BEVERLY HILLS, CA and NEW YORK, NY – November 2, 2005 – Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: MVL), a leading global character-based entertainment and licensing company, today announced the hiring of Michael Helfant, 48, as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company's Marvel Studios division based in Beverly Hills.
Marvel Studios' mission is to develop and manage entertainment projects that leverage Marvel's vast universe of creative content comprised of over 5,000 characters and more than sixty years of storytelling. The division's scope of operations and projects in development have expanded substantially over the past few years and are expected to continue to support a growing base of entertainment initiatives.
Avi Arad, Chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios, commented: "Marvel Studios has a strong, dynamic and active base of entertainment projects being developed for release well into the next decade. Each of our projects is aimed at further increasing the value of the Marvel brand on a global basis. I look forward to working with Michael and am confident that his experience, knowledge and industry relationships will prove instrumental to the success of our entertainment production activities, while enabling me and my creative team to focus on what we do best."
Mr. Helfant added, "I am very excited to join Avi and the rest of the Marvel team as they expand their entertainment operations. Marvel is a great company and a powerful brand, with unique assets, tremendous creativity, and global reach. Going forward, the core objective remains clear: continue to develop and create great entertainment and profitable, enduring franchises from the Marvel Universe."
In September, Marvel completed a $525 million non-recourse debt financing for the production of up to ten films based on its famous characters. Script development for several of these films is already underway under the direction of Avi Arad and the Marvel Studios production team and the first film is anticipated for release in 2008. In addition, Marvel Studios is working closely on Marvel character-based films it has licensed to other major studios. Marvel Studios is also actively working with Lion's Gate on the production of direct-to-DVD animated full length films, the first of which is slated for release in 2006, and is also involved in the production of animated and live-action television projects which are being developed by third parties.
Mr. Helfant has over 22 years of entertainment industry experience. Most recently Mr. Helfant served as COO, responsible for overseeing all of the business operations of Beacon Pictures, a major independent motion picture production company whose recent feature film releases include Open Range, Raising Helen and Ladder 49. Prior to joining Beacon, Mr. Helfant was Senior Executive Vice President of Dimension Films (SPY Kids, Scream and Scary Movie franchises), a division of Miramax Film Corp. from 1999-2002. His responsibilities there included overseeing feature film administration, new media, overall talent deals, international co-productions and tax/subsidiary arrangements. Mr. Helfant's production credits include: Executive Producer of Very Bad Things, Co-Producer of The Associate and Co-Executive Producer of Kazaam. Mr. Helfant has also held a number of other senior management positions at entertainment companies including Executive Vice President, Head of Business Operations and Acquisitions at Interscope Communications, Inc. (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Mr. Holland's Opus and Runaway Bride), and Senior Vice President of Sovereign Pictures, Inc. (Reversal of Fortune, My Left Foot and Cinema Paradiso). Mr. Helfant started his career as an entertainment attorney with Loeb & Loeb in Century City, specializing in a broad range of entertainment business transactions.
Mr. Helfant is a graduate of the JD/MBA program at UCLA and earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Arizona State University. He lives with his wife and three children in Southern California.