Get ready for Wolvie/Mickey
The big news of the day is the $4B purchase of Marvel Entertainment by Disney. Given that Marvel Comics has come so far in the past ten years in furthering its characters into a cohesive sophisticated universe the likes of which have not been seen since 1965 or so compounded by the unparalleled success of movies such as Iron Man in the box office this news must seem flattering to Marvel execs but doom-laden for readers. I for one do not enjoy the Disney brand and while I’m not the type to boycott something on account of corporate ownership…. this comes close.
Fans all over the world must have nightmarish visions of a cutesy X-Men and such but the flipside is that Marvel Comics will finally have access to resources that they have never had before… so the animated film projects may improve in quality and expect mots more on TV. Of the two, I think Disney actually stands to profit the most here. I don’t mean to sound naive, but with the Disney cartoon characters looking a bit long in the tooth and ripe for public domain ownership this purchase could provide the much-needed shot in the arm the company needs. Marvel Comics will finally be able to rest securely in the knowledge that they will not go under as they had many years back when the investment bubble burst.
From the announcement it sounds like Disney is looking to gain the acceptance of a key demographic that they have no pull with by purchasing Marvel rather than perverting the comic book characters into something that they are not. Anything Disney did to upset the fans of Marvel that have supported the comic book characters over the years would taint the personality of Marvel and also stand against the very reason that Disney purchased the company in the first place.
Additionally, Disney has just the right amount of financial clout to pull all the various Marvel movie properties under one umbrella making crossovers a possibility for the first time, so this could be a dream come true in many ways.
So long as Disney keeps out of the creative content of Marvel Comics this should be nothing but good news, right?… right?
Pow! Disney captures Spider-Man, Iron Man and other Marvel characters in $4 billion deal
By Ryan Nakashima, AP Business Writer
On Monday August 31, 2009, 7:06 pm EDT
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. is punching its way into the universe of superheroes and their male fans with a deal announced Monday to acquire Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion, bringing characters such as Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse and “Toy Story.”
The surprise cash-and-stock deal sent Spidey senses tingling in the comic book world. It could lead to new rides, movies, action figures and other outlets for Marvel’s 5,000 characters, although Marvel already was aggressively licensing its properties for such uses.
The deal won’t have benefits right away, and Disney stock sank on the news. Disney expects a short-term profit hit, and Marvel characters from X-Men to Daredevil are locked up in deals with other movie studios and theme parks. But Disney’s CEO, Robert Iger, promised an action-packed future.
“`Sparks will fly’ is the expression that comes to mind,” Iger told analysts.
Stan Lee, the 86-year-old co-creator of “Spider-Man” and many more of Marvel’s most famous characters, said he was thrilled to be informed of the marriage Monday morning.
“I love both companies,” he said. “From every point of view, this is a great match.”
The deal is expected to close by the end of the year and marks Disney’s biggest acquisition since it purchased Pixar Animation Studios Inc., the maker of “Up” and “Cars,” for $7.4 billion in stock in 2006.
Marvel would follow another storied comic book publisher into the arms of a media conglomerate. DC Comics, the home of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, was bought by Warner Bros. — now part of Time Warner Inc. — in 1969.
Buying Marvel is meant to improve Disney’s following among men and boys. Disney acknowledges it lost some of its footing with guys as it poured resources into female favorites such as “Hannah Montana” and the Jonas Brothers.
“Disney will have something guys grew up with and can experience with their kids, especially their sons,” said Gareb Shamus, whose company Wizard Entertainment Group runs several of the Comic-Con conventions around the nation.
Marvel TV shows already account for 20 hours per week of programming on Disney’s recently rebranded, boy-focused cable network, Disney XD, and that looks likely to increase, Iger said. The shows are “right in the wheelhouse for boys,” he said.
There will be some lag before Marvel’s trove of characters are fully developed at Disney, because of licensing deals Marvel has with other studios.
For example, Sony Corp.’s Columbia Pictures is developing the next three “Spider-Man” sequels, starting with “Spider-Man 4″ set for a May 2011 release. News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox has the long-term movie rights to the “X-Men,” “Fantastic Four,” “Silver Surfer” and “Daredevil” franchises.