The web site Comics2Film.com was the first to post this interesting development in the evolution of “The Spirit” film, to be written and directed by Frank Miller:
SANTA MONICA, CA (May 16, 2007) – Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, announced today that it has secured domestic and U.K. distribution rights to the live action comic book adaptation ‘The Spirit’, directed and written by ‘Sin City’ and ‘300’ creator Frank Miller and based on the classic series by comic master Will Eisner. Lionsgate will partner on the project with Odd Lot Entertainment, which is producing and co-financing, and Batfilm Productions, which is producing. Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete (‘The Wedding Planner’, the upcoming ‘Suburban Girl’) are producing for Odd Lot; Lionsgate’s Mike Paseornek, President of Film Production, is producing for Lionsgate; and Michael Uslan (‘Batman Begins’, ‘Constantine’) is producing for Batfilm. Batfilm co-founder Benjamin Melniker and Steve Maier are executive producers, and Odd Lot’s Linda McDonough and Batfilm’s F.J. DeSanto are co-producers. The announcement was jointly made today by Lionsgate President of Theatrical Films Tom Ortenberg, President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions Peter Block, and Paseornek.
Will Eisner’s THE SPIRIT
The deal is a unique multi-picture co-financing, co-production and split rights arrangement, with ‘The Spirit’ being the first film in the pipeline.
Commented Ortenberg, Block and Paseornek, “Lionsgate is proud and excited to join the team bringing Will Eisner’s immortal ‘The Spirit’ to the big screen. With the SIN CITY series, Frank Miller has proven to be as brilliant and original a filmmaker as he is a graphic novelist. His vision is perfectly matched to that of Eisner, and we believe ‘The Spirit’ will be a thrilling experience for comic book lovers and mass audiences alike.”
“Lionsgate comes to this relationship with a unique and strong ability to support ‘The Spirit’. We are delighted to be in business with the studio and are confident in their well-developed marketing and promotions strategies as well as their depth in launching global franchises,” said Del Prete.
Continued Pritzker, “We look forward to a successful creative and business partnership with Lionsgate, and know they will help shepherd Frank Miller’s vision for ‘The Spirit’.”
Said Miller, “Will Eisner’s ‘The Spirit’ is a product of passion and dedication for me. Will was a dear friend, a mentor, and translating his vision to the screen will be a labor of love. I look forward to working with the people at Lionsgate, and to add to their lauded reputation for genre films.”
The deal was brokered and structured by Bill Lischak, newly appointed COO of Odd Lot Entertainment.
Adapated from the legendary Will Eisner’s graphic novels, ‘The Spirit’ tells the visceral, action-packed story of a man who fakes his own death and fights crime from the shadows of Central City. The Octopus – who kills anyone unfortunate enough to see his face – has a different mission: he’s going to wipe out the entire city. The Spirit tracks this cold-hearted killer from Central City’s rundown warehouses, to the damp catacombs, to the windswept waterfront … all the while facing a bevy of beautiful women who either want to seduce, love or kill our masked crusader. In the vein of ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘Sin City’, ‘The Spirit’ takes us on a sinister, gut-wrenching ride of a hero who is born, murdered and born again.
ABOUT ODD LOT ENTERTAINMENT
ODD LOT ENTERTAINMENT was founded in 2001 by Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete. It recently produced and financed SUBURBAN GIRL, the adaptation of the best-selling Melissa Bank novel, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting & Fishing, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alec Baldwin and Maggie Grace; Independent Spirit Award-winner MEAN CREEK, written and directed by Jacob Estes; and the commercial hit THE WEDDING PLANNER, starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey. Currently in active development or production are THE LAVENDER HILL MOB, an action comedy remake of the classic Alec Guinness comedy, to be directed by Dean Parisot (FUN WITH DICK AND JANE); RETURN TO SENDER, a sophisticated romantic comedy; and SENSE AND SENSIBILIDAD, a present-day, Latino version of Jane Austen’s classic novel, to be directed by Fina Torres (WOMAN ON TOP) from a script she wrote with Luis Alfaro.
ABOUT BATFILM PRODUCTIONS
Formed by industry legend Benjamin Melniker and comic book authority Michael Uslan, Batfilm Productions, Inc. on October 3, 1979 acquired all feature motion picture and allied rights on “Batman” from DC Comics. Batfilm Productions, Inc. has been the successful builder of franchises and brands based on comic books and on other media. In addition to every Batman film from 1989’s BATMAN to 2005’s BATMAN BEGINS and 2008’s THE DARK KNIGHT, as executive producers, Uslan and Melniker earned Emmy Awards when they brought to television with DIC the franchise, “Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?” Involved in major motion pictures including CONSTANTINE and NATIONAL TREASURE, Batfilm has also worked in other areas of the business with the acclaimed mini-series, “Three Sovereigns For Sarah” with Vanessa Redgrave; the MOW bringing best-selling author Robin Cooke to TV based on his novel “Harmless Intent”; animation ranging from the “Batman” original animated DVD’s to 65 half-hours of the children’s series “Dinosaucers,” the live action 72 episode TV series based on the DC comic book “Swamp Thing”; and even the historical and cultural segments for NBC’s Summer Olympics coverage in Korea.
Lionsgate is the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, winning the 2006 Best Picture Academy Award® for CRASH, generating two consecutive years of $300 million-plus domestic theatrical box office, operating a $500 million-plus home entertainment business and producing a broad slate of prime time television series for fiscal 2007. It is a premier producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment, and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library of more than 10,000 titles is a valuable source of stable, recurring revenue and a foundation for the growth of the Company’s core businesses. The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.