Retro Captain America and Marvel Entertainment character library

With a library of more than 8,000 characters, Marvel Entertainment, LLC is one of the world’s preeminent character-based entertainment companies. Marvel’s operations are focused on utilizing its character franchises in licensing, entertainment, publishing and toys. Marvel Entertainment’s areas of emphasis include feature films, DVD / home videos, consumer products, video games, action figures and role-playing toys, television and promotions. Rooted in the creative success of more than 60 years of comic book publishing, Marvel has successfully transformed its cornerstone comic book characters into blockbuster film franchises.

In December 2009, The Walt Disney Co. completed its acquisition of Marvel Entertainment and its library of characters. “The Walt Disney Co. is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses,” said Marvel Chief Executive Ike Perlmutter. “This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney’s tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world.”

Marvel Studios’ Hollywood renaissance has been nothing short of spectacular, with record-breaking franchises such as “Iron Man,” “Spider-Man,” “X-Men,” “The Fantastic Four” and “Ghost Rider” – resulting in a string of eight consecutive #1 box office openings. Since 1998, Marvel films have grossed more than $6.1 billion worldwide at the box office, firmly establishing the company as one of the most successful entertainment brands in the world.

Marvel Entertainment is currently in production on “Captain America: The First Avenger,” directed by Joe Johnston, screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Its future slate of films in development include, “Marvel Studios’ The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3,” “Spider-Man 4,” “Deadpool,” “Ant-Man” and “X-Men Origins: Magneto.”

President of Marvel Entertainment and “Thor” producer Kevin Feige explains why Marvel has been so successful in adapting its comic book characters to the big screen: “The secret to Marvel comics is the depth and complexity of the characters, all of whom are flawed in some way,” says Feige. “That’s what makes our characters interesting and why they have withstood the test of time. This dynamic has also allowed us to successfully transition Marvel characters into the film medium and expose them to a large segment of the audience that has never read a comic book. We have also been very fortunate that we have been able to attract uniquely talented actors and directors, as well as the best film technicians from top to bottom which has resulted in the best kind of mega-event movies out there.”

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing.

All About Marvel Comics

All About Marvel Comics

Marvel Worldwide Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American publisher of comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Worldwide’s parent company.

Marvel started in 1939 as Timely Publications, and by the early 1950s had generally become known as Atlas Comics. Marvel’s modern incarnation dates from 1961, the year that the company launched The Fantastic Four and other superhero titles created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and many others.

Marvel counts among its characters such well-known superheroes as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Thor, Hulk, Deadpool and Ant-Man, such teams as the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Fantastic Four, the Inhumans and the X-Men, and antagonists such as Doctor Doom, The Enchantress, Green Goblin, Ultron, Doctor Octopus, Thanos, Magneto and Loki.

Most of Marvel’s fictional characters operate in a single reality known as the Marvel Universe, with locations that mirror real-life cities. Characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Daredevil and Doctor Strange are based in New York City, whereas the X-Men have historically been based in Salem Center, New York and Hulk’s stories often have been set in the American Southwest.

All About Marvel Comics

From 60’s to Present

The first modern comic books under the Marvel Comics brand were the science-fiction anthology Journey into Mystery #69 and the teen-humor title Patsy Walker #95 (both cover dated June 1961), which each displayed an “MC” box on its cover. Then, in the wake of DC Comics’ success in reviving superheroes in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly with the Flash, Green Lantern, and other members of the team the Justice League of America, Marvel followed suit.

In 1961, writer-editor Stan Lee revolutionized superhero comics by introducing superheroes designed to appeal to more all-ages readers than the predominantly child audiences of the medium. Modern Marvel’s first superhero team, the titular stars of The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961),[27] broke convention with other comic book archetypes of the time by squabbling, holding grudges both deep and petty, and eschewing anonymity or secret identities in favor of celebrity status.

Subsequently, Marvel comics developed a reputation for focusing on characterization and adult issues to a greater extent than most superhero comics before them, a quality which the new generation of older readers appreciated.[28] This applied to The Amazing Spider-Man title in particular, which turned out to be Marvel’s most successful book. Its young hero suffered from self-doubt and mundane problems like any other teenager, something with which readers could identify.

Lee and freelance artist and eventual co-plotter Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four originated in a Cold War culture that led their creators to revise the superhero conventions of previous eras to better reflect the psychological spirit of their age. Eschewing such comic-book tropes as secret identities and even costumes at first, having a monster as one of the heroes, and having its characters bicker and complain in what was later called a “superheroes in the real world” approach, the series represented a change that proved to be a great success.

