Netflix Buys Comic Book Publisher Millarworld in Its First Acquisition
Millarworld will continue creating characters, movies and series under the Netflix brand.
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) acquired Millarworld, a comic book publisher founded by New York Times best-selling comic book writer and producer Mark Millar. Millar created popular characters and stories including Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Jupiter’s Legacy, Super Crooks and The Ultimates, some of which went on to become movies. Netflix and Millar will work together to bring character franchises to movies, series and kids’ programs, exclusively to Netflix. In addition, Millarworld will continue to create and publish new characters and stories under the Netflix brand. This is the first acquisition ever for the 20-year-old Netflix. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
“As creator and re-inventor of some of the most memorable stories and characters in recent history, ranging from Marvel’s The Avengers to Millarworld’s Kick-Ass, Kingsman, Wanted and Reborn franchises, Mark is as close as you can get to a modern day Stan Lee,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “We can’t wait to harness the creative power of Millarworld to Netflix and start a new era in global storytelling.”
“Mark has created a next-generation comics universe, full of indelible characters living in situations people around the world can identify easily with,” added Sarandos. “We look forward to creating new Netflix Originals from several existing franchises as well as new super-hero, anti-hero, fantasy, sci-fi and horror stories Mark and his team will continue to create and publish.”
Graphic novel and comics writer Millar operates Millarworld with his wife Lucy. Millar worked at Marvel for eight years where he developed comic books that inspired the first Avengers movie, Captain America: Civil War, Marvel’s biggest selling graphic novel ever, and Logan (Wolverine) which grossed a total of $3 billion in the box office worldwide. Millar’s 2002 comic book The Ultimates was named Time Magazine’s comic book of the decade. At DC Comics, Millar created Superman: The Red Son, the biggest selling Superman graphic novel in history.
In addition, Millarworld and Millar’s fellow creators have developed 18 published character worlds, including Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman which became Hollywood blockbusters, grossing nearly $1 billion in the box office. Kick-Ass and Kingsman are not part of the deal, reports Reuters.
“This is only the third time in history a major comic book company has been purchased at this level,” said Millar in a statement. “I’m so in love with what Netflix is doing and excited by their plans. Netflix is the future and Millarworld couldn’t have a better home.”
In its second quarter shareholder letter where Netflix revealed it now has 104 million members, Netflix expressed great pride in the quality of its content, and the fact that 27 Netflix original programs had received 91 Emmy nominations, including five of the 14 total nominated best series contenders – Stranger Things, The Crown, House of Cards, Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The company also expressed its non-traditional approach.
“We understand that our approach to films – debuting movies on Netflix first – is counter to Hollywood’s century-old windowing tradition. But just as we changed and reinvented the TV business by putting consumers first and making access to content more convenient, we believe internet TV can similarly reinvigorate the film business (as distinct from the theatrical business),” said Netflix.
Netflix’s acquisition of Millarworld will expand the streaming video company’s comic-book arsenal which currently includes Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist.
This is an exciting move for both companies. Netflix has a new source from which to draw for new, original programming in a popular genre. At the same time, Millar and his fellow creators at Millarworld will get exposure to Netflix’s huge membership base and financial support for continued creation and innovation. After 20 years, this might be the first of many future acquisitions for Netflix.