X-Men Movie Rights

Even though Sony Pictures was able to strike a deal with Marvel Studios to share the rights to Spider-Man, fans have learned that 20th Century Fox is nowhere near considering striking a similar to deal to share characters like X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool. In fact, word on the street has been that the relationship between Fox and Marvel is rather tense. In case you need any more evidence of that, X-Men comics writer Chris Claremont has given his take on how the recent downfall of X-Men comics is tied directly to movie rights ownership and plain old show business.

Find out how X-Men movie rights ownership has hurt the comic books after the jump.

In an interview with Bleeding Cool (via Collider) about the state of X-Men comics, specifically their low sales, Chris Claremont offered up this bitter take on the topic:

That has nothing to do with comic sales, that has everything to do with the fact that the film rights are controlled by a rival corporation.

I guarantee you that if 10 years ago, when Marvel was approached by Disney, if the X-Men film rights were owned by Marvel Studios and not Fox the X-Men would probably still be the paramount book in the canon. The reason for the emphasis on the other titles is because Marvel / Disney control the ancillary film rights whereas all the film rights for the FF- the Fantastic Four – and the X-Men are controlled by Fox who has no interest in the comic books.

So I think the corporate publishing attitude is: “why would we go out of our way to promote a title that will benefit a rival corporation’s films when we could take that same energy and enthusiasm and focus and do it for our own properties?”

Hence the rise of the Inhumans as the new equivalent of the mutants. I could wish for something else but it ain’t my 5 billion dollars.

Indeed, both in the Marvel cinematic universe (by way of Agents of SHIELD) and in the comics, Inhumans have become the new mutants. That’s essentially because those characters can have similar powers and have a team element like the X-Men, but Marvel doesn’t have to worry about benefiting Fox’s movie franchise by giving them fresh stories to turn into movies. That’s also why they’re not really creating new characters in the X-Men universe anymore.

You might remember hearing a similar sentiment from behind the scenes when the Fantastic Four comic was being shelved by Marvel for awhile earlier this year. So what will it take to get these comics back on the right track? Claremont thinks Fox and Disney/Marvel would have to cut a deal to fix any problems there are with X-Men comics right now:

If at some point Fox decides that the X-Men properties are no longer lucrative I’m sure that they will cut a deal with Disney. But I also expect that the deal they would want to cut would be extra-ordinarily expensive and Disney or Marvel might just as easily say ‘screw it’ we love the X-Men but we are not going to hurt ourselves to get it because we have our other properties that we own that are doing far better.

And as we said, Disney/Marvel and 20th Century Fox aren’t having any real discussions about sharing rights, so comic book fans will have to suffer through the lesser X-Men comics and a lack of Fantastic Four for the foreseeable future.

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