The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #3 Kevin Feige

Kevin Feige is Marvel’s 21st century boy. He began his comic book movie career as associate producer of X-Men in 2000, and moved on to become co-producer of X2 in 2003 and executive producer of X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006, working with the likes of #19 Ralph Winter, #16 Lauren Shuler Donner, and #9 Bryan Singer. By this time, Feige had also worked in some sort of production capacity on eight other Marvel films, including Daredevil, Elektra, Hulk, Spider-Man 2, The Punisher, Blade: Trinity, Man-Thing, and Fantastic Four. In 2007, Feige was named President of Production at Marvel Studios. He continued to serve as executive producer of more Marvel properties that year, including Spider-Man 3 (made with #11 Sam Raimi at the helm) and 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (working again with Ralph Winter). In 2008, he produced the enormously successful Iron Man and the also popular The Incredible Hulk (with the contributions of star writer #12 Zak Penn and famed producer #21 Gale Anne Hurd.) With the success of these two films, things look good for the future of Feige and Marvel Studios. Marvel’s relatively new comic book movie production studio has several ambitious new projects in the works, as does Feige himself. He is serving as executive producer of the soon to be released Punisher: War Zone, and will be an executive producer, with #22 Micahel De Luca, of a planned 2009 release of The Hands of Shang-Chi, based on the Marvel character of the same name. Feige will return to the X-Men franchise, accompanied by Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, with their production of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, scheduled for release on May 1, 2009.

Influence Meter: ++++++++++

The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #12 Zak Penn

Zak PennZak Penn started his writing career in the early 1990s with such films as The Last Action Hero and PCU. In 1997, Universal Studios, working at the time with #21 Gale Anne Hurd, hired Penn to rewrite an early draft of a script for Hulk written by John Turman, featuring a fight scene involving the Hulk and a school of sharks.  Although a different script was ultimately used, Penn soon graduated to writing the story for 2003’s X2, produced by #16 Lauren Shuler Donner and #19 Ralph WinterAfter this success, he was hired to write four projects over the next three years; Elektra (after executive producer #14 Mark Steven Johnson‘s early draft script, based on #7 Frank Miller‘s titular character), the Fantastic Four video game, X-Men: The Official Game (for which he wrote the screenplay and story), and X-Men: The Last Stand.  He wrote the story and the first three drafts of the script for The Incredible Hulk, released on June 13, 2008, starring star and co-writer Edward Norton and Liv Tyler. Zak Penn is currently engaged as the writer for the upcoming Marvel films The Avengers and The First Avenger: Captain America, both scheduled for release in 2011.

Influence Meter: +++++

The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #16 Lauren Shuler Donner

Lauren Shuler DonnerIt has been said that behind every great man stands a great woman. Be that as it may, it is certainly the case that behind every X-Man stands Lauren Shuler Donner.  She has (with the assistance of #19 Ralph Winter) brought Marvel Comics’ X-Men to the forefront of American pop culture with her productions of X-Men, X2, and X-Men: The Last Stand. Capitalizing on the success of this franchise, she is currently producing X-Men Origins: Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman, scheduled for release on May 1, 2009. She has also been announced as a producer for X-Men Origins: Magneto, based on a screenplay most recently written by #5 David S. Goyer, also scheduled for release in 2009. Ms. Shuler Donner was instrumental in bringing the main character from Hellblazer (published by DC’s Vertigo imprint) to the screen in her production of Constantine (with producers #8 Benjamin Melniker and #5 Michael E. Uslan and executive producer #15 Gilbert Adler). She remains attached to the possibility of producing a sequel to the film, also with Adler and Melniker, but according to, possibilities are waning. reports an announcement that Shuler Donner will also be producing an adaptation of DC Comics’ Metal Men, but no release date has been revealed.

Influence Meter: ++++

The 25 Most Influential People in Comic Book Movies: #19 Ralph Winter

Ralph WinterRalph Winter helped forge the cinematic identity of the Fantastic Four and was instrumental in implementing the X-Men film franchise (along with #16 Lauren Shuler Donner).  Beginning in 2000, he produced X-Men, X2, Fantastic Four, X-Men: The Last Stand, and 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Several sources have announced that he is also producing the X-Men spin-off X-Men Origins: Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman, to be released May 1, 2009.

Influence Meter: ++++


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