Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Daredevil film rights back to Marvel

From Newsarama:
In August, it was reported that previous rights-holder Fox had a deadline of Oct. 10 to put a Daredevil film into production before the rights returned to Marvel, a deadline that then passed.

I'm shocked that rights-holders ever allow their licenses to expire, even for properties that didn't perform well for them. I used to wonder when Fox and Sony would finally let go of X-Men and Spider-Man, so that those properties could return to Marvel and become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I supposed that it would only happen if the movies started performing so poorly for Fox and Sony that the studios would just give up on them. But then I realized that, even if the movies stopped being successful, the studios would do whatever it took to hang on to the rights, allowing themselves the opportunity to reboot down the line, or even just taking measures to ensure, for example, not necessarily that Fox itself was making money off these properties, but just that nobody else was making money that Fox could have made off them.

The Roger Corman-produced Fantastic Four (1994) proved that Fox was not above making fake movies specifically to extend its contract deadlines. And the Fox v. WB Watchmen fiasco demonstrated how even almost spiteful they could be, that they would quietly wait for an entire major motion picture production to wrap before filing suit to make sure they got their piece of the pie, as rights-holders for a property they were doing nothing with. Sure enough, it wasn't for lack of trying that Fox failed to rush out another Daredevil movie.

But now that the deadline has passed, what does it mean for the future of Daredevil in film? A Daredevil movie from Marvel Studios could be good. It could be bad. It could be nothing, since Marvel isn't under pressure from itself to start work on a movie by a certain deadline. We definitely still won't get Daredevil crossing paths with Spider-Man and the Punisher, which would be my preferred crossover for each of those characters, ahead of any of them appearing in an Avengers movie. Of course, what suddenly does become possible (albeit improbable) is a film adaptation of my personal favorite Avengers story—not technically an Avengers story at all, but rather the Daredevil story "Born Again," by Frank Miller, wherein the Avengers appear briefly but pivotally and viewed from a perspective that leaves you with a whole different appreciation of everybody's place in the larger Marvel universe.


After six issues of war between Daredevil and the Kingpin—of our humble street-level hero Matt Murdock getting the ever-living crap beat out of him—finally, finally the situation in Hell's Kitchen escalates to the point that it merits the notice of the mighty Avengers, who swoop in and defuse it within seconds. It's a moment that is, at once, equal parts "Where the hell have you been all this time?" and "Thank God(s) they came!"

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