Advisory board to promote characters overseas

Marvel wants to boost the profile of its superheroes overseas.

The comicbook giant has formed an international advisory board to seek opportunities to promote its key characters in foreign territories, especially India and China.

Board includes Bollywood film producer Manmohan Shetty and China-based digital entrepreneur Peter Yip.

Shetty produces films and TV shows through his Walkwater Media shingle. He also is prexy of the Film and TV Guild of India and the former chairman of Adlabs Films. Yip is executive vice chairman and CEO of Internet company CDC.

Marvel is in the process of filling two additional advisory board posts and wants to eventually have members repping Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as Latin America.

James Halpin, a Marvel director since 1995 and former prexy-CEO of CompUSA, serves as chairman of the board, while Simon Philips, prexy of worldwide consumer products, is the primary company liaison to the advisory board.

Marvel has been eager to grow its business overseas, especially as its film division produces more movies and introduces such characters as Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America to a broader audience.

The international market reps 35% of Marvel’s annual revenues and could eventually grow to 50% over the next three to four years, analysts said, depending on the success of the company’s upcoming pics.

It’s already producing anime versions of current and new characters in Japan as part of a partnership with Madhouse.

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