Disney’s $4 Billion Marvel Buy

Disney’s decision to buy Marvel (i.e., hundreds upon hundreds of Marvel-created characters and storylines) for $4 billion is such glorious news that I can’t stand it. The identity of the corporate entity that will henceforth be free to exploit the Marvel elements is a huge thing for me personally. Well, not really, but I’m sure it’s a big deal for millions of Marvel fans worldwide. Okay, maybe not.

The only angle of any interest is whether or not this will serve to bland down the Marvel brand and take things in a kind of corporate Mickey Mouse direction. Wouldn’t this give Disney the force to veto any edge-pushing content from future Marvel character and creations? What’s the last genuinely cool and edgy film to come out of Disney culture? Would Iron Man have been the same film if Disney had been pulling the strings?

Transferring ownership of a major brand from corporate entity A to corporate entity B is a meaningless thing. All 21st Century entertainment corporations are invested in selling the same basic heroin. And make no mistake — Marvel mythology is in the business of pushing opiates to the masses. No clear light can come of this, and I will not go “hoo! hoo!” about this deal like all the other fansite monkeys out there. I will not wave and shout as Jack Hawkins‘ Quintus Arrius walks up the steps to greet George Relph‘s Tiberius Ceasar.

140 thoughts on “Disney’s $4 Billion Marvel Buy

  1. Could be alright if they let Pixar make films with Marvel characters. Then you might finally get that Fantastic Four film in the style of The Incredibles.

    Marvel bore me though. This “Ultimate Avengers” film they’re gearing up to do is going to be an epic clusterfuck. Why bother establishing a universe for the likes of Iron Man if you’re just going to stick a Norse God in there with him? It the same reason that Batman and Superman wouldn’t work on film together. If in real life there was an alien superhero who could fly around and shoot laser-beams from his eyes, why would anyone give a flying fuck about a normal bloke who dresses up like a bat and ties up criminals?

    This is why Nolan’s films are so good. They set Batman within the context of a semi-realistic world, so his exploits are truly “super”.

    Marvel on the other hand seem to want to smash all their superheroes in together and exhaust their back catalogue as quickly as possible.

  2. if Disney is smart, they’ll know not to fuck around with Marvel’s business strategy and leave Marvel’s creative side alone. Obviously, Disney did this for MONEY.

    with Disney’s money, they could help Marvel lure in huge A-list stars to act in Marvel’s movie projects with a promise of a bigger paycheck.

    Somehow, I really hope that Disney won’t try to create a Marvel comic cartoon (or live action) show for Disney channel.

    Then we are fucked.

  3. I had a similar intial reaction – good for Disney, bad for Marvel. Mickey Mouse has not been allowed to exist as a character in decades. He’s an icon, a logo – safe from and impervious to the demands of personality. He’s sterile.

    Look at something like the CIvil War series Marvel just did. Would that have made The Mouse nervous?

    Also, hasn’t Marvel already made its big deals with other studios? How long before Disney can get its hands on Spider Man, say?

  4. Am I the only one that thinks this deal is driven, in large part, on getting Marvel-themed attractions for Disney theme parks?

  5. “Wouldn’t this give Disney the force to veto any edge-pushing content from future Marvel character and creations? What’s the last genuinely cool and edgy film to come out of Disney culture?”

    Not that they’re particulary “edgy,” but I’d argue that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are a lot more interesting than the cookie-cutter Marvel output of the last decade.

  6. “Wouldn’t this give Disney the force to veto any edge-pushing content from future Marvel character and creations? What’s the last genuinely cool and edgy film to come out of Disney culture?”

    In all fairness, despite some gnashing of teeth at the time, but I don’t think that Disney corporate parentage or corporate values had much of an effect on what Miramax was doing in the 90s (with a few notable exceptions — Priest, Dogma, Kids). Sure, Miramax devolved after it was purchased, but that was because of the Weinstein’s desire to be moguls, not Disney interference.

