Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s score card for translating comic book titles into successful feature film properties (begun with 1997′s Men in Black) tallies another hit. His Platinum Studios signed a development deal and first-look agreement with Miramax genre label Dimension Films to develop movies from comic books and other published material. The Dimension/ Platinum film projects will fall into two categories: movies targeting non-North American markets, such as Italy and Spain, with pictures in the US$2-million range, and big-budget movies, which will comprise 40% of the Dimension/ Platinum slate. The big-budget films target broad international teen and family markets, whereas the smaller films, spun off of locally popular comic books, will be developed and jointly produced on location in each property’s country of origin.
‘Our mandate is to find comic books that would make good films,’ says chairman/producer Rosenberg, noting that the majority of projects developed will stem from properties outside Platinum’s 1,000-title comic book library. The deal also contains a first-look aspect which provides Dimension Films with access to Beverly Hills-based Platinum Studios’ vast library of leading international comics-more than 1,000 titles in 50 countries-for development into live-action flicks.
The first film to sprout from the union will be Dead of Night, based on an Italian comic book published by Rosenberg’s comic book shingle Malibu Comics. (Malibu was also publisher of the original Men in Black comic book.) Budgeted at US$40 million and slated for a summer 2001 release, the live-action movie centers around a normal private investigator who stumbles upon a world of supernatural creatures, such as vampires, werewolves and zombies, living alongside regular people.
Other titles on Platinum’s feature roster are New Line Cinema’s Million Dollar Heroes and DreamWorks/Universal co-production Cowboys & Aliens. The former is live-action, created for kids by Rosenberg, and developed by Platinum director of creative affairs Paul Benjamin. Million Dollar Heroes is a superhero movie, starring characters who don’t possess any real super powers. Instead, they are comic book artists who adopt the personas of their superhero creations and wager US$1 million to see who’s the best hero on a crime-fighting crusade. New Line and Platinum will jointly develop merchandising, Internet and interactive programs for the event property. Cowboys & Aliens, a story centering around aliens who land in 1880s Arizona and cause mayhem in a western town, is slated for a 2001 release. Both movies will be made for an unspecified ‘big budget.’
Television projects in the works at Platinum include Night Man, a live-action co-production with Tribune Entertainment, and UltraForce, a toon series co-produced with Bohbot USA.