Ratner eyes Valiant’s ‘Harbinger’

Paramount adapting comicbook series into film

Paramount Pictures has acquired rights to turn the Valiant Comics series “Harbinger” into a live-action feature that will be developed as a potential directing vehicle for Brett Ratner.

Alexandra Milchan will produce with Ratner and Jay Stern. The project may be branded under the MTV Films banner.

Created by Jim Shooter, the “Harbinger” comicbook series became a hit when published in the 1990s. Harbingers are humans with powers that can be unlocked by “omega” harbingers. Teenager Pete Stanchek finds himself on a collision course with an older “omega” who used his gifts to become an evil industrialist.

“The movie is in the vein of a young ‘Blade Runner,’ as this 17-year- old gifted kid helps other kids tap into these parts of their brains,” Milchan said.

Ratner, who directed “X-Men: The Last Stand,” was looking for an opportunity to start a superhero franchise from scratch. Project will be scripted while Ratner continues work on other directing projects, including “Playboy,” the Brian Grazer-produced film about Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner for Universal.

Valiant Comics is being relaunched by Valiant Entertainment Group, a privately financed company headed by CEO Jason Kothari and chief creative officer Dinesh Shamdasani, both of whom will be co-producers on the film.

Valiant Comics developed a strong following by launching hero franchises that had interconnected storylines (much like DC and Marvel titles). Company, which sold 80 million comicbooks and 8 million videogames, was sold to vidgame company Acclaim Entertainment in 1994 for $65 million but had done little recently as that company hit the financial rocks.

Kothari’s group bought the Valiant library last year after Acclaim filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Its plan is to republish its best titles and begin generating new issues by year’s end. Valiant signed with WMA to make movie deals for the franchises.

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