  7. @Bosh: The Pirates of the Carribean movies are interesting only for trying to decide who delivers the worst line readings, Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightley

  8. TL that was the first thing I thought of when I read this. Can you imagine Iron Man/Spider Man, side by side with Mickey mouse at disneyworld? And let’s not stop there! Disney has food products in the supermarkets. Soon there will be Iron Man ice cream, Spider Man sausages, Hulk hot dogs! They are going to make a pile of money.

  9. I dunno about all the concern here.
    I know they’re not as edgy as Marvel but did The Muppets really go to hell when Disney purchased them?

    I mean, all due respect Movie Watcher – but what are your real concerns? There isn’t already cheesy comic book merchandise? Have you been to Toys R Us to hit the Spider-Man section? Played one of the sucky video games they churn out?

    People talk about Marvel as if it’s a few edgy, bohemian artists sitting around a table and not a mega-corporation in its own right – one worth about $4B, apparently. The fucked up Spider-Man 3 all on their own.

    It’s a bit like being worried that Dr. Pepper owns Snapple, if you ask me.

  10. Pirates of Sunset Hills meets the Hulk…
    must see….”Sound Good” fellow Eloi…..
    …………………..”YES SIR” says Joe Lunchbucket..
    more watered down drivel from the mouse who
    roared. We miss you Walt.

  11. DavidF, the whole thing amuses me. The sheer amount of money to be made is staggering. A Marvel/Disney movie comes out, all the mrechandising hits the stores and of course the paretnts buy the stuff. I was commenting on how the ability to make money, for Disney and the Marvel people, is the number one concern and the ways to expand that is amazing. Maybe DIsney will not interfer too much when a Marvel movie is made. That’s all I meant.

  12. “Would Iron Man have been the same film if Disney had been pulling the strings?”

    Not unless you consider The Rock edgier than Robert Downey Jr.

  13. Am I the only one who’s first question was “how does this effect the current deals with other studios in regards to the characters?” The Financial Times article does not address this elephant in the room: just what is Disney buying here?

    I can’t imagine that Fox, Sony, Paramount and Universal did not lock up most merchandising rights for the foreseeable future when it came to the X-Men, Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Hulk, etc. In fact, IRCC usually there is a revenue sharing agreement for new products offering the comic version of the character simply because the film version is assumed to help drive those sales.

    As has been commented upon for years now, all the high profile, instant-hit characters have been snapped up; what Disney is getting is the 2nd and 3rd tier ones.

    So, again: what did Disney buy?

  14. @DeathTongue: From ComingSoon:

    “UPDATE #1: In a conference call, the companies said that the deals for movies for characters at other studios (Spider-Man, X-Men, etc.) will stay in place under the terms set by Marvel and the other studios.

    UPDATE #2: John Lasseter met with Marvel last week about a possible team-up between Marvel and Pixar and got “pretty excited, pretty fast.” They say there’s definitely an opportunity there.

    UPDATE #3: The deal with Paramount Pictures to distribute “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “Captain America” and “The Avengers” stays in place as well, but Disney would like to self-distribute down the line. “When the time comes we’ll take a closer look at it.” It was actually stated that the deal still included five films, so that is one more film after “The Avengers.”"

    http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=58547

  15. @Redmond:

    So, in other words, this is really great news for my grandchildren, who will be able to enjoy those new Disney Marvel movies.

    Provided, of course, that John Lesseter’s sons decide to work at Pixar…

  16. I think this is a long term deal for Disney. I mean, how long until the characters are even available for the theme parks? And it sounds like 6 or 7 years at least until Disney can produce their own Avengers or Spidey films with Marvel. Maybe we get a Power Pack movie or Dum Dum Dugan television show out of this in the meantime.

  17. Disney may be talking all nice-nice now, but before the ink is dry on the Marvel deal, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will have it’s lawyers working on overdrive to figure out a way to reel those characters and deals back in. For evidence, just check out what happened with the Muppets after Jim Henson died.

    Even if the current distribution deals stay in place, I imagine Disney will receive royalties of some sort.

