Miramax Films made a preemptive deal with Archie Comics Entertainment to team on “Betty & Veronica,” a live-action film based on the blond and brunette sirens from the 60-year-old comic series.
The pic will be the first live actioner done on the venerable strip on the Riverdale high school kids.
It is also the first step for Archie Comics Entertainment to try to emulate the recent screen success of Marvel Entertainment, which has hatched numerous franchise films from its comic book characters.
“We had offers from four studios, but right before we headed to L.A. we went with Miramax because they showed the focus, the understanding and the marketing potential for the first ever live action film from the Archies gang,” said Archie Comics Entertainment prexy Allan I. Grafman.
Grafman recently banded with CEO Chuck Grimes and Michael Silberkleit and Richard Goldwater to hatch a company designed to make movies and merchandising opportunities from a comics catalog that includes “Sabrina The Teenage Witch,” “Josie and the Pussycats,” “Kate Keene, Teen Model” and “Mighty Crusaders.”
Grafman said they are exploring feature or TV deals for each of those properties, but wanted the Archie film to kick things off.
“This was a huge first step for our company, it is the flagship brand,” he said. “Miramax has made a substantial financial commitment to the movie, and will be our partner in merchandising from the start. We believe this has unlimited potential for the youth market, and it has been kept off the market until now.” Grimes will produce the pic, Grafman will be exec producer and Silberkleit and Goldwater will be associate producers.
For Miramax, the deal marks another effort to engage film friendly fare. The studio has stepped up its commitment in that direction, with “The Green Hornet” and “Artemis Fowl.” Studio’s Michelle Raimo and Meryl Poster will oversee production.