Michael France, the scribe who penned “Cliffhanger,” “GoldenEye” and a slew of Marvel adaptations which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, died April 12 in his St. Pete Beach, Fla., home after an extended illness. He was 51.
France first found fame with his 1991 spec sale for “Cliffhanger,” which was shot within the year and became a worldwide hit for thesp Sylvester Stallone and helmer Renny Harlin. Another whammo hit came in 1995, when France revived the then-dormant James Bond franchise with his script for “GoldenEye.” In the early 2000s a string of Marvel adaptations followed, beginning with U’s “Hulk” (2003) and then Lionsgate’s “The Punisher” (2004) and 20th’s “Fantastic Four” (2005).
Born in 1962 in St. Petersburg, Fla., France graduated from the U. of Florida in the early ’80s and later attended Columbia U.’s School of the Arts. Following his breakthrough as a screenwriter, he moved to St. Pete Beach, where in 2007 he bought the Beach Theater, which played classic, indie and contempo releases before shutting its doors last fall.
France is survived by his mother and father; his sister, Suzanne; his son, Tommy; his twin daughters, Abby and Carly; and his nephew, Matthew.
A memorial service will take place Friday from 6 p.m. — 8 p.m. at the Beach Memorial Chapel at St. Pete Beach. Funeral mass will be Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at St. John Vianney Catholic Church at St. Pete Beach.