    The biggest reason they are doing this, of course, is to get their hands on the characters. While Universal probably has exclusive rights to use Marvel characters in theme parks in the Orlando area, you’ll probably see them popping up at Disney’s California Adventure in short order.

    And according to the various stories I’ve read, Marvel has over 5000 characters. The movies have only scratched the surface of those. Unless they’re tied up in the various licensing deals, there are lots of characters waiting to be exploited, even relatively heavy hitters like Sub-Mariner.

    It will be fascinating, though, to see how the Islands of Adventure thing plays out. In the last month, Disney has entered into deals with both Spielberg and Marvel. Maybe a play for Universal’s theme parks, or even the company itself, is in the future.

  18. I’ve gotta echo Moviewatcher’s comments — this is ALL ABOUT THE MERCHANDISING!

    Every account of this lists “Marvel’s 5000 characters”. That’s 5000 characters you can create T-shirts, action figures, mugs, computer games, etc.

    Marvel has been pretty hapless at merchandising beyond the ghetto of fan-boy Comic Book Shops. Disney will be busting this stuff out of the zillions of mall-based Disney Stores at a HUGE profit margin.

    As a fan of a lot of the classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko created characters, I hope that Disney will keep a “hands off” approach to Marvel, much as they did for Pixar.

    My fondest hope is that we’ll get John Lassetter and Brad Bird from Pixar involved in some Marvel characters because let’s be honest, The Incredibles REALLY wanted to be the Fantastic Four. It’s a shame that both Fantastic Four movies together are about 1/5 as good as The Incredibles.

  19. One idea that needs to be shot in the head: Pixar doing Marvel.

    Uh, yeah. Pixar is gong to get right on those Marvel movies.

    Just like they immediately started working on those Mickey Mouse shorts a couple of years ago when Disney bought Pixar.

  20. Let’s remember when speaking of those 50000 characters that can be sold on t-shirts and mugs that of the 50000, about 49750 are characters no one who doesn’t live in a basement has heard of, and of those, about 45000 of them are utterly retarded in concept.

  21. “49750 are characters no one who doesn’t live in a basement has heard of”

    Yes, but that was under the Marvel marketing banner. They haven’t been through the Disney machine yet.

    Remember, most folks hadn’t heard of Iron Man until a couple years ago. Now the sequel is poised for the biggest opening weekend ever.

  22. “I know they’re not as edgy as Marvel but did The Muppets really go to hell when Disney purchased them?”

    Are you suggesting that the answer to your question is not an obvious yes? The only way it isn’t is if you say that the Muppets had already gone to hell before Disney bought them (from somebody else who had bought them), to which I’d say, okay, fair enough, but Disney didn’t improve them at all. They just wanted the characters.

  23. “Let’s remember when speaking of those 50000 characters that can be sold on t-shirts and mugs that of the 50000, about 49750 are characters no one who doesn’t live in a basement has heard of, and of those, about 45000 of them are utterly retarded in concept.”

    One thing I love about the Internet — people who blanketly insult those who know about some given thing, but simultaneously try to present themselves as if they know about the given thing, and see no contradiction in their own statement.

  24. Gordon27, don’t forget that Disney actually bought the Muppets twice. The first time, Disney made the deal with Jim Henson, who died soon thereafter. They started to produce theme park rides, merchandising and movies, including Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island.

    If I recall correctly, Disney had a falling out with the Henson family, especially over Disney’s attempts to grab the rights to the Sesame Street Muppets. Ultimately, Disney sold the rights to the Muppets to a German company, which horribly mismanaged them. Disney then repurchased the rights from the German company for a fraction of what they had paid originally.

    I don’t think Disney has done much with the Muppets since, although you hear rumors from time to time. I think the Muppets actually did go to hell while the German company owned their rights, although their popularity was definitely on a downward slide when Disney was involved the first time.

