As rumors swirl regarding the potential Marvel Cinematic Universe debut of Man-Thing, fans might be surprised to know it won't be the character's first appearance. Before the popularity of the MCU, the rights of the character find themselves stationed at Lionsgate, which made an R-rated slasher flick using the Marvel horror icon. While it's not unheard of for modern day Marvel blockbusters to cost upwards of $250 million to produce, Lionsgate's Man-Thing flick had a microscopic budget in comparison.
Director Brett Leonard tells us the production got a measly $5 million to make the film.
"It was a very, very, very independent film done with an independent film company, that then, Lionsgate was part of it. And then, it was at a time when the Marvel thing was not as codified as it is now. That's for sure," Leonard says during our Man-Thing director's commentary. "To Avi Arad's credit, I had gone down to Australia because Russell Crow had gotten me down there after I'd made Virtuosity with him. And I really loved the place. I met a lot of filmmakers and the film culture there. And when I was talking with Scott Karol and Avi and Avi Arad about making this film, I said, 'Well, we should go make it in Australia,' And he said, 'Go ahead, go down there and make it.'"
Once Arad gave the go-ahead, Leonard and Karol hopped on a plane and headed to Australia to begin making the Marvel flick—at a fraction of the cost of any Marvel films of the time. In fact, Wesley Snipes' Blade was made for around $45 million seven years earlier.
"We were waiting for the money to hit to make the movie. It was very much like an independent film. It was not like a studio film. Marvel studios was just beginning at that time as a concept," the filmmaker adds. "And so this was, again, it was in this bridging moment, between the way in which Marvel films were made and how they're made now."
Man-Thing is now streaming on Tubi.
Where would you like to see the Marvel icon pop up next? Let us know your thoughts either in the comments section or by hitting our writer @AdamBarnhardt up on Twitter to chat all things Marvel!