Marvel often presented flawed superheroes, freaks, and misfits—unlike the perfect, handsome, athletic heroes found in previous traditional comic books. Some Marvel heroes looked like villains and monsters such as the Hulk and the Thing. This naturalistic approach even extended into topical politics.

Hayley Atwell Career Milestones

Hayley Atwell Career Milestones

Born:Hayley Elizabeth Atwell
Birth Date: April 5, 1982
Birth Place: London, England, UK
Height: 5′ 7″ (1,7 m)

Born in London, England, Hayley Elizabeth Atwell has dual citizenship of the United Kingdom and the United States. An only child, Hayley was named after actress Hayley Mills. Her parents, Alison (Cain) and Grant Atwell, both motivational speakers, met at a London workshop of Dale Carnegie’s self-help bible “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Her mother is English (with Irish ancestry) and her father is American; he was born in Missouri and is partly of Native-American descent (his Native American name is Star Touches Earth). Her parents divorced when she was age two.

Hayley Atwell has had an exciting year, with her role as Peggy Carter in “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Last year, Hayley starred on our television screens in a number of exciting projects. In the ITV remake of the 1960s cult classic “The Prisoner,” she played Lucy alongside Ian McKellen, James Caviezel and Ruth Wilson. Hayley received a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Performance by an Actress category for her work in the Channel 4 drama “Pillars of the Earth,” based on Ken Follett’s novel. She went on to star again on Channel 4 in “Any Human Heart.” In this highly acclaimed adaptation of William Boyd’s novel Hayley played Freya, Logan’s mistress, alongside Kim Cattrall, Gillian Anderson and Tom Hollander.

Hayley Atwell Career Milestones

Last year Hayley starred alongside Ben Wishaw in “Love / Hate,” a short film which was a runner-up in the 2009 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films. She also trod the boards in the West End in Arthur Miller’s modern classic, “A View From the Bridge,” alongside Ken Stott and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Hayley’s outstanding performance in the role of Catherine earned her rave reviews and a nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category at this year’s Olivier Awards.

In 2008 Hayley starred alongside Keira Knightly in “The Duchess,” directed by Saul Dibb and based on the bestselling biography “Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire,” by Amanda Foreman. In this feature film she played lead character Bess Foster, the Duchess’ best friend. The same year audiences saw Hayley in “Brideshead Revisited,” directed by Julian Jarrold, playing the lead female role of Julia Flyte alongside Matthew Goode.

In 2007 Hayley appeared in “Cassandra’s Dream,” a satirical thriller directed by Woody Allen and co-starring Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor. Hayley played the character Angela, an ambitious actress on-the-rise, whose path crosses that of two brothers who choose to take a risk and venture in to crime in order to better their lives. The same year Hayley also appeared in “How About You,” based on the short story Hardcore, written by Maeve Binchy. Directed by Anthony Byrne, Hayley starred alongside Vanessa Redgrave, Joss Ackland, Orla Brady and Joan O’Hara.

Hayley Atwell Career Milestones

On television, Hayley won critical acclaim for her performance in the BBC’s “The Line of Beauty,” an adaptation of Alan Hollinghurst’s Booker Prize-winning novel. Written by Andrew Davies and directed by Saul Dibb, Hayley played the role of Cat Fedden and starred alongside Dan Stevens and Tim Mclnnerny. Her other television credits include “Mansfield Park,” in which she played the role of Mary and co-starred with Billie Piper; “Ruby in the Smoke,” directed by Brian Percival; and “Fear of Fanny,” directed by Coky Giedroyc.

Alongside television and film, Hayley has appeared in many theatrical roles. At the National Theatre, she played Barbara Undershaft in “Major Barbara.” Her other stage roles include “Man of Mode” (National Theatre), directed by Nicholas Hynter and written by George Etherege, for which she won critical acclaim; “Women Beware Women” (RSC), directed by Laurence Boswell; and “Prometheus Bound” (Sound Theatre), directed by James Kerr.

Chris Evans Career Milestones

Chris Evans Career Milestones

Chris Evans (Steve Rogers / Captain America) has recently emerged as one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors for both big budget and independent features. Evans is currently filming “Marvel Studios’ The Avengers,” the next chapter in Captain America’s story, opposite Robert Downey, Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth.

Evans will star in Adam and Mark Kassen’s “Puncture.” This David and Goliath law drama tells the story of a drug-addicted lawyer (Evans), who takes on a health supply corporation while battling his own personal demons. The film, based on a true story, is scheduled for release on September 23rd, 2011.