  25. “One thing I love about the Internet — people who blanketly insult those who know about some given thing, but simultaneously try to present themselves as if they know about the given thing, and see no contradiction in their own statement.”

    Gee, didn’t occur to you that by professing my knowledge of such things that I might be including myself in that group? That maybe it’s not a contrdiction? Nah.

    Good job at exemplifying the very type of person you were complaining about though. Well done.

  26. mpneeb

    “Uh, yeah. Pixar is gong to get right on those Marvel movies.

    Just like they immediately started working on those Mickey Mouse shorts a couple of years ago when Disney bought Pixar.”

    The difference is, Pixar is staffed damn-near top to bottom by hardcore geeks who “came up” in Marvel’s heyday.

    You can take it to the bank that John Lassetter has already had to tell his people to “cool it” with the hundreds upon hundreds of Marvel pitches already. The words “Does anyone have the rights on ‘Moon Knight” or “What about Devil Dinosaur?” have almost-certainly already been spoken, perhaps two or three times.

  27. Your eyes are full of hate, forty-one. That’s good. Hate keeps a man alive. It gives him strength…

    Now it’s clobberin’ time!

  28. During my lifetime, Disney has been responsible for “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Lion King”, and many of the Pixar films, in which they haven’t interfered at all with quality level.

    Marvel, on the other hand, has been responsible for providing entertainment to the dorky kids who thought they were ten times smarter than they actually are. They weren’t nerds, who tend to actually be intelligent – they’re just bourgeois geeks of detestable taste.

    And yes, I am one of the people who’d never even HEARD of “Iron Man” until I saw the film trailer. It was alright as comic book movies go, but Christ, people.

  29. The only angle of any interest is whether or not this will serve to bland down the Marvel brand

    “Will Coca-Cola’s purchase of water bottler result in blander mineral water?”

  30. Besides the high price point, this makes a ton of sense for Disney. Disney has a lock on the little kid market (under 8 years old), and does very well with the pre-teen up to young teenage girl market with Hannah Montana, High School Musical, etc.

    The gaping hole that was developing in the Disney strategy was with over 8 year old boys. Movies like Pirates of the Caribbean are an attempt to fill that gap, but it wasn’t enough. By buying Marvel, Disney now has filled the gap and can introduce “edgier”, older kid and teenage rides and films into its brands.

    My thinking is they will establish a whole new theme park with a separate ticket for these characters to live in that will have more teen oriented rides (a la Island of Adventure but much bigger).

  31. “Gee, didn’t occur to you that by professing my knowledge of such things that I might be including myself in that group?”

    No, it hadn’t occurred to me that somebody would be calling himself a loser, especially given that your point was that nobody should care about the losers’s opinions on stuff. If you don’t understand why that still is contradictory, well, I guess nobody said you were a smart person.

  32. “Gordon27, don’t forget that Disney actually bought the Muppets twice. The first time, Disney made the deal with Jim Henson, who died soon thereafter. They started to produce theme park rides, merchandising and movies, including Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island.”

    To be honest, I had forgotten that; I was thinking of it as the Germans selling it to Disney, and the Germans had mainly killed it, but Disney let it fester…

    That said, it’s a sad sign of the state of the property that you seem to be saying that ‘Christmas Carol’ and ‘Treasure Island’ aren’t the beginning of what I will, for lack of a better phrase, call the Muppet Dark Ages.

  33. ErrantElan, you may be right in saying the Pixar films were produced without creative interference, but when all or most of the conventionally animated films after LITTLE MERMAID and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST had “wacky” sidekicks and “plucky” heroines in the story, you don’t think that represents a mandate from Team Rodent?

    FTR, I have no illusions about what Marvel represents today (if this were 30 or 40 years ago, maybe), I just don’t like the fact of Team Rodent owning yet another property.

    And aside from The Muppets, which they haven’t done much with, they also owned Rocky & Bullwinkle, and put them out on cassette in truncated format.

    Also FTR, I can’t take credit for Team Rodent – that’s the title of Carl Hiaasen’s book about Disney.

