Through a groundbreaking joint venture between Genius Brands International and Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, an agreement has been struck to create Stan Lee Universe. Stan Lee Universe will assume worldwide rights, in perpetuity, to the name, physical likeness, physical signature, live-action and animated motion picture, television, online, digital, publishing, comic book, merchandising and licensing rights to Stan Lee and his IP creations past, present and going forward.
In announcing the deal Monday, Andy Heyward, Chairman & CEO of Genius Brands, said, “In all of Hollywood, there is no greater prize. This is the Holy Grail. Stan Lee Universe is a once in a lifetime asset drawn from over 100 original, heretofore unexploited properties, created by the most successful creator of intellectual property of our time.”
Jointly owned and subject to due diligence and documentation, the deal will leave Genius Brands as the managing and controlling partner of the Stan Lee Universe joint venture.
Lee was the creator of the most successful characters ever made, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Thor, Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Silver Surfer, Ant-Man, Nick Fury, Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course the #1 movie box-office franchise of all time, The Avengers. For decades, Lee was the editor and creative force behind Marvel Comics, which was sold to the Walt Disney Company for $4.4 billion and has since proved to be worth many multiples of that amount.
In addition to the #1 movie box office hit, Avengers: Endgame, Lee created two of the Walt Disney Company’s top three blockbusters, and five of the 12 top-grossing movies of all time.
“It’s almost impossible to conceive that one mind created all this wealth,” said Heyward. “The spinoffs alone defy the imagination. From animated television to toys, apparel, video games and every conceivable licensed product imaginable, Stan Lee characters populate the screens and retail shelves worldwide. There is no creator who has influenced pop culture and created more successful entertainment. Not even Walt Disney. Over and over, again and again, he created characters and stories that resonated in the hearts and minds of all peoples of all ages around the world, with billions and billions and billions of dollars of motion picture box-office, television and consumer product licensing.”
Stan Lee Universe will be built from the repository of all of the characters and IP created by Stan Lee, post-Marvel Entertainment, not otherwise elsewhere. It is drawn from over 100 original Stan Lee creations, from which it will develop and license approximately seven properties per year.
“Having worked with Stan and been a close friend for almost 30 years, nothing could make me prouder than for Genius Brands to become the guardian of both his brand and body of work,” Heyward continued. “I have no doubt that the greatest characters, the greatest stories and the greatest hits from the mind of Stan Lee have yet to be told. As big as Spider-Man, Black Panther, X-Men and The Avengers are today, tomorrow it will be Stan Lee’s Tomorrow Men, his Stringbean, his Black Fury and Virus.”
Former President of Marvel Productions, Margaret Loesch, said, “Stan Lee was a one of a kind. So is this asset, Stan Lee Universe is going to be an unimaginable source of blockbuster entertainment for many years to come.”
“We will be creating a dedicated business and creative unit specific to Stan Lee Universe. For the millions of Stan Lee fans, we look forward to taking this unique asset and faithfully bringing the characters to the movie screens, to comic books, to toys and licensed products worldwide,” Heyward concluded.