Following a March deal between Beijing-based DMG and indie comic book publisher Valiant Entertainment, the partners are teaming with Fast & Furious franchise producer Neal H Moritz and Sony Pictures for five films based on superhero franchises Bloodshot and Harbinger. Planned are two features for each of the properties along with a shared universe crossover pic, Harbinger Wars, according to DMG.
The company is now the largest shareholder in Valiant and will co-produce and co-finance all Valiant films and handle the marketing and distribution of each in China. DMG is investing over $300M in the Valiant slate which will be complemented by various Hollywood studios, Sony Pictures being the first. While this is Valiant’s maiden foray into features, Sony and DMG have history in the superhero world, recently with The Amazing Spider-Man films and Iron Man 3, respectively.
Bloodshot is due to hit theaters in 2017 with David Leitch and Chad Stahleski (John Wick) directing from a script by Jeff Wadlow (Kick Ass 2) and Eric Heisserer (Story Of Your Life). Moritz and Toby Jaffe of Original Film and Valiant COO Dinesh Shamdasani are producing with Matthew Vaughn and Jason Kothari as executive producers. Sony previously acquired the Bloodshot series from Valiant in 2012.
Harbinger is planned to come next from a script by Heisserer and produced by the Bloodshot team. Each of the films will have a sequel before the title characters meet in Harbinger Wars, inspired by Valiant’s 2013 comic book crossover. Andrea Gianetti will oversee the five-picture initiative for Sony.
Bloodshot‘s protagonist is Angelo Mortalli, a ruthless killer for the mob who is set up by the family and framed for a murder. He instead goes into Witness Protection, but is betrayed by an FBI agent guarding him, kidnapped and forcibly subjected to an experimental program in which his body is injected with microscopic computers called nanites. They erase his brain and rebuild it and his body to be a weapon with superhuman strength and healing powers. The character was created by Kevin Van Hook, Don Perlin, and Bob Layton in 1992.
Harbinger was created by former Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter and artist David Lapham, also in 1992. The story centers on Peter Stanchek, a psionically-charged “harbinger” with the potential to reshape the course of human history. Respected philanthropist and fellow harbinger Toyo Harada recruits him into the Harbinger Foundation where he begins a long road towards a destiny that will shake the very foundations of the Valiant Universe.
The characters met in 2013 crossover comic Harbinger Wars which sees the Harbinger Foundation and private security contractor Project Rising Spirit waging a secret war over the unwieldy superhuman telekinetics known as harbingers. But reformed harbinger hunter Bloodshot now needs to atone for his crimes — beginning with releasing two dozen of the most volatile harbingers from their prison and into the world. Joshua Dysart and Duane Swierczynski wrote the comic with art by Clayton Henry, Clayton Crain, and Pere Perez.