Netf lix buys comics cre­ator

The pur­chase is aimed at bol­ster­ing Netf lix’s pro­gram­ming with adap­ta­tions based on Mil­lar­world ti­tles.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - as­so­ci­ated press david.ng@la­times.com Twit­ter: @DavidNgLAT

In a bid to ex­pand its superhero cre­den­tials, Net­flix has made its first ac­qui­si­tion, comic book com­pany Mil­lar­world, with the in­ten­tion of adapt­ing char­ac­ters from the pub­lisher’s ti­tles into movies, se­ries and kids’ shows that will be avail­able only to Net­flix sub­scribers.

Net­flix, based in Los Gatos, Calif., didn’t dis­close Monday how much it paid for Mil­lar­world, which was launched in 2004 by the Scot­tish comic book au­thor Mark Millar.

Some of the pub­lisher’s graphic nov­els, in­clud­ing “Kick-Ass,” “Wanted” and “Kings­man,” have al­ready been turned into movies by other ma­jor stu­dios.

Net­flix said that as part of the deal, Mil­lar­world will con­tinue to cre­ate and pub­lish new sto­ries and char­ac­ter fran­chises un­der the Net­flix la­bel.

Net­flix has al­ready made sig­nif­i­cant ven­tures into the world of comic book adap­ta­tions, part­ner­ing with Dis­ney’s Marvel on se­ries in­clud­ing “Luke Cage,” “Jessica Jones” and “Iron Fist.”

The new deal sig­nals Net­flix’s com­mit­ment to build up a pro­pri­etary ar­se­nal of comic book char­ac­ters. The dig­i­tal stream­ing com­pany has been try­ing to boost the num­ber of self-pro­duced orig­i­nal shows it pro­duces and to de­crease its re­liance on con­tent that it li­censes from other stu­dios.

“We can’t wait to har­ness the cre­ative power of Mil­lar­world to Net­flix and start a new era in global sto­ry­telling,” Ted Saran­dos, chief con­tent of­fi­cer at Net­flix, said in a state­ment.

He said Netf lix will cre­ate orig­i­nal pro­gram­ming based on sev­eral ex­ist­ing Mil­lar­world fran­chises as well as new sto­ries that Millar and his team will con­tinue to cre­ate and pub­lish.

In the last 10 years, Hol­ly­wood stu­dios have in­creas­ingly grav­i­tated to­ward comic book adap­ta­tions as a way of cap­tur­ing global mar­ket share. Walt Dis­ney Co. ac­quired Marvel En­ter­tain­ment for an es­ti­mated $4 bil­lion in 2009 and has since dom­i­nated the superhero movie mar­ket.

Warner Bros. con­tin­ues to pump out superhero movies in part­ner­ship with its cor­po­rate sib­ling, DC Comics. This year, 20th Cen­tury Fox ac­quired a mi­nor­ity stake in Boom Stu­dios, the Los An­ge­les pub­lisher of comic books and graphic nov­els. The deal was val­ued at about $10 mil­lion.

Mil­lar­world has cre­ated a se­ries of in­ter­con­nected comic heroes whose sto­ries tie to­gether. Other ti­tles in its li­brary in­clude “Jupiter’s Le­gacy,” “Em­press” and “Reborn.”

Millar, who runs the pub­lisher with his wife, Lucy, is a vet­eran of the Marvel uni­verse, where he wrote the pop­u­lar ti­tles “Old Man Lo­gan” and “Civil War.”

“I’m so in love with what Net­flix is doing and ex­cited by their plans. Net­flix is the fu­ture and Mil­lar­world couldn’t have a bet­ter home,” Millar said in a state­ment Monday.

Net­flix said in July that it had more than 100 mil­lion sub­scribers world­wide. For the first time, the com­pany counts more sub­scribers over­seas than in the U.S.

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