Want to find the world's next superhero? Look in China
Updated: 2013-08-29 11:04
By Eric Jou (China Daily)
Producer Avi Arad is looking to create a Chinese superhero. Zou Hong / China Daily
Puffing on a cigar and leaning back into his arm chair, 65-year-old Avi Arad looks less like a movie producer and more like a comic book fan.
Sporting a hat emblazoned with the Spider-Man crest and wearing a ring with the Punisher logo, he looks like a walking advertisement for Marvel comics - but Arad isn't in China promoting Marvel, he is in China hoping to create a Chinese Marvel for the world.
The Israeli-American businessman and movie producer has been a fixture in modern pop-culture for decades. Starting out in the toy business with ToyBiz in the early 1990s, he rose to become CEO of Marvel Comics' film studios, Marvel Studios. He is now head of his own production company, Arad Productions.
Arad says he has a deep connection with China and the Chinese people, citing Hong Kong toy mogul Francis Choi as a longtime friend and saying he has a connection with Seven Stars Media founder "Bruno" Wu Zeng.
Seeing China and its culture as a treasure trove of ideas, Arad is looking to bring about a shift in the way movies are consumed worldwide. Arad wants to export Chinese movies and Chinese culture to the world.
"I think Japan is probably the most successful exporter of IP (intellectual property) next to the United States but in a way they're more successful because they didn't change the essence (of the IP)," Arad says. "If you look at Pokemon, Ghost in the Shell, Gundam it can live in any culture.
"And I felt that the Chinese project not only can be a great super hero project but it can also be a great ambassador."