Netflix Reveals First-Ever Acquisition: Comic Publisher Millarworld
Netflix has made its first acquisition, buying the comic book company behind Kick-Ass and Kingsman, as it looks to imitate Marvel-owner Disney's superhero strategy.
Netflix's acquisition of Millarworld, founded by former Marvel comic developer Mark Millar, is a strategic move to own and develop its own universe of superhero TV series and films.
Disney's $4bn (£3.07bn) move to buy Marvel in 2009, taking ownership of characters including Iron Man and Captain America, took the industry by surprise at the time but has proved to be box office gold.
Marvel TV shows such as Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Daredevil have proved to be some of the most popular among Netflix viewers, and best value for money for the company, according to Ampere Analysis.
Millar, 47, spent eight years at Marvel, developing the comic books and story arcs that inspired the Avengers film, Captain America: Civil War and the recent Wolverine movie, Logan, before setting up Millarworld with his wife Lucy.
Netflix, which did not disclose the amount it paid for Millarworld, intends to turn the company's portfolio of character franchises into films, TV series and children's shows.
"As creator and re-inventor of some of the most memorable stories and characters in recent history, ranging from Marvel's The Avengers to Millarworld's Kick-Ass, Kingsman, Wanted and Reborn franchises, Mark is as close as you can get to a modern day [Marvel legend] Stan Lee," said Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer.
Millar and his co-creators have so far developed 18 character franchises or worlds of which three -- Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman -- have been turned into films that have grossed about $1bn (at the box office. He will continue to create and publish new stories and character franchises under the Netflix label.
"Netflix is the future and Millarworld couldn't have a better home," he said. "We look forward to creating new Netflix originals from several existing franchises as well as new super-hero, anti-hero, fantasy, sci-fi and horror stories Mark and his team will continue to create and publish," said Sarandos.
Last month, Netflix, which has a market capitalization of almost $80bn, passed the 100 million global subscriber mark.
The company's huge success comes at a cost, with nearly $16bn committed to making and acquiring TV shows and films over the next five years. By buying the rights to potentially lucrative franchises the company hopes to cut its ballooning content budgets.
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