With its extension request rejected, 20th Century Fox will have no choice but to allow the rights to “Daredevil” to go back to Marvel, marking the second major character to revert back to the superhero shingle since Disney bought it in 2009.
Under the current terms of the agreement, Fox has to put the pic into production by Oct. 10. But late Monday night, Joe Carnahan, Fox’s pick to direct the film, indicated that the actioner wasn’t happening at the studio.
“Think my idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke today kids,” Carnahan tweeted, followed by “We shall see. Time is NOT on anyone’s side.”
Marvel will regain control of the character sometime after the October deadline passes, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
The Punisher, which had been at Lionsgate, marked the first character to revert to Marvel since its 2009 sale to Disney. The Mouse House cannot exploit characters including Spider-Man, Venom, Ghost Rider, the X-Men, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer, Elektra and Deadpool because the those characters were already licensed to other studios. Rights-holders that can prove films are in active development retain those rights in perpetuity.
Marvel began fully financing its own slate of projects in 2005, beginning with “The Incredible Hulk” and “Iron Man.” Before that, Marvel licensed its characters out to other studios, with vampire hunter Blade the first to get the bigscreen treatment by New Line in 1998.
Marvel licensed Spider-Man to Sony in 1999, while Thor had once been set up at Sony before Paramount picked up the rights in 2006.