Marvel Studios CEO Exits
In 'X-Men' aftermath, Arad starts new production shingle
Although Marvel announced on Wednesday (May 31) that Arad was stepping down as chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios, chief creative officer of Marvel and a Marvel director, Arad won't be far from the company's thoughts. The Cyprus-born producer will continue on as creative advisor to the company through the end of the year, plus Avi Arad Productions will remain involved with transforming additional Marvel properties into features.
Arad's decision to change his role at the company came in the immediate aftermath of one of his biggest successes. "X-Men: The Last Stand" overcame a revolving door of directors and delivered a $122.9 million domestic Memorial Day weekend, setting a number of records.
"I have helped to build Marvel into a very special company, and on the heels of the tremendous success of 'X-Men: The Last Stand,' I felt like it was the right time for me to move away from the day to day corporate responsibilities in order to focus on what I love best -- creating and producing," Arad says in a statement. "I am leaving behind a great team to run the studio, and I expect to remain actively involved in the development and production of many Marvel films in the years to come."
Among the early products on the docket for Avi Arad Productions are the Marvel flicks "Iron Man" and "Spider-Man 3," as well as an upcoming "Hulk" sequel.
Arad's tenure atop the Marvel ladder dates back to 1993 and despite the occasional disappointment (failures Arad has always been more than willing to defend) -- like "The Punisher," "Elektra" or "Hulk" -- the company's feature film line has flourished. Comic fans adored adaptations of "Spider-Man" and "X-Men" and even if the hardcore fans weren't enthusiastic about the "Fantastic Four" film, it was a huge hit for the company.
The Arad legacy, though, may be the $525 million debt facility the company arranged last year to allow Marvel to operate as an independent production arm with ownership over its characters and film rights.
In Arad's semi-absence, Marvel President and COO Michael Helfant and Kevin Feige, Marvel Studio's president of production, will keep the home fires burning.