By Charles Webb
Even if the films based on Daredevil and Punisher haven’t exactly set box office on fire, Marvel seems intent at giving the characters another go at the big screen. Speaking with Marvel’s President of Production, Kevin Feige, Bleeding Cool was able to nab this quote over the weekend:
We’re trying to figure out what to do with Daredevil now. Punisher could show up at one point. You know, once we get characters back into the Marvel fold we don’t want to do something right away, we want to do the smart thing at the smart time.
First off, we should translate that quote: what Feige means is, “Maybe, once the Phase 3 movies are out the door and we’ve figured out this whole packaged TV deal, a Punisher or Daredevil movie might make sense. Maybe.”
Marvel only recently reacquired the rights to Daredevil once they reverted from Fox, who was attempting to develop a reboot to the franchise following the profitable but mostly unloved “Daredevil” movie from “Ghost Rider” director Mark Steven Johnson. That film had a pretty solid opening weekend and even spawned an “Elektra” spinoff two years later that no one saw.
Punisher, meanwhile, has enjoyed three big screen incarnations over the last 30 years: Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane, and Ray Stevenson have all taken a shot at eradicating crime as vigilante Frank Castle, but even exploding parkour dudes in “Punisher War Zone” (2008) couldn’t bring audiences around.
Marvel has two problems with these properties, both to do with name recognition. Daredevil and Punisher don’t exactly have the cachet of Iron Man or Captain America* on top of which, both characters are kind of in franchise jail for the moment. The only thing audiences who are familiar with those names will associate with “Punisher” or “Daredevil” on a marquee is “bad movies, stay away” (call it “’Judge Dredd’ syndrome”).
Here’s our hope: Marvel puts these two on TV where they belong. Punisher was almost there with the completely off-brand sounding adaptation from last year at Fox that would have had Frank Castle as a NYPD detective who stalks criminals in his off hours. So far, there’s been no new word on that project, which had “Criminal Minds” showrunner Ed Bernero attached.
*Although 10 years ago, Iron Man didn’t have the cachet of Iron Man among global audiences, so who knows?
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