Before “Iron Man,” Marvel optioned the license to their properties to other studios. Despite choosing to make their own movies under the Disney banner starting with “Iron Man,” the contracts state that the rival studios retain the rights to their movies unless a specific period of time expires without a property going into development. That is how Marvel got back Daredevil and The Punisher, and it is also why Fox has fast tracked their next “Fantastic Four” movie.
It also looks like Marvel is holding grudges and seems to be souring on properties held by other studios. It wasn’t that long ago that Marvel offered to let Fox keep Daredevil in exchange for The Silver Surfer, which is part of the Fantastic Four deal. Fox rejected the offer. Now, with “The Fantastic Four” coming out in 2015, it looks like Marvel is striking back.
In what has to be surprising news, Marvel has sent out memos that they are cancelling their “Fantastic Four” comics and have warned writers that those characters are off limits until further notice. The thought is that Marvel wants to kill the popularity of the characters to hurt Fox’s upcoming movie. That also seems to be a case of cutting off the nose to smite the face. Here is a look at which Marvel properties are still out of the control of Marvel in the movie world.
Fox owed the rights to The Fantastic Four and Daredevil and made two movies out of each franchise. The rights to Daredevil reverted back to Marvel and a new Netflix series is on the way. However, Fox still has The Fantastic Four, which includes that team as well as Galactus, The Silver Surfer, Doctor Doom and partial rights to the Skrulls. The new movie comes out in 2015, directed by “Chronicle” director Josh Trank.
Fox also still owns the rights to The X-Men. While it might seem easy for Marvel to halt production on The Fantastic Four for awhile, killing all mutant titles would cost the company too much money. Basically, with the X-Men rights, Fox has the right to every mutant in the Marvel Universe. There are some cases where they have to share the rights, such as Quicksilver appearing in both “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” but Marvel can’t call him a mutant or mention that he is Magneto’s son.
Sony still holds the rights to Spider-Man, and with a new world being built around the Wall Crawler, they will be keeping it for awhile. This has to be one property that Marvel would love to have back, but like The X-Men, it is also one that they can’t disrupt when it comes to comic book sales. Sony has announced that they plan on releasing a movie based in the Spider-Man universe every year.