  34. “you don’t think that represents a mandate from Team Rodent?”

    I was thinking the same thing pretty much every time ‘Up’ cut to that fat kid.

  35. The fat kid in “Up” may be a Team Rodent interference, but that fat kid is also what most fans of Marvel look like, only 39 years older.

  36. Just to clarify the Disney/Muppet thing: Disney has bought the Muppets once, in 2004. Eisner tried to get them in ’89 and Henson was perfectly willing to sell — they cooperated on a few ventures (the MuppetVision ride at Disney-MGM, “Dinosaurs”, a “Muppets at Walt Disney World” TV special) and were planning a bunch of others, but then Henson died and Disney became less enthusiastic. They tried some strong-arm tactics to make the deal more attractive from their point of view, and the Henson family ended the negotiations. They kissed and made up (after a lawsuit) and Disney bankrolled and distributed the ’90s Muppet films, but the Henson Company stayed independent until they sold out to the Germans (EM.TV) in 2000. Jim Hill did a long series about the history of the aborted ’89 deal (part eight explains why it fell through, part nine is what happened next).

  37. Oh, and Disney never owned Rocky and Bullwinkle, they just had the video distribution rights. MCA/Universal outbid them for the theme park/merchandising rights and Disney decided to let the distribution deal lapse. Part nine of the Jim Hill series explains how that went down.

  38. Thanks for the clarification Bob. I had is about half right.

    And as to the “Muppet Dark Ages,” quality issues aside (although I’d argue Muppet Christmas Carol is quite good), my point was that when they had their original dalliance with the Muppets, Disney did try to lavish them with the Disney marketing treatment. You’ll see the same with the Marvel characters.

  39. You guys and girls should try a Disney Comic made by Carl Barks or Don Rosa. They are all better and more mature than any Marvel Comic.

  40. I found a great dating site~_____WealthySeeker.com____~The best dating club for seeking the rich singles, sexy beauties and even hot celebs..
    what’s the most important is that you dont have to be a millionaire.but you can meet one.
    I think everyone need to meet some miracle after all the terrible stuff in the news and the economy .You should check it out!!!

  41. People talk about Marvel as if it’s a few edgy, bohemian artists sitting around a table and not a mega-corporation in its own right – one worth about $4B, apparently. The fucked up Spider-Man 3 all on their own.

  42. I’m actually cheerful to find this page. I want to thank you for this brilliant reading. If you can add Digg button to your web-site, it just might help you to reach extra persons on the internet. Kind regards

  43. At the moment, you’ll have a feeling of proud. The articles by China’s manufacturers are not only in a good quality, but also in a great many of quantity, and in a very lower price. For example, a same suit Made in China, might marked five to ten dollars that would cost one hundred dollars that made in Western countries. Many people couldn’t afford for it but Chinese goods are most popular now than ever before.The popularation of Chinese objcets is almost covered the market place all over the world, including the European and American markets.

  44. Your article very interesting, I have introduced a lot of friends look at this article, the content of the articles there will be a lot of attractive people to appreciate, I have to thank you such an article
    how identity theft

  45. Marvel bore me though. This “Ultimate Avengers” film they’re gearing up to do is going to be an epic clusterfuck. Why bother establishing a universe for the likes of Iron Man if you’re just going to stick a Norse God in there with him? It the same reason that Batman and Superman wouldn’t work on film together. If in real life there was an alien superhero who could fly around and shoot laser-beams from his eyes, why would anyone give a flying fuck about a normal bloke who dresses up like a bat and ties up criminals? best identity monitoring

  46. supply in stock and custom lace front wigs, full lace wigs, lace wigs, human hair wigs,
    remy lace front wigs, cheap wigs, cheap, buy, celebrity
    full lace wigs
    lace wigs
    lace wigs sale
    lace front wigs
    synthetic front lace wigs
    A Famous Dresses Shop which sell directly Wedding Dresses, Evening Dress, Bridesmaid Dresses,Prom dresses
    cheap wedding dresses
    cheap evening dresses
    cheap prom dresses
    cheap evening dresses
    cheap prom dresses
    Elegant evening dresses are always associated with the brides and their bridesmaids.Shopping for evening dresses and your wedding dress in stylish bridal ..

