by Michael Brown, staff writer
New York-based, independent comic book publisher Valiant Entertainment announced late last night that they have reached a nine-figure deal with Chinese media juggernaut DMG Entertainment that will help Valiant produce feature films for their comic book properties, as well as increasing their publishing, licensing, and television opportunities. The two-pronged deal will see DMG provide Valiant with an as-yet-undisclosed eight-figure amount of investment capital to develop its characters across all media channels. In addition, DMG will provide Valiant with another nine-figure amount to help produce a slate of feature films over the next several years. Valiant and DMG have also agreed to produce new projects solely for the Asian market.
And this is not DMG’s first foray into U.S. filmmaking, having already co-financed a number of U.S. action movies including Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3, which featured a number of China-based plot points as a result of the deal.
Valiant originally launched in 1989, the brainchild of former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, and Bob Layton. Valiant achieved initial success with series such as Harbinger, Rai and Shadowman, but was sold in 1994 to videogame developer Acclaim Entertainment, which went bankrupt in 2004. Valiant would later be given new life by Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason Kothari, who bought and relaunched the company as Valiant Entertainment, and resumed publication of its comic line in 2012 with rousing fanfare.
Valiant’s comic book universe includes X-O Manowar, Valiant’s flagship series about a Roman soldier abducted by aliens in the past, who now pilots a high-tech suit of armor in the present, much to the dismay of Earth; Harbinger, about teenagers with special abilities at odds with a corporation out to shape the destiny of the world; and Archer and Armstrong, essentially a buddy comedy about an assassin sent to kill an immortal, who instead become partners to take down a powerful religious cult.
Valiant already has a number of film projects in the works, including Harbinger; a film version of Bloodshot for Sony Pictures, and the supernatural Shadowman, being scripted by J. Michael Stracynski. How the DMG deal would affect these projects is uncertain, but the Beijing-based company’s PR wing has expressed definite interest in creating a shared cinematic universe in the same manner as Marvel. In fact, current Valiant Entertainment chairman and former Marvel CEO Peter Cuneo has gone on the record by saying he wants to see Valiant become “Marvel 2.0.” It may be worth mentioning that Marvel’s present movie success also started with its own nine-figure funding in 2005.
“Global markets, like China, offer the greatest opportunities for monetization from merchandising, licensing, as well as revenues from film and television properties. Comic superheroes are the most lucrative and sought after IP for movie franchises, so taking a stake in the last independent massive comic universe is a strategic investment for DMG that will produce movies and TV that are both appealing and relevant to a global audience,” said DMG CEO Dan Mintz. “We are excited by the opportunity to bring these incredibly engaging characters and their stories to the big screen.”
Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani added: “Today marks one of Valiant’s biggest milestones yet with a huge step towards bringing the Valiant characters to the big screen and forging the foundation of the first truly international cinematic universe. By bringing Valiant’s biggest heroes to theaters around the world in concert with our new partners at DMG, we look forward to making Valiant not only an iconic name in comics, but global entertainment as well.”
Valiant Entertainment will celebrate its 25th anniversary in May.
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