Genius Brands International and Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment are forming a joint venture to create Stan Lee Universe, drawing from more than 100 original Stan Lee creations from which it will develop and license approximately seven properties per year.
Stan Lee Universe will assume worldwide rights to the name, physical likeness, physical signature, live-action and animated motion picture, television, online, digital, publishing, comic book, merchandising and licensing rights to Stan Lee and his IP creations post-Marvel Entertainment and not committed elsewhere.
Genius Brands will be the managing and controlling partner of the joint venture.
“In all of Hollywood, there is no greater prize,” Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands, said in a statement. “This is the Holy Grail. Stan Lee Universe is a once in a lifetime asset drawn from over 100 original, heretofore unexploited properties, created by the most successful creator of intellectual property of our time.”
The late Stan Lee created comic book characters including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Thor, Captain America, Silver Surfer, Ant-Man, Nick Fury and Guardians of the Galaxy. Lee was the editor and creative force behind Marvel Comics, which was sold to the Walt Disney Company for $4.4 billion and resulted in a string of hit films, including The Avengers.
“Having worked with Stan and been a close friend for almost 30 years, nothing could make me prouder than for Genius Brands to become the guardian of both his brand and body of work,” added Heyward. “I have no doubt that the greatest characters, the greatest stories, and the greatest hits from the mind of Stan Lee have yet to be told. As big as Spider-Man, Black Panther, X-Men and the Avengers are today, tomorrow it will be Stan Lee’s Tomorrow Men, his Stringbean, his Black Fury and Virus.”
“The spinoff opportunities for Kartoon Channel! alone are mindboggling, including a dedicated Stan Lee Universe program block,” added David Neuman, former president of Walt Disney Television and chief content officer of Genius Brands’ new Kartoon Channel!.
Genius Brands will be creating a dedicated business and creative unit specific to Stan Lee Universe, Heyward said.
“For the millions of Stan Lee fans, we look forward to taking this unique asset and faithfully bringing the characters to the movie screens, to comic books, to toys and licensed products worldwide,” he said.