×

Steven Paul Buys Atlas Comics Library, Sets Paramount Production Deal

Steven Paul’s SP Media Group is acquiring a majority stake in the Atlas Comics library and has signed a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures to develop, finance, produce and distribute superhero and other films based on the comic books. SP Media has also signed up screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and his Weed Road Pictures to oversee a writers’ room to develop stories and characters.

The Atlas library is being acquired debt-free from current owner Nemesis Group and its principal Jason Goodman. He is the grandson of Martin Goodman, founder of Marvel Comics, which was later run by cousin Stan Lee.

Atlas’ history is tied up with Timely Comics and Marvel. In the 1950s, it ceased publishing superhero stories and expanded into other genres, including horror, crime and humor. Leading characters and stories today include Wulf, Iron Jaw, Son of Dracula, Brute, Texas Kid and Dopey Duck. It later restarted with superheroes.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. The deal took several years to negotiate.

Paul said that the writers room will prepare 10 story outlines from which the first projects will be selected for development and production. “We don’t yet know what our flagship character will be. We aim to generate material that will attract top talent,” said Scott Karol, SP Media Group’s president.

The plan is to put the first film into production in 2020, for delivery in 2021. Thereafter at least one film per year is intended to flow from the deal.

Budgets will start at $60 million and could reach “superhero level.” SP and Paramount will both contribute financing. Paramount is expected to own rights in North America and SP hold international, though the film rights will be jointly exploited worldwide, Paul told Variety.

“Intellectual property of this kind is hard to come by in this day and age,” said Andrew Gumpert, COO at Paramount Pictures. “We are excited to be working with Steven Paul and SP Media Group to bring the iconic Atlas comic book library to the big screen.”

The companies intend to produce and release at least one superhero project each year thereafter. The films will be produced by Paul, Goldsman and Atlas’ president of production, Spike Seldin (“The A-Team”).  Development for Atlas will be supervised by Seldin. Greg Lessans will supervise for Weed Road.

Goodman will maintain a financial interest in the new Atlas company. He will be head of publishing, and involved in all future film and television productions, serving as executive producer on all films. Karol will also executive produce.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • This photo shows actor David Oyelowo

    David Oyelowo Joins George Clooney in 'Good Morning, Midnight' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    David Oyelowo is in final negotiations to join George Clooney in Netflix’s untitled adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton’s 2016 novel “Good Morning, Midnight,” sources tell Variety. Felicity Jones and Kyle Chandler are also on board, with Clooney set to helm the pic — his first feature film directing gig since 2017’s “Suburbicon.” “The Revenant” screenwriter Mark [...]

  • Disney Delays 'Cruella,' 'Woman in the

    Disney Delays 'Cruella,' 'Woman in the Window'

    Disney is shaking up its release calendar, delaying its live action “Cruella” until Memorial Day 2021 and pushing Fox 2000 drama “The Woman in the Window” to 2020. “Cruella,” starring Emma Stone, is based on the classic “101 Dalmatians” villain Cruella de Vil. The revisit to Disney’s animated classic was originally set to hit theaters [...]

  • Spider-Man Could Leave the Marvel Cinematic

    Spider-Man Could Leave MCU if Disney, Sony Can't Reach Financing Deal

    Disney’s Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have hit an impasse on new financing terms for upcoming Spider-Man movies, sources have told Variety. If a deal cannot be reached, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will not produce future Spider-Man films, effectively removing Tom Holland’s Spider-Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Reps for Disney, Marvel and Sony [...]

  • Australia Makes Progress on Gender Equality

    Australia Makes Progress on Gender Equality in Film and TV

    Screen Australia, Australia’s federal film and TV funding body, has made sufficient progress in furthering gender equality that it has set more ambitious targets. The organization has exceeded its long-term Gender Matters key performance indicator, with 56% of projects receiving production funding having at least half of the key creative roles occupied by women, based [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski, during the ceremony award

    Pawel Pawlikowski on the Power of Making Movies With ‘Barbarians at the Gate’

    Academy Award winner Pawel Pawlikowski says he’s watching “with horror” as political developments increasingly divide countries across the globe, and admits that he’s reluctant to take a stab at documenting modern life after the success of his two critically acclaimed period dramas, foreign-language Oscar winner “Ida” and thrice-nominated “Cold War.” “I don’t have a hook [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content