  47. No clear light can come of this, and I will not go “hoo! hoo!” about this deal like all the other fansite monkeys out there. I will not wave and shout as Jack Hawkins’ Quintus Arrius walks up the steps to greet George Relph’s Tiberius Ceasar.

    Designed for mountaineering, north face denali jacket is perfect for a wide range of outdoor north face outlet, including north face denali (but certainly not limited to) the north face outlet camping, kayaking, backpacking, northface outlet cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, fly fishing..the northface outlet.

  48. Popularity UGG classic short UGG boots brand ‘seems to have risen from ugg classic tall boots those who have been one of the best choices of the stars of Hollywood. This sheepskin boots super comfortable also made of the finest quality materials,uggs boots for sale so it obviously comes from high prices.Differential Styles short UGGs UGG Classic Short has a chronic BootsClassic quite famous. During World War macrocosm, UGG boots were obsessed individual pseudonym Fugger boots were also tired of waiting for the drivers to support your feet in the high-flying blanching. A large number of women prefer the classic short UGGs when it comes to the boots that they wear, ugg classic cardy boots on sale especially the classic short UGGs. This is not just for their aesthetic appeal but also for comfort and durability.

    These UGG Australia Classic rubber sole elliptical have also become prominent you can put the embroidery on the external aspect happy to boots. The main objective will be apt healthy polar fashion again to ugg roxy tall boots ensure that moisture can help the stranger and dry piece body temperature undocked.

    UGG Classic Short benefits of chocolate are one of the sheepskin boots quieter than just buy the rap by yourself. stable doesn’t really weigh ceremony takes into account connections to them as important juncture shoes that women wishing to conceive boots that ugg highkoo boots will relieve the fatigue character of its obligation to feet.Why for you choose these chocolate UGG classic short for absolute compliance yourself every time you have different types of UGG classic short Chocolate.Well, apart from their gallant design appears also protects your feet.

    UGG Classic Tall Boots are great for everyday wear. They have a smooth primary and Eve, and a simple design. for people looking for much additional protection boots, Ugg Ultras should choose. They have a non-slip rubber primary toes and ugg slippers women sale heels and reinforced. Ultra ugg boots certainly are a great alternative to boots with winter snow.

  49. I had bad feelings about this. Corporate buyouts are not necessarily a good thing. The acquired company often fails to live up to its former glory. Look at EDS today. It was taken over by GM and afterwards tanked. Vigrx Plus

  50. FLV Eidtor is an all-in-one flv editor converter which provides you a powerful editing and converting function. With it, you can trim video, crop video, effect video, join video, add watermark as well as the batch processing. Apart from this, you also can convert FLV to other general video format like AVI, MP4, MOV, MPEG, etc, as well as image sequence.
    FLV Ripper
    FLV Capture
    FLV splitter
    FLV Joiner

  51. This is why Nolan’s films are so good. They set Batman within the context of a semi-realistic world, so his exploits are truly “super”.Hermes bag. When more and more wallets replicapeople got to know about this little wholesale replica handbags secret, pictures of the actress hiding her pregnancy with her handbag cheap designer handbagswere spread all over the world. The bag then became so famous that it started to be known designer replica handbags as the “Kelly Bag”.

  52. vous obtiendrez sans frais un SMS renfermant votre numero RIO (releve identite operateur) ainsi que votre date de fin d’engagement d’abonnement aussi bien pour Orange, SFR ou bouygues. Donc vous serez capable de changer de fournisseur mobile au plus vite! rio orange rio bouygues rio sfr rio orange rio orange rio bouygues rio orange numero rio numero rio recevoir facilement votrerio sfr, votre rio sfr ou bien tout autre code rio pour votre portabilite mobile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>