Originally Posted by Zarex
Artisan went under in 2004, at which time Marvel was definitely on the upswing. I agree, it's unlikely that the studio "bundled" them under unfavorable existing contracts. So if we assume that Deadpool and the Surfer both came over to FOX from New Line and Artisan, respectively, around 2005, how the heck do these contracts work? I came up with a couple of possibilities:
A) Deadpool and the Surfer were "bundled" under their existing character families at FOX. (unlikely)
B) Both characters were sold in 2005 as the headliners of independent character families, requiring a solo movie to be released by FOX. If a Deadpool or Surfer film isn't released within a set period of time, the rights revert.
C) Deadpool and the Surfer were "lead" characters at their former studios, but under the 2005 agreements with FOX they are strictly "supporting" characters. FOX extended the rights by incorporating the characters into XMO:W and RR:ROTSS, and can extend the rights further by featuring them in the proposed X:Force spin-off and FF reboots.
Once we clear this up we can start working on Namor.
Edit: It could also be D) FOX had written into their X-Men and FF contracts rights of first refusal to buy the Deadpool and Surfer rights for a previously agreed upon price when their prior agreements ended.
I think it's something like C except they don't have a stipulation on whether they can headline their own movie or be supporting characters, since they were planning spin-offs for both. I think they have to use them in their films by a certain time or they'll revert. I remember a story coming out a couple weeks ago that if Fox didn't use Deadpool in one of their movies in the next couple years the rights would revert. It didn't make sense to me then because I thought they had Deadpool's rights due to the X-Men, but now that I know his rights were originally separate it makes more sense to me.
Originally Posted by Willie Lumpkin
I can't say what the details are or if this is even 100% accurate, but I remember a Fox rep several years ago basically saying that if they made a Surfer film, that would extend the FF rights and vice versa.
If that's correct, I'm wondering about the wording of the contract. If a Surfer film would extend the FF rights, is it possible that a Torch appearance in an X-Men film (for example) would also extend the rights? That's a scary possibility. I hope Marvel has wording to prevent something like that.
You'll have to find me that quote. Studios don't usually comment on things like that.