Comic book heroes Archer and Armstrong, Bloodshot and X-O Manowar might not be household names, but that might be about to change soon, with New York-based independent publisher Valiant Entertainment announcing a new round of financing that makes a significant investment in future movie projects.
A report in The New York Times on Sunday night revealed that Beijing-based DMG Entertainment has made what’s described as “a nine-figure investment” in Valiant for feature and television financing. DMG CEO Dan Mintz said that “taking a stake in the last independent massive comic universe is a strategic investment for DMG that will produce movies and TV that are both appealing and relevant to a global audience.”
As a result of that investment, Valiant and DMG will develop both movies for release in the U.S. and China as well as new projects specifically for the Asian market, including “Chinese-language publishing, animation and theme parks as well as toys and apparel.”
Valiant originally launched in 1989, the brainchild of former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter and creator Bob Layton. Following initial success with series such as Harbinger, Rai and Shadowman, the company was sold in 1994 to videogame developer Acclaim Entertainment, which went bankrupt in 2004. Three years later, Valiant was relaunched as Valiant Entertainment following its purchase by Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason Kothari and resumed publication of its comic line in 2012.
Movies based on the Valiant properties have been in development for some time, with supernatural thriller Shadowman and buddy comedy Archer & Armstrong currently being developed by Valiant’s movie arm. Additionally, Bloodshot was optioned in 2012 by Fast and Furious producer Neal H. Moritz for Columbia Pictures. A movie version of teen superhero team Harbinger has previously been in the works at Paramount with Brett Ratner at the helm, but rights reverted to Valiant in 2013.
If Valiant’s business model of tightly controlling the comic books and movie versions of its characters seems to borrow from Marvel’s way of doing things, that’s no accident. Former Marvel chief executive Peter Cuneo is the current chairman of the company and has gone on the record with his intent to transform the publisher into “Marvel 2.0.” Marvel’s current movie success, it might be worth mentioning, started with its own nine-figure funding in 2005.