TOLDJA! ‘Daredevil’ Rights Revert From Fox To Disney

The blogosphere is going wild as Marvel chief Kevin Feige does interviews for Iron Man 3 and acknowledges that Daredevil has returned to the Marvel fold at Disney. We told you this was going to happen last August, when a last ditch attempt to shape a movie with Joe Carnahan cratered. Ben Affleck starred in the original film, and he’s doing way more interesting things now as a writer/director/actor/producer. Without him, it was pretty clear that Fox wasn’t confident about bankrolling a superhero-sized movie based on the character and that the brass at the studio wasn’t at all upset about coming out on the losing end of the witching hour of when Marvel and Disney got back those rights. The intrigue will be to see if Marvel vamps the blind lawyer character, and whether he begins showing up in other superhero movies and maybe a sequel to The Avengers. They certainly have made The Hulk viable after he was pretty much thought to be dead as disco. Here’s what we said last August:

Director Joe Carnahan seems to be ready to toss in the towel on the last ditch attempt to reboot the Marvel superhero Daredevil before Fox’s rights to the franchise expire this fall. Carnahan sent out a tweet today saying, “I think my idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke today kids.”

From what I’m hearing, that means that Fox, which made the original Daredevil movie that starred Ben Affleck, is prepared to see the rights to that character revert back to Marvel Studios, and fall under the Disney umbrella. Marvel essentially said no to an extension and to Fox’s request that it come aboard as cofinancier of the Daredevil film. Deadline revealed back at Comic-Con that Fox had a problem with a ticking rights clock that would expire in October, something that became an issue after David Slade bailed on the project after he committed to direct the Hannibal pilot. Fox wasn’t too upset by all this, because the studio was lukewarm on making the movie.

It is certainly possible that Carnahan, who’s coming off The Grey, will get the chance to make his gritty blind lawyer-turned crime fighter Matt Murdock/Daredevil at Disney. But it will be Kevin Feige’s decision. As for Fox, the studio will focus on the forward moving Marvel projects Fantastic Four, which is being rebooted, and X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine, both of which are being sequelized. The original Mark Steven Johnson-directed Daredevil squeaked past the $100 million domestic gross mark in 2003, grossed $178 million worldwide and turned in an opening weekend just north of $40 million. It wasn’t thought of as a big success, though, even though it led to the spinoff Elektra, which starred Jennifer Garner. It is one of Marvel’s core comic book heroes so it will be interesting to see what Marvel does with the characters in that universe.

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