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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Marvel to produce its own movies
Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man and its 2004 sequel were huge hits for Marvel
Comic-book giant Marvel has arranged a $525m (284m) loan package to develop feature films based on its extensive canon of popular superheroes.

Marvel Enterprises - the home of the Hulk, Spider-Man and the X-Men - will now be known as Marvel Entertainment.

Marvel chairman Avi Arad announced on Tuesday that 10 of the company's 5,000 characters are to get movie vehicles.

They include Captain America, Nick Fury and the Avengers, with the first set for release in 2008 at the latest.

"The characters involved are some of the most valuable in the Marvel Universe," said Avi Arad, chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios.

"We are excited to launch them as consumer brands via feature film releases under our direction."


Arad, whose producing credits include Hulk, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man 2, said he did not know which character would be the first to reach the screen.

"The scripts will dictate which is first," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "No character before its time."

However, he did admit he "cannot wait" to give Captain America the big-screen treatment, calling it "a doozy of a story".

Ben Affleck in Daredevil
But Daredevil and its 2005 spin-off Elektra proved less successful
The films - budgeted between $50m (27m) and $165m (89m) - will be distributed and marketed by Paramount Pictures.

Other characters to be developed include Black Panther, Ant-Man, Dr Strange, Hawkeye, Power Pack and Shang-Chi.

Marvel has profited from licensing its characters to movie studios such as Sony and 20th Century Fox.

But Arad insists the profits accrued will be dwarfed by those generated under the new arrangement.

"It was nothing like being at the top of the food chain, like we are now," he said.

Current Marvel-related films in development include The Punisher 2, X-Men 3 and Ghost Rider starring Nicolas Cage.

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