September 29, 2008 / 7:48 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Marvel ups film unit outlook; inks deal with Paramount

(Recasts; adds details, share movement)

Sept 29 (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment Inc MVL.N raised its film unit’s 2008 revenue outlook following initial payments of $60 million from Viacom’s VIAb.N Paramount Pictures — the distributor of the comic book publisher’s “Iron Man” movie.

Paramount will also distribute Marvel’s next five self-produced feature films across the world, the two companies said in a separate statement.

Marvel expects 2008 revenue from its film production segment between $125 million and $140 million, compared with a prior forecast of $65 million to $80 million, according to a regulatory filing.

The initial payment from Paramount to Marvel was not offset by any production or marketing expenses related to the “Iron Man” DVD release, Marvel, which entered the film-making market with “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” in the second quarter, said in the regulatory filing.

Under an agreement between the companies, Paramount will distribute a slew of forthcoming movies from the Marvel stable, including “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “The First Avenger: Captain America,” and “The Avengers.”

Marvel’s distribution deal with Paramount, which capitalizes on “Iron Man”‘s success, will help the latter offset a potential big loss should it lose distribution of DreamWorks films.

Earlier this month, DreamWorks reached a long-expected deal with India’s Reliance ADA Group for $1.2 billion in new financing to leave Paramount and produce movies as an independent studio. But DreamWorks must still reach a film distribution deal with a major Hollywood studio.

Shares of Marvel, which houses a cast of more than 5,000 characters including Spider-Man and X-Men, were down 5 percent at $32.77, while Viacom’s stock was down 7 percent at $23.65 Monday afternoon, both on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Purwa Naveen Raman in Bangalore and Bob Tourtellotte in Los Angeles; Editing by Pratish Narayanan)

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