question of the day: Disney buys Marvel — what’s next?

The Walt Disney Company is about to hand over $4 billion to acquire Marvel Entertainment. Why? has the answer, straight from the Mouse’s mouth:

“This is perfect from a strategic perspective,” Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger told “This treasure trove of over 5,000 characters offers Disney the ability to do what we do best.”

On a conference call with investors, Iger said the deal will allow Disney to sell Marvel’s vast array of characters and properties across different media platforms and in many more markets. For instance, Iger said that Disney’s Pixar animation unit was excited about the opportunities that a Marvel acquisition could yield.

“Spider-Man will appear in ‘A Bug’s Life’ sequel,” joked Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente.

They kid… I hope. But I have nightmarish visions of things like X-Men Babies! — yes, with an exclamation point — Wolverine on Ice, and maybe a pink superhero princess.

What do you think? Disney buys Marvel — what’s next?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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Tue, Sep 01, 2009 9:17am

In regards to comic book films, considering they gave up on the Narnia series (it’s death mostly do to its crappy advertising), I don’t think this is a good thing for hardcore Marvel fans. Some are wondering if Thor, which was scheduled to begin filming in January, will now be axed (no pun intended). Besides, I’m trying to remember the last time Disney put out a strong film that wasn’t from Pixar.

Tue, Sep 01, 2009 9:56am

Well, there goes another edge…and one that really wasn’t even all that edgy. It’ll be rounded off even more.

Of course, given how badly Marvel has treated many of its artists, I can’t say I’m crying for them. I know two (whoops, scratch that, I just thought of a third!) artists personally who have had major battles with Marvel trying to get paid or get credit for their work and I’m not even in that industry. If that is my anecdata, I can’t begin to imagine how many others there really are.

C. David Dent
Tue, Sep 01, 2009 10:17am

Disney isn’t likely to do much in the way of artistic leverage with Marvel, Marvel was very successfully doing that already and they would never agree to any kind of a deal that might compromise that. But Marvels forays into television, video, movies, and Direct-to-video, internet distribution, electronic comics and such makes Disney the perfect partner. Disney knows distribution. These are the people who have made Mickey Mouse an internationally recognised character.

Marvel couldn’t tap into that distribution without being a part of the House of M-ouse and so that’s what they did. In exchange they let Disney make even more money marketing their characters. Sounds like a fantastic deal to me! Plus Marel knows how to make live-action superhero movies. And with a little work they could help Disney make live-action movies that will do as better than most of Disney live-action fare has of late (Pirates of the Caribbean films excepted).

It was a surprise, but the more I look at it it makes perfect sense for these two masters of their respective talents to merge.

Tue, Sep 01, 2009 10:22am

Next up: Death Row Records! The pairing of Snoop Dogg and Goofy will bring new, G-rated meaning to “doggie style!” Maybe they’ll throw Rowlf the Dog in there for good measure, since Disney owns the Muppets, too.

Tue, Sep 01, 2009 12:57pm

The fanbois will moan and complain about how Wolverine won’t be allowed to smoke or the inevitable Howard the Duck/ Donald Duck crossover, but this is good for both companies.

Disney gets a revenue stream into a part of the population they had lost, young to middle age males. They get merchandising rights to a bevy of well-known and successful Marvel characters with a built in fan base. Marvel had turned itself around financially in the past few years, so there is no need to make a lot of changes.

Marvel gets the backing and resources of one of the largest entertainment conglomerates in the world. They no longer have to go to Universal or Sony to distribute their films. All of that can now be done in-house. And while Marvel Studios has put out some good flicks recently, they were always one miss or two away from being in real trouble. Marvel always had to keep a close eye on the bottom line. That will no longer be the case. And as pointed out, nobody does product merchandising and distribution like Disney. Marvel will have a built in juggernaut.
And who isn’t salivating about a possible Pixar/Marvel partnership?

On the comics side, I don’t think Disney will meddle much with existing product. There may be a Disney line of comics produced at Marvel now, and with a deeper financial backing, Marvel may be able to take more chances with books, like DC Comics does with its Time/Warner backing.

Tue, Sep 01, 2009 2:35pm
Tue, Sep 01, 2009 3:23pm

Is anyone else really excited about the concept of a Marvel/Pixar movie? I was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing until I heard that quote, but the idea of an all-ages computer animated X-men or Fantastic Four movie by the creators of the Incredibles sounds really great to me.

Tue, Sep 01, 2009 4:44pm

. . . the idea of an all-ages computer animated X-men or Fantastic Four movie by the creators of the Incredibles sounds really great to me.

I think Fox still owns the moviemaking rights to both of these properties, so that won’t be happening soon. In fact, they’re talking about a “reboot” (I hate that word more and more) of FF already. Sigh.