As Marvel superhero characters burn up the box office in X-Men: The Last Stand, the company has announced that it has entered into a new business arrangement with producer Avi Arad, who is resigning as chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios and chief creative officer of Marvel. Currently at work on the eagerly awaited Spider-Man 3 for Sony Pictures, Arad will independently produce Marvel films including Iron Man and Hulk under his own production shingle, Avi Arad Prods.
In addition to the Spider-Man films and latest X-Men feature, which just broke the Memorial Day weekend box-office record, Arad is credited with producing such blockbusters as Universal’s Hulk and 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four. He will continue to serve as creative advisor for Marvel through the remainder of 2006, and will remain actively involved in various licensed productions, including Spider-Man sequels.
“I have helped to build Marvel into a very special company, and on the heels of the tremendous success of X-Men: The Last Stand, I felt like it was the right time for me to move away from the day-to-day corporate responsibilities in order to focus on what I love best’creating and producing,’ Arad comments. ‘I am leaving behind a great team to run the studio, and I expect to remain actively involved in the development and production of many Marvel films in the years to come.”
Stepping in to lead television and film development at Marvel are Michael Helfant, president and COO of Marvel Studios, and Kevin Feige, Marvel Studio’s president of production. Feige has worked alongside Arad for the past eight years and Helfant was recruited just last year to manage the expanded scope of studio operations. Marvel director Sid Ganis, an independent producer and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will assist Marvel during the transition.