By Russ Burlingame, Comic Book.com
Valiant Entertainment has announced more details on their massive investment and development deal with Chinese entertainment company DMG, the co-producers and co-financiers of Iron Man 3.
In conjunction with this new partnership, DMG has made an eight-figure (USD) series C round of equity investment into Valiant, which the company will use to further its efforts in international publishing, film, television, licensing and beyond.
“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,” said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. “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.”
DMG has dedicated an additional nine-figures (USD) of film financing capital toward the production of theatrical films and television programs based on Valiant’s library of iconic superhero characters, including the currently-in-development Shadowman, Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong. No specific numbers have been disclosed, although the agreement is likely the largest film financing deal for a comic book publisher since the formation of Marvel Studios in 2005.
In total, the new agreement is the first deal of its kind brokered between an internationally based entertainment company and a leading independent publisher of comic books and graphic novels. Utilizing DMG’s expertise in international film development, production, and distribution, Valiant says it will begin to establish its cinematic universe in the United States, China and beyond.
That seemingly confirms that the Valiant movies and TV will be interconnected — a boon for investors, as that’s become a model to emulate following the success of Marvel, whose success comes in no small part as a result of its own infusion of cash in a similar situation ten years ago.
DMG’s involvement also greatly increases the odds of securing Chinese theatrical distribution for their upcoming film projects. Recent projects with DMG backing that became big hits in China include Iron Man 3, Transformers: Age of Extinction and the most recent installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.
“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’s iconic stable of intellectual property and world class management team coupled with DMG’s unmatched skill with entertainment brand building in China make a formidable partnership,” said Valiant Chairman Peter Cuneo. “We will look forward to introducing some of the most popular superheroes of all time to the world’s fastest growing market across all media forms.” “Audiences in China and the rest of the world are hungry for heroic stories that they can more easily relate to…and with the international box office accounting for the biggest piece of the total gross, the time is right for a truly international superhero franchise. DMG will bring its unique global perspective to the task of transforming the Valiant Universe into the first international comic-movie universe,” said DMG President Wu Bing.
Bloodshot is in development with Sony Pictures and Neal Moritz’s Original Film, producers of the Fast and the Furious and Jump Street franchises. Shadowman, with a script by J. Michael Straczynski, and Archer & Armstrong, being written by Bendavid Grabinski, will be co-financed in partnership with the Sean Daniel Company, producers of the Mummy franchise. Several other projects are in various stages of development and will announced in the coming months. The deal means that DMG will co-finance all of the projects and assist with international distribution and exhibition.
Beyond film alone, DMG and Valiant will work in concert to form China-focused licensing partnerships for Valiant’s stable of characters in areas such as Chinese language publishing, animation, online gaming, toys, apparel, live events, theme parks, and more, with a focus on bringing Valiant’s iconic heroes to new audiences in China and Asia-Pacific. Under the new partnership, Valiant will remain fully independent, with DMG serving as minority investors, the publisher explained.