Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Comic book movie producer is big on Japanese manga

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Hollywood producer Avi Arad has put down his stack of comic books and turned to flipping through mangas, the Japanese version of the comic — and he likes what he sees.Avi Arad

Arad, who helped popularize comic book movies with “X-Men” and “Spider-Man,” sees stories from Japan as driving another wave of major studio films. The Israeli-born Arad has a vested interest in being big on Japan, because the toymaker turned movie producer with comic book house Marvel Entertainment hopes one of those hot Japanese stories will be the manga “Ghost in the Shell,” a futuristic police thriller which he plans to make into a film with DreamWorks Studios. The heroine in “Ghost in the Shell” has been described by one reviewer as a “cross between the Terminator and a Playboy centerfold.”

No release date has been set for Arad’s “Ghost in the Shell” movie. But there are reasons to take Arad seriously. When he was at Marvel, he executive produced the 2000 hit comic book movie “X-Men,” which made $296 million at worldwide box offices and helped spark a wave of similar films. His other credits include “Hulk,” “Daredevil,” “Spider-Man” and several other supMangaerhero films.

“We look at Japan as an incredible new source of material,” Arad said this week at a panel discussion in Beverly Hills organized by think tank the Milken Institute.

Attn: X-Men, win a “Wolverine” film premiere

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jackman11Ever wonder what it would be like to travel to Hollywood, attend a gala movie premiere and walk up the red carpet alongside a big star like Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine in upcoming “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”

Well, no need to go to Hollywood because Hollywood — and Jackman – could come to you. 

Wolverine slashes through TV, in 60-second bits

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Hugh Jackman will host the Oscars on Feb. 22, but before he dons a tuxedo for that job, the multi-talented actor will hit television screens as comic book favorite Wolverine.hugh-jackman

Jackman will star on the Fox channel in a series of three, 60-second spots that together form a storyline tied to the movie “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” Fox said on Thursday. The movie comes out on May 1.

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