!?!

  • May 31, 2006, 10:18 p.m. CST

    Too Soon

    by Alonzo Mosely

    I have no idea where I am going with this...

  • May 31, 2006, 11:32 p.m. CST

    Down right brillant tenure...

    by Lost Skeleton

    the guy got the superhero buzz rolling again with Blade and New Line. Now all comic movies are cool and not just cheezy kids fest with PG ratings. All in all...I think Avi deserves a godspeed for what he has done for geekdom.

  • May 31, 2006, 11:57 p.m. CST

    FIRST.....

    by thebearovingian

    time I've posted in a stretched out talkback. And Amen to poopflinger, Jon Favreau is more of a hack than Ratner. Oh wait, ELF was a masterpiece? Iron Man isn't made yet so let's not crown Favreau just yet. Laus Deo

  • June 1, 2006, 12:03 a.m. CST

    Favreau is no great director

    by Rupee88

    He wrote "Swingers" which is worth a lot, but "Elf" was a sellout for sure...and the Jumanji sequel too. He's become a kiddie movie director.

  • June 1, 2006, 1:07 a.m. CST

    Raising Helen and Ladder 49....

    by ewokstew

    Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted...kinda

  • June 1, 2006, 1:18 a.m. CST

    Craptastic Producer 4

    by Crash Crator

    *****It's about time! And don't come back!

  • June 1, 2006, 4:30 a.m. CST

    Awesome news!!!

    by simongarth2001

    Avi said he "cared" about Marvel and its characters.....and yet , gave us the worst screen villian in recent history in Dr Doom. I cant forgive his ass for that. Thanks for nothing Avi. Now maybe someone will get in there, that will not allow film makers and idiot writers to mess with these classic characters. They do not need updated or fixed in any way dumbasses.

  • June 1, 2006, 4:40 a.m. CST

    Good. Make sure you close the door on your way out.

    by mrfan

    Thank you for nothing.

  • June 1, 2006, 5:37 a.m. CST

    Now...

    by DukeOfSpiders

    ...When can we get rid of Joe Quesada?

  • June 1, 2006, 8:20 a.m. CST

    HARRY - ALEX TOTH DIED! WHERE'S YOUR EUOLOGY DAMMIT?!?

    by genro

    The guy was as important and as influential as Kirby - and not a word?!

  • June 1, 2006, 8:26 a.m. CST

    My take:

    by mbeemer

    Arad gets to keep his fingers in projects he was already involved in, but he won't have anything to do with other projects or new development. If I read that right I didn't see any mention of Fantastic Four 2 or the animated series, so if those aren't too far along the new guy may be able to keep them from going too far off track.

  • June 1, 2006, 8:42 a.m. CST

    avi arad.....

    by emeraldboy

    When arad came to Marvel they were bankrupt fiancially and they were in no position to distribute anything and they had no studio clout whatsoever, arad brought to marvel his merchandising experience, he taught marvel that in order to make some profit they would have to link in to things like toys t-shirts, etc. once that happend, once marvel were financially secure, he than began plan b. he went to several studios and locked them into plans to bring, hulk, daredevil etc to life. he dragged marvel back from from the brink of bankruptcy and turned them into a corporation. In order to make the company last, he pulled off one of the biggest corporate deals in a windfall from Merril lynch, which they say was somewhere in the 500 billion. Marvel then became a corporation, that is what they are today. He leaves the company much better off, then when he started as ceo, which was insolvent and nearly bankrupt. In a company brand, marketing and merchandise, is what it is all about these days, i have a diploma in business managment and admin. Movies are product, good or bad, movies like x-men 3 are part of a franchise. X-men 3 succeded because people knew the character and like them. and like the actors(or in berrys case not) too. it all comes down to marketing, story comes second. etc.

  • June 1, 2006, 8:49 a.m. CST

    this is from Empire Magazine

    by emeraldboy

    Avi Arad has thrown a smoke bomb on the floor of his office, cackled like a super villain and flown the coup at Marvel Studios. Well, sort of. He

  • June 1, 2006, 9:05 a.m. CST

    check it out!

    by _Kayser_

    Spidey pics! http://www.xfm.net/posts/395

  • June 1, 2006, 9:15 a.m. CST

    It was time for him to go

    by NeoCon

    He did a great job at the beginning with X1 and Spiderman. He respected the comic books and developed the characters but also understood that cinema was a different language. After The Hulk failed with it's too serious approach he went the opposite direction and went with quick studio dreck. He should have apologized for Fan4. Were they even trying with that one?

  • June 1, 2006, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Thanks, I forgot about Blade 2.

    by rev_skarekroe

    But now I remember it - damn you all!

  • June 1, 2006, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Don't count your webheads before they're hatched

    by Doctor_Sin

    Avi will be around. He will have his fingers in so many production pies, maximizing his profit margin, he won't know which property to assrape next. Marvel would be as foolish as a white suburban kid trying to by crack in South Central to not work with Avi in the future.

  • June 1, 2006, 10:24 a.m. CST

    I'm guessing the Toth eulogy will be included with

    by rev_skarekroe

    this week's AICN Comics column.

  • June 1, 2006, 10:38 a.m. CST

    there goes harrys only source

    by ZO

    bye

  • June 1, 2006, 10:55 a.m. CST

    "Hey Doc P! Can you delete leevancleef33's posts"

    by stvnhthr

    Why would the Doc have the ability to delete posts?

  • June 1, 2006, 11:39 a.m. CST

    FUCK Avi Arad

    by Toby___Wong

    Since he came aboard Marvel comics really started to suck. So good riddance to that piece of shit.

  • June 1, 2006, 1:01 p.m. CST

    THIS CHANGES NOTHING

    by calami-shami

    He's still there. Its right there. It says hes still producing. So Comic book fans and moviegoers with half a brain are still fucked. FUCK YOU AVI.

  • June 1, 2006, 1:54 p.m. CST

    Who?

    by Photoman

    Oh, sorry....I have never picked up a comic in my life. Ever. So I guess this is all lost on me.

  • June 1, 2006, 3:37 p.m. CST

    Silver Surfer in FF2 - Official, etc.

    by KokopelliJoe

    http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-05-31-alba_x.htm You heard it here first! Ain't it slow news! (under "What summer movie do you want to see")

  • June 2, 2006, 1:43 a.m. CST

    "Avi just sent me the press release:" that's funny.

    by logofdoom

    hey, the president of pfizer just sent me a press release too! I like this site but I can't believe you had the balls to say "Avi sent me this"... it's a fucking press release. If he's even met the person that sent that I'll eat my keyboard. Just admit he hasn't returned your calls and be done with it.