Marvel Enterprises, Inc.
and Paramount Pictures
, a part of the entertainment operations of Viacom, Inc. announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Paramount will distribute a slate of feature films to be produced by Marvel. Marvel also announced it has obtained a financing commitment from Merrill Lynch Commercial Finance Corp. to permit Marvel to fund the production of its film slate. Paramount will receive a distribution fee for each film it distributes and will retain worldwide distribution rights in sequels to the films covered under the agreement. The distribution agreement between Paramount and Marvel specifies that Marvel may deliver up to ten films to Paramount over an eight-year period, with the first titles including "Captain America" and "Nick Fury." Marvel's budgets for each film may range from $45 million to $180 million. The first picture is expected to be released in 2007 or 2008. Paramount will not contribute to production costs, although it will provide advance funding of promotion and advertising for the films.