Team to adapt characters into films

With more than 5,000 crime fighters and villains in its library, Marvel Entertainment is looking for some help in adapting those characters into films.

Comicbook giant is readying to assemble a group of scribes who will pen scripts for various properties Marvel wants to develop.

The writers group will be similar to that created by the fellowship program the Walt Disney Co. has been running since 1990. Latter enlists a dozen scribes to work with creative execs to develop films for the studio and TV shows for ABC, the Disney Channel and ABC Family.

Marvel will invite up to five writers each year to work on specific projects, said a source familiar with the deal. Those could include staffers behind Marvel’s comicbooks. Tenpercenteries around town are currently pitching potential candidates with writing samples.

The company will provide the specific pitches it wants the scribes to tackle. Those could involve certain plot points for movies already in development or characters it would like to see in its future film slate.

Gathering of scribes will help Marvel come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties, such as Black Panther, Cable, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Nighthawk and Vision.

So far, it has focused its efforts on more popular superheroes like Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America.

It was especially encouraged when Iron Man, who wasn’t as well known as Spider-Man, Superman or Batman, was able to cross over and launch a new franchise with a $582 million haul at the worldwide B.O.

Writers will receive a salary for the year. Disney fellows receive around $50,000. Marvel’s payment could double that.

A group of Marvel execs will choose the scribes, with the final decision made by Kevin Feige, Marvel Studio’s prexy of production.

High-profile writers such as Justin Theroux, Mark Protosevich, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely and Zak Penn, who are currently adapting “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “The First Avenger: Captain America” and “The Avengers,” respectively, will not be part of the group.

Terms call for Marvel to own whatever the writers work on during the year. Company has the option to continue a relationship with the scribes after that period.

Group, whose first members are currently being recruited, is expected to begin tackling projects this year.

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