Evans also stars in Mark Mylod’s comedy “What’s Your Number?”, opposite Anna Faris. The film revolves around a young woman (Anna Faris) who, with the aid of her womanizing neighbor (Chris Evans), decides to re-visit all her ex-boyfriends in the hopes of finding the man of her dreams. Twentieth Century Fox is slated to release the film on September 30th, 2011.

Raised in Massachusetts, Evans began his acting career in theatre before moving to New York, where he studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute. In 2007, Evans reprised the role of Johnny Storm, a.k.a. The Human Torch, in the summer action hit “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” which had him re-team with his original “Fantastic Four” cast mates Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis and Ioan Gruffudd.

Evan’s other film credits include Edgar Wright’s action comedy, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” opposite Michael Cera; Sylvain White’s “The Losers,” with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Zoe Saldana; “Push,” opposite Dakota Fanning; “Street Kings,” with Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker; Danny Boyle’s critically acclaimed “Sunshine”; “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond”; “Cellular”; “The Perfect Score”; “Fierce People”; and the romantic drama “London.” Evans’ first cinematic role was in the 2001 hit comedic spoof, “Not Another Teen Movie.”

Captain America: Red, White and Blue Versus…Red

Captain America: Red, White and Blue Versus...Red

With a character as recognizable as Captain America, translating the fantastic aspects of his iconic costume to the real world presented a challenge for conceptual artist and designer Ryan Meinerding and Academy Award® nominated costume designer Anna B. Sheppard. Taking into account seventy years of comics for reference, a balance needed to be established that would satisfy the fans and still be believable in the world of the film.

Above all, the suit had to marry coolness and fantasy with practicality, where Co-Producer Stephen Broussard says “Whether it’s Tony’s suit in ‘Iron Man’ or Thor’s Asgardian Armor, it’s always about striking that balance of not sacrificing what makes it so visually appealing on the page and why people have responded to it for decades. This is our interpretation of how we think Steve Rogers went from being a symbol, a guy on a USO stage with a costume that wouldn’t stop anything, to being the guy on the front line charging an army.”

Meinerding does his research thoroughly, pulling references from various sources and discussing each move in detail with the filmmakers. Every strap, every buckle has a practical reason for being there, beyond its cosmetic properties. Producer Feige comments, “We’re bringing the costume to life in a way that I think is absolutely a nod to the comics, but I think it is inspired in its believability—it looks like it’s of the time period and like it stepped out of the comics, but it definitely feels like it exists in our real world.”

cCaptain America: Red, White and Blue Versus...Red

Marvel is savvy to reference what has come before without being a slave to it. Feige adds, “We’d be foolish to throw the original designs away and start from scratch, but the bones are there—we wanted to pick the best elements of them, but tailor them to our actor and our story, so the final build is believable when you see it in action.”

While Evans was engaged in weeks of physical training, working toward the ‘physical perfection’ that Dr. Erskine’s serum would achieve, a team of artists were busy working on the serum’s opposite achievement—the transformed Johann Schmidt, The Red Skull. The multi-step process began with prosthetics designer David White taking a life cast of actor Hugo Weaving. This cast would serve as a basis onto which possible designs could be created. White explains, “My aim was to find a sculptural balance and connection between Hugo and The Red Skull. I wanted to make sure Hugo wasn’t lost beneath the final make-up.”

White and the producers went through several conceptual models before finding the right look. The goal was to achieve the skeletal appearance without any hint of Johann having been burned. White says, “Joe [Johnston] didn’t want audiences to sympathize with Red Skull, we didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for him. But he definitely wanted something that looked classically memorable, but be a little grotesque, without being disgusting. We finally hit on a look that struck that balance of hideous without veering too much into the grotesque; just cool and charismatic enough that you can’t take your eyes off him!”

Captain America: Red, White and Blue Versus...Red

Once the practical makeup was perfected—first applications took a team around three-and-one-half hours—CGI would be overlaid to apply the finishing touches to the look and remove Weaving’s nose. Feige recounts, “We always figured that digital effects would have to bring the character home, but apart from the minor things, like the nose removal, we were massively impressed with how far David White was able to take him from the first test.”

Also to be credited with the super successful result was Weaving’s ability to channel his portrayal through any amount of prosthetics on his face. White employed seven individual coated silicone pieces, which lay right next to the skin, and which were able to hold onto paint and makeup. The silicone also had the added benefit of a slight translucency of color that resulted in luminosity under stage lights, creating an otherworldly red glow.

