Marvel Hits Moviegoers with The Punisher

Will it be doling out the punishment or taking it? That’s the question as Lions Gate’s big-screen adaptation of Marvel Comic’s The Punisher shoots into theaters today. The actioner is up against some heavy competition as Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol 2 should also appeal to the majority of comic book fans.

The Punisher tells the story of F.B.I undercover agent and former Special Forces operative Frank Castle, who turns vigilante when his wife and son are executed as payback for his final undercover assignment. Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea, Dreamcatcher) dons the black skull T-shirt as the superpower-less comic book hero. John Travolta (Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty) and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (X-Men, X2: X-Men United) also star.

This is the second feature film based on the Marvel property. Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, Universal Soldier) played the title role in New World Pictures’ 1989 big screen adaptation, which Artisan picked up for DVD distribution.

Opening in around 300 fewer theaters than Kill Bill: Vol 2, The Punisher is expected to finish the weekend in second place. Both films have been tracking well with young male audiences. The makers of The Punisher are so confident in the pic that they have already begun developing a sequel. Lions Gate Ent. has also been granted licenses to develop, produce and distribute theatrical film releases based on the Marvel properties Iron Fist and Black Widow.

THQ Inc. plans to bring The Punisher to PlayStation 2 and Xbox players. Developed by THQ’s internal studio, Volition Inc., the game is scheduled to debut in fall of 2004.