The Graphic Novel Cowboys & Aliens
Platinum Studios is a comic book entertainment company that controls one of world’s most extensive libraries of comic book characters in the world. This puts Platinum Studios in the unique position to develop films, video games, merchandise and other media around their famed comic book characters. One of the most notable success stories that Platinum Studios has been responsible for was the 2011 box office film Cowboys & Aliens. The movie was based on a graphic novel created by Platinum Studios’ Chairman and CEO Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.
Appearing 14 times on the New York Times Bestseller list, the Cowboys & Aliens graphic novel — created by Rosenberg when he was a kid — has now been produced into its first film grossing nearly 200 million dollars, not including TV and ancillary sales, the film stars Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.
The 2011 science fiction film directed by Jon Favreau revolves around an amnesiac outlaw (Craig), a wealthy cattleman (Ford), and a mysterious traveler (Wilde) who must ally to save a group of townspeople abducted by aliens. The screenplay was written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, based on a screen story by the latter two along with Steve Oedekerk. The film was produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Kurtzman, Orci and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, with Steven Spielberg and Favreau serving as executive producers.
Bringing Cowboys and Aliens to the Big Screen
The project began development in April 1997, when Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures bought film rights to a concept pitched by Scott Rosenberg, former president at Malibu Comics, which he described as a graphic novel in development. After the graphic novel was published in 2006, development on the film was begun again, and Favreau signed on as director in September 2009.
On a budget of $163 million, filming for Cowboys & Aliens began in June 2010, in New Mexico and California. Despite studio pressure to release the film in 3-D, Favreau chose to film in anamorphic format (widescreen picture on standard 35 mm film) to further a “classic movie feel”. Measures were taken to maintain a serious Western element despite the film’s “inherently comic” title and premise. The film’s aliens were designed to be “cool and captivating”, with some details, such as a fungus that grows on their wounds, created to depict the creatures as frontiersmen facing adversity in an unfamiliar place.
Cowboys & Aliens premiered at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con and was released theatrically in the United States and Canada on July 29, 2011. The film was considered to be a financial disappointment, taking $174.8 million in box office receipts on a $163 million budget. Cowboys & Aliens received mixed reviews, with critics generally praising its acting and production but criticizing its straight, non-ironic tone.
The Superhero Story of Platinum Studios
Scott Mitchell Rosenberg established Platinum Studios in 1997 following a successful, high-profile career as the founder of Malibu Comics. Malibu Comics was leading independent comic book company that he sold to Marvel Comics in 1994, then becoming the second highest ranking executive at Marvel. Malibu Comics has since been acquired by The Walt Disney Company.
During his time at Malibu Comics, Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s company broke every sales and marketing record known to independent comic publishing and was the first to launch an entire comic book publishing line via television advertising. They became the first line-wide digital comic publisher after innovatively adapting the Adobe Photoshop software for computer color production of comics. Scott Rosenberg and Malibu Comics have led many successful comic spin-offs into toys, television, and feature films, including signing the billion-dollar live action film and animated television phenomenon, “Men in Black”, with Sony Pictures, which has now generated over $1.6-billion in box office alone. Platinum Studios has been indirectly financed, in part, by royalties from the “Men in Black” franchise, including each of the “Men in Black” sequels and the multiple seasons of the animated series. “Men in Black” is the number one domestic grossing buddy comedy, and the number one sci-fi comedy, of all time.
As it stands today, Platinum Studios has released films and television programming with Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, MGM Television, Showtime, and Lionsgate, and has developed film or television with others, including Disney, Time-Warner’s New Line Films, 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Thus far, Platinum Studios, whose comic book rights library contains other international comic characters as well, is the only company to produce an English language live action dramatic TV series based on a French or Belgian comic book. All other productions have been animated or comedic programming. Jeremiah, a 35-hour story, told in its entirety, has been on Showtime, Syfy Channel and broadcast television, and aired worldwide. The $150 million dollar production of Cowboys & Aliens, also executive produced by Steven Spielberg is based on characters from Platinum’s library. Another film is “Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night” based on the 50 million selling comic book series, and looks to be a strong franchise as an Italian film series.
Platinum Studios regularly teams up with many other billion-dollar grossing film and television producers for both development and production including such storytellers as Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Shrek producer John Williams, and producers or story developers of major film or television productions such as “Transformers”, “Batman Begins”, “Superman Returns”, all the “Harry Potter” movies, Denis L. Stewart’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Star Trek”, and others. Platinum Studios continues to be the innovators and world class creators in the comic book film industry.