Weaving comments, “At first, it was a bit of an ordeal to get into the mask. However, by the second round of tests, I realized just how much subtlety I could utilize in my facial expressions, and I could actually animate the mask pretty well. The cheekbones, eyebrows and mouth are quite extreme, but it enabled my expressions to come through, whereas some of the earlier tests it felt like I really lost the sense of Schmidt beneath the mask.”

“Under the lights, you get these beautiful curves,” enthuses White. “It’s a very organic and moves extremely well.”

Weaving would often spend 14 or 15 hours in the prosthetics while filming. “The heat can’t escape, so I would start sweating, and then the sweat will try to escape. Since it has nowhere to go, it would pop out of my ears or around my mouth, like I’m dribbling,” comments Weaving. To help counter this, heavy powdering during the application process became key.

Though not a stranger with fanciful costuming (her motion picture costume design credits range from period comedies to searing drama and military stories), double Oscar® nominee Anna Sheppard comes newly to the comic book universe. She adds, “This whole show has been a learning curve for me, and I feel all of the costumes are so special. The looks were very important and we discussed them day and night. As a designer, I had to be adaptive and listen to a lot of people with opinions that know more than I do! In this case, I got more guidance and I have learned a lot about this genre.”

On trying on the iconic suit for the first time, Evans says, “There is obviously a huge concern about giving a good performance on every job, but this was more like I’m going to be wearing this suit for potentially a very long time. It just felt like the suit was carrying a lot of weight, so to speak. There were a lot of people involved who worked very hard on the design. I would try on the suit every couple of weeks, and get poked and prodded and measured. Things were cut, things were added. They finally got it where they all wanted it and I have to say, I think it looks fantastic.”

Suit modeler Patrick Whitaker collaborated closely with designer Sheppard and costume supervisor Graham Churchyard—who all remained in constant communication with the filmmakers to ensure that every minute detail on the suit was accurate, workable, practical and stylish. The fabric is ballistic nylon, a heavy-duty woven nylon with rubberized backing (from a saddle and tack firm in the UK, where it’s produced for the manufacture of horse blankets). The nylon is durable and strong, capable of holding saturated color and providing relative ease of movement. Whitaker comments, “While the suit needed to be as functional as possible, it was okay if it was slightly clunky, because it’s from the 1940s.”

Howard Stark gives Rogers what eventually becomes the Captain’s signature weapon, his shield. Its distinctive round shape was actually an early design decision from creator/illustrator Joe Simon, to sidestep any infringement on a character published by a competing comic book company.

According to Dominic Cooper, who plays Howard Stark, “The shield is made of Vibranium, which is stronger than steel, but much lighter. The material doesn’t allow any transference of vibration, so when anything strikes the shield, there are no repercussions. So the Vibranium shield makes a bullet feel like a cotton ball…and I invented it. Not bad, right?”

“It probably wouldn’t be most people’s first choice of a weapon to take into battle. But what’s fun about the shield,” comments Kevin Feige, “is that 600 issues in to the Captain America comics, he is still able to do things with it that you’ve never seen before.”

Having said that, the writers did include a few good throws of the shield at some big moments in the film. “It’s both a defensive weapon and an offensive weapon, so it both deflect bullets and allows him to chuck it around,” says writer Christoper Markus. Stephen McFeely adds, “It’s inexplicably cool. There’s no reason that this big, round thing should be so excellent looking, but every time Chris walked past with it on his arm, I just wanted one!”

Several different shields were made for the duration of the shoot, some of the responsibility falling to prop master Barry Gibbs: “There are four types of shields in the movie—the original or ‘hero,’ the lightweight, the hard rubber and the soft rubber—and they’re all used in different ways. Chris used the original shield for close-up work, and alternated between the other three shields depending on what was called for in the shot. The soft rubber was always used for the fight work.” (CGI got a little share in the shield creation department as well. Evans adds, “Every now and then we’d do a shot where we’d utilize CGI. The shield was so big that if I really threw the thing the way the script called for, I could really hurt somebody.”)

Related Link: Read the Full Production Notes for Captain America: The First Avenger

Narrow win for ‘Apes’ at the box office

Narrow win for 'Apes' at the box office

“Planet of the Apes” nabbed the No. 1 spot, but “The Help” was close on its tail.

Rebellious apes have held off Southern maids for a narrow win at the weekend box office.

