Helfant finds spot at comic company as No. 2
Michael Helfant has ankled his post as chief operating officer of Beacon Pictures to join Marvel Studios as Avi Arad’s No. 2.He comes to Marvel as the comicbook publisher is developing a slate of 10 films it will finance and produce internally with a $525 million debt facility it raised from Merrill Lynch. Pics will be distribbed by Paramount. In his new role as prexy-chief operating officer of Marvel Studios, the company’s movie division, Helfant will oversee all operational activities, including production and business affairs, leaving creative to studio topper Arad. Helfant’s responsibilities include both internal productions and characters the company has licensed to other studios for film and TV. He’s expected to start closing deals shortly with talent to write and direct pics in the company’s internal production slate. He fills the position left vacant in September when David Maisel transitioned to exec VP of corporate development for parent company Marvel Enterprises. “I have built the infrastructure to do this a couple of times and feel confident I have a lot to contribute at a great moment for Marvel,” Helfant said of his new post. He had similar responsibilities at Disney-based co-financier and production shingle Beacon, whose recent films include “Open Range,” “A Lot Like Love” and “Ladder 49.” “I needed the security and safety of someone who has been doing this forever,” Arad explained. “Now our team can go out and confidently do creatively what we do so well.” Before joining Beacon, he oversaw most operational activities as senior exec VP at Dimension and helped usher Interscope Communications into the film biz. His production credits include “Very Bad Things” (exec producer), “The Associate” (co-producer) and “Kazaam” (co-exec producer).