Studios seek deal to buy time for Fox reboot with Carnahan

The clock is ticking for 20th Century Fox to put its “Daredevil” reboot into production before character rights revert to Marvel — but Fox and Marvel brass are working out an arrangement that could allow the comicbook franchise to remain at Fox past its Oct. 10 deadline.

Fox is in discussions with Joe Carnahan to direct what’s been described as a “Frank Miller-esque, hardcore 70s thriller” take on blind Hell’s Kitchen superhero Matt Murdock — a vision that would deviate from Disney/Marvel’s family-friendly tone. Carnahan has yet to receive an official offer, though multiple sources tell Variety that he’s the choice.

Fox needs to start lensing by Oct. 10 or Marvel gets the Daredevil character back. Fox is said to be high on Carnahan’s take, but making that deadline would be nearly impossible; one solution the companies are discussing is a co-financing arrangement.

But Fox also has something Marvel wants: According to sources close to the project, marvel wants the use of characters from the “Fantastic Four” universe in future Marvel pics, including the giant, world-devouring supervillain Galactus, rumored to play a key role in future Marvel pics, and his messenger the Silver Surfer, who makes a deal in the comicbooks to serve as Galactus’ messenger to save his home planet. Fox owns rights to both as part of its deal for “Fantastic Four,” which the studio is also rebooting with “Chronicle” helmer Josh Trank. Insiders say Fox wouldn’t be willing to part with those characters.

Talks are expected to resume later this week. Reps from Fox, Marvel and Carnahan would not comment on the dealings.

“Daredevil,” which Chernin Entertainment is producing, would mark a return to the Fox lot for Carnahan after “The A-Team.”

After the success Open Road Films had with Carnahan’s “The Grey,” Fox began developing Carnahan’s actioner “Continue,” which was believed to be his next project. CAA-repped helmer is also developing a fresh take on “Death Wish” for MGM.

(Marc Graser contributed to this report.)

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