Studio estimates Sunday pegged “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” at $27.5 million, good enough for its second-straight No. 1 finish. The 20th Century Fox release raised its 10-day domestic total to $104.9 million.

The “Planet of the Apes” prequel came in just ahead of “The Help,” a drama about Mississippi maids during the civil-rights movement that debuted at No. 2 with $25.5 million. “The Help,” a DreamWorks release distributed by Disney, has taken in $35.4 million domestically since opening Wednesday.

The Warner Bros. horror sequel “Final Destination 5,” the latest in the franchise where death stalks victims who had been fated to die earlier, opened at No. 3 with $18.4 million.

The weekend’s other two new wide releases had soft openings. Sony’s action comedy “30 Minutes or Less,” starring Jesse Eisenberg as a pizza deliveryman forced to help rob a bank, was No. 5 with $13 million, just behind Sony’s surprise animated smash “The Smurfs,” which slipped to fourth-place with $13.5 million and lifted its three-week total to $101.5 million.

The singers from TV’s “Glee” failed to find a big-screen audience as 20th Century Fox’s “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie” opened outside the top-10, finishing at No. 11 with just $5.7 million. The concert film was shot during the cast’s recent North American tour.

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “The Help” have exceeded their studios’ early box-office expectations. Both received strong reviews, “Apes” for surprising drama amid dazzling visual effects to create the simians, “The Help” for great performances from Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer and their co-stars in the adaptation of the best-seller about black maids who go public with stories about working for often racist white employers.

“You’ve really got to see it to believe it because of the effects,” Fox distribution executive Chris Aronson said of “Apes.” ”The combination of the effects and an emotional story makes for a very satisfying trip to the movies.”

The “Apes” prequel added $40.5 million overseas, raising its international total to $75 million and worldwide haul to nearly $180 million.

Female crowds made up 74 percent of the audience for “The Help,” and 60 percent of viewers were older than 35. That’s a sign “The Help” could have a long shelf life at theaters, since women and older audiences tend to get drawn to films through word-of-mouth rather than rushing out over opening weekend the way young crowds do.

“The Help” already has far outpaced the $20 million Disney executives hoped for over the first five days, and the film is playing strongly in both urban and middle America markets, said Dave Hollis, the studio’s head of distribution.

“The book and the way it kind of rose to the best-seller list was very much this word-of-mouth, viral thing where people say, ‘you’ve got to read this thing I just read,’ and we’re hoping the movie can do the same kind of thing,” Hollis said.

“The Smurfs” also has outstripped expectations. The family hit added $60 million overseas to raise its worldwide total to $242 million, and Sony announced a sequel over the past week.

“We were ready to make the second one before we even released the first,” said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. “We felt confident it was going to work, but I don’t think anybody had any idea it was going to work to this level.”

Overall domestic business increased for the fifth-straight weekend. Revenues totaled $152 million, up 6 percent from the same weekend last year, when “The Expendables” led with $34.8 million, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.

“We’re ending the summer on a high note,” said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “The usually unsung month of August can be the time when a lot of unexpected things happen that benefit the box office.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” $27.5 million ($40.5 million international).
2. “The Help,” $25.5 million.
3. “Final Destination 5,” $18.4 million.
4. “The Smurfs,” $13.5 million ($60 million international).
5. “30 Minutes or Less,” $13 million.
6. “Cowboys & Aliens,” $7.6 million ($7 million international).
7. “Captain America: The First Avenger,” $7.1 million ($12.2 million international).
8. “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” $6.93 million.
9. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” $6.9 million ($30 million international).
10. “The Change-Up,” $6.2 million.

‘Captain America’ title changed in some overseas

Captain America' title changed in some overseas

The name of “Captain America: The First Avenger” is being altered in three Russia, Ukraine and South Korea.

Captain America will keep its patriotic full title in most of the world when the superhero adventure hits the big-screen.

Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios gave distributors around the world the option of shortening the title of “Captain America: The First Avenger” to simply “The First Avenger,” out of concern about anti-American sentiment.

But the only countries that took them up on it were Russia, Ukraine and South Korea.

In other territories, the movie will go out with the full title, a sign that the brand value of the Marvel Comics hero trumps any potential anti-U.S. feelings in some parts of the world.

Movie titles often are changed in foreign countries for cultural reasons or because the original names don’t translate well. In French-speaking countries, “The Hangover” and its sequel were titled “Very Bad Trip.”

Starring Chris Evans as the patriotic super-soldier, “Captain America” opens in U.S. theaters July 22.