Marvel’s Deals with the Devil

Blame, blame is such an easy game. Why, with such an incredible universe to draw from, is Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. such a bore? There is quite a lot of blame to go around but it lies rooted in Marvel’s financial woes in the 90s. There is a great article on Marvel’s trip from bankruptcy to billions here so I won’t go into too much depth.

The Incredible Hulk

Marvel had a big television hit with The Incredible Hulk. It was a wonderful formula: take a well liked actor (Bill Bixby), add a champion body builder (Lou Ferrigno), and simply retell The Fugitive, a popular television series from fifteen years earlier. It worked great. They then attempted to repeat this success with Captain America (painfully bad), Dr. Strange, and others. They didn’t pan out so Marvel tried to launch a few more from within The Incredible Hulk. The Incredible Hulk Returns featured Thor and The Trial of the Incredible Hulk featured Daredevil.

As part of the recovery from bankruptcy in the 90s, numerous licensing deals were made.  It is great that Marvel was able to climb back out of the hole but many of the terms on the deals were ridiculous.


Twentieth Century Fox made a fantastic version of X-Men (2000) and the even better X-Men 2 (2003). Unfortunately, the deal allowed X-Men movies to be owned by Fox in perpetuity as long as the movies kept being made. That would be bad enough but the deal included all of the standard X-Men, their standard villains, and even extended to the term mutant.

Attempts had been made during the 90s to bring Spider-Man, Marvel’s most iconic character, to the big screen and while that failed, the rights were tied up for quite some time. Once the rights were untangled, Columbia (Sony) locked them up again, including a rogue’s gallery of Marvel’s best villains. Once again, a really good blockbuster was made, Spider-Man (2002) followed by an even better sequel, Spider-Man 2 (2004).


Apparently, it took a long time for Marvel to catch on that they were selling the cow instead of the milk. Essentially the same deal was made, again with Twentieth Century Fox, for Daredevil. Daredevil, Elektra, The Kingpin, and even Ben Urich were tied up. Ditto Lionsgate with The Punisher (2004) and The Punisher: War Zone (2008).

Finally, the Fantastic Four rights were locked up, again by Twentieth Century Fox. This wouldn’t be so bad as they were usually self-contained but it also included Doctor Doom and the Silver Surfer. Not just that but Fantastic Four (2005), Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), and the reboot Fantastic Four (2015) have all been pretty dire.

Not only did Marvel practically give away their entire roster of characters but many others such as Iron Man were locked up in deals where the movie simply never came to fruition.


Epic Cinema Tables at Epic Theatres of course!

On my last movie day, I spent the whole day at my local Epic Theatre. I got a nice jumbo hard plastic Ant-Man cup to add to my already overburgeoning collection and my waistline thanks them for having unsweet tea. I don’t care for water and hate diet cola.

Pirates Table


Normally they, like most theaters, have too much lobby space. Normally I like to peruse the neat displays for upcoming movies (my favorite was Regal’s whack-a-mole featuring the Minions for Despicable Me 2), but this time I was really impressed with the new tables they got.

Hunger Games Table


The tables and chairs seemed very sturdy and the table easy to clean off. The table was a little lower than I would like but now I think I need one in my movie room.

Toy Story 3


They had four styles but I imagine these would be quickly customizable to any movie poster. Now should I get Alien or The Thing or something from classic Hollywood?


New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 3/4/14

Yay! Another new month, another slew of catalog titles on Netflix

Action/Adventure: Blood and Bone, Bobby Z, Desperado, Flyboys, Game of Death, Heaven’s Burning, The Hit List, Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore, Last Action Hero, Men in Black II, Over the Top, S.W.A.T. Firefight, Silverado, Spider-Man, Vertical Limit

Dr. Strangelove

Classic: Das Boot: The Director’s Cut, Dr. Strangelove, Easy Rider, The Long Goodbye, The Long Hot Summer, Midnight Express, Roman Holiday, Serpico, The Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, Thieves Like Us, True Grit (1969)

Comedy: All Wifed Out, As Good as It Gets, The Bad News Bears, Can’t Hardly Wait, The Chaperone, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, It Could Happen to You, Just One of the Guys, Kicking and Screaming, Look Who’s Talking, Look Who’s Talking Too, Mistress, My Boss’s Daughter, Not Another Teen Movie, O.C. and Stiggs, On the Line, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Seems Like Old Times, Shriek if You Know What I Did Friday the 13th, Something’s Gotta Give, The Station Agent, The Sweetest Thing, Two Can Play That Game, While You Were Sleeping, The Wood

Documentary: Inequality for All, 1:1 Thierry Henry, Dogtown and Z-Boys, Into the Mind, Linsanity, Pandora’s Promise

Drama: 28 Days, About Last Night (1985), All the Pretty Horses, Big Sur, Brokedown Palace, Bugsy, Capote, Center Stage, Deal, The Delinquents, Dirty Dancing, Donnie Brasco, Fireproof, The Fisher King, Girl Interrupted, Harsh Times, The Ice Storm, Legendary, Les Miserables (1998), Rachel Getting Married, Return to the Blue Lagoon, Riding in Cars with Boys, The Shunning, A Slipping Down Life, Steel Magnolias, Streamers, The United States of Leland, Valkyrie, Vincent & Theo, You Got Served: Beat the World

Family: Adventures in Zambezia, Arthur and the Invisibles, The Baby Sitters Club, Beethoven’s 2nd, The Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation, King Pingu, Open Season 2, Open Season 3, Pingu Slipping and Sliding, Star Kid, Stuart Little, The Swan Princess, The Swan Princess Christmas, The Swan Princess 2: Secret of the Castle

Fantasy & Science Fiction: The Final Cut, Ghostbusters 2, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, Starship Troopers Invasion

Foreign: Blood: The Last Vampire, El Mariachi, Schlussmacher, With a Friend Like Harry


Horror: Below, The Blair Witch Project, The Caller, Fright Night (1985), House of the Dead II: All Guts No Glory, Night of the Living Dead (1968), Night of the Living Dead (1990), A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Quarantine 2: Terminal, Summer’s Moon, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Zombies of Mass Destruction

Special: Fireplace for Your Home:Cascade Mountain Spring

Television: Pokemon Black & White, Pokemon Black, Pokemon White, Pokemon Indigo League, Rake (2010-12) and a new season of Sabrina the Animated Series

Devil in a Blue Dress

Thriller: Devil in a Blue Dress, Dirty Pretty Things, Edison Force, The Experiment, The Glass House, The Hard Word, The Mothman Prophecies, Panic Room, Vanilla Sky, Wild Things