Justin Bieber's manager is making comic-book movies

The team behind the new Mythos Studios comprises (from left) Scooter Braun, David Maisel and Scott Manson.
The team behind the new Mythos Studios comprises (from left) Scooter Braun, David Maisel and Scott Manson.PHOTO: NYTIMES

LOS ANGELES • Scooter Braun is not content with just managing the careers of singers Justin Beiber, Kanye West and Ariana Grande.

Over the years, he has also dabbled in the movie business, executive-producing several concert documentaries for Bieber, for example.

Now, the 36-year-old is plugging more deeply into film, partnering David Maisel, founding chairman of Marvel Studios, to form Mythos Studios.

The company aspires to make its own hit comic-book movie franchises in live-action and animated formats.

It is already on a sound footing - it owns a 50 per cent stake in Aspen Comics, brainchild of cult illustrator Michael Turner, who died in 2008.

Mythos is developing several projects, including adaptations of the Aspen comics, Soulfire and Fathom.

However, intellectual property aside, the new business is most likely to draw industry interest for its Avengers-like joining of executive forces.

While Braun has a reputation as a generational talent-spotter and social-media marketeer, Maisel, 55, was an early architect of Marvel's world-dominating plan to stop licensing its characters to Hollywood studios and instead self-finance its own movies, beginning with Iron Man in 2008.

After the company was sold to Disney for US$4 billion the following year, Maisel left.

He went on to develop and produce The Angry Birds Movie (2016) which, while scoffed at by critics, was a high-flier, earning US$350 million (S$458 million) worldwide.

The Mythos founders met over dinner about five years ago - they had a mutual friend in West - and remained in touch as Braun's SB Projects expanded its non-music division under chief operating officer Scott Manson.

As Maisel circled the Aspen Comics titles, Braun jumped at the chance to partner someone whose "main interest is doing the work", he said.

"You don't see David in all the social circles or at all the parties, but what you do see is a name associated with some of the most amazing properties out there," he said.

As part of the deal, Braun agreed to fund Mythos' development costs for multiple years through his holding company, Ithaca, while the venture considers moving forward independently, partnering an existing studio or working with a digital player such as Netflix or Amazon.

Braun will also provide a potential pipeline for talent (and soundtracks), with the obvious question being: Will Bieber end up as a superhero? Braun laughed.

"There will be synergies," he said.

"If any of the talent we work with wants to be a part of the projects we're doing, we welcome them to join us on this journey.

"I've already had conversations with certain talent that are very excited about being a part of this."

But the partners know not to get carried away, with Maisel acknowledging that it is "a crowded environment out there".

But he recalled being laughed at for attempting to revitalise Marvel with so-called "D-list characters".

"It's hard to think of it now, but at the time, even Iron Man... was thought of as a triathlon sporting event," he said. "What I've enjoyed doing in my career is to see opportunities that aren't obvious."

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2018, with the headline 'Justin Bieber's manager is making comic-book movies'. Print Edition | Subscribe