'Legion' merits a franchise tag

Brighton, Rainmaker, POW! on CG-ani property

Comic book legend Stan Lee and his production shingle POW! Entertainment, along with Brighton Partners, have partnered with Rainmaker Entertainment to launch "Legion of 5," a new superhero property.

"Legion of 5" — owned jointly by Rainmaker, POW! and Brighton — is planned as a series of CG-animated films but with a cross-platform approach to include games, online and mobile releases. Merchandizing is part of the plan as well.

Details of the characters and story line are being kept under wraps.

Rainmaker CEO Warren Franklin reported that the partners are raising about $24 million to get things going. "We are hoping to develop a strong franchise with the characters," he said.

Plans call for Vancouver-based computer-animation producer Rainmaker to create the look of the characters as well as develop and produce the feature-length CG-animated film properties.

Lee, Rainmaker's Aaron L. Gilbert and Paul Gertz, Gill Champion of POW! and Cord Beatty of Brighton will exec produce.

Recent film versions of Lee's "X-Men," "Spider-Man," "The Fantastic Four" and "The Hulk" titles have, in contrast to the "Legion" CG project, been live-action productions.

Separately, Lee has set up three projects at Disney, which houses POW!: "Nick Ratchet," following the exploits of a private eye; "Blaze," an action adventure; and "Tigress" (working title), the story of a woman who starts getting tiger-like instincts.

Rainmaker Animation is developing "ReBoot," one of the earliest computer-animated episodic TV series, as a trilogy of feature-length films. Brighton Partners is a Salt Lake City-based finance and project development group.

The "Legion of 5" partners will convene at a weekend comic convention, where Lee will receive the inaugural New York Comics Legend Award.
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