Robot 6

Marvels’ general counsel on state of the business, movies and recent price increases



John Turitzin, Marvel’s general counsel and EVP of the executive office, presented at the Cowen & Company 37th Annual Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in New York earlier this week. You can find a link to his presentation, which includes audio and his slides, here (it was at 1:05 p.m. in Holmes 2).

During the presentation, he gave an overview of Marvel — which he called a “cash machine” — and the various ways it makes money, from publishing and licensing to the more recently added Marvel Studios division. One of the more interesting portions that’s probably most relevant to those of us who buy comics came when a comic fan in the audience asked about the recent cost increase on some of Marvel’s titles. You can hear it after the formal presentation ends in the link above.

Note: the person who asked the question and posted about it asked me to remove the reference to his now-deleted write-up, which I have.

A few of the other tidbits I thought were interesting include:

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios

–He talked about the Marvel Studios offices in Manhattan Beach being so close to the production facilities where Iron Man II, and eventually Thor and Captain America, will be shot. They’re all within 100 yards of each other, and that makes it easier for the studio to make sure everything’s shooting on schedule and so they can monitor the quality.
–He referred to the upcoming Avengers movie, which will feature Iron Man, Captain America Hulk and Thor, as an “ensemble buddy movie,” which I thought was kind of funny.
–During the Q&A portion, someone asked if Avengers is the only movie they have planned for 2012. He said their goal is to have two movies out each year, and they’re looking right now at potential concepts for a second movie for 2012.
–Someone also asked how they balance out release dates with their own films and the films that are licensed to other studios, noting that 2011 has Spider-Man on May 6, Thor on May 20 and Captain America on July 22. He said the risk that Thor might cannibalize ticket sales for Spider-Man after a couple of weeks of release was outweighed by the marketing benefits of having them released so close together. Considering how fast movies come and go in the summer now, I doubt it’s an issue … hell, Wolverine feels like it came out an eternity ago. Is it out on DVD yet?
–Someone asked about Fantastic Four, and if Fox was going to reboot the franchise or let Marvel take it back. He said they haven’t talked with Fox about FF specifically, but he did note that after the success of Iron Man, studios see the potential in Marvel properties outside of the bigger franchises. You might remember when Marvel first announced they were doing their own movies, they received some skepticism around it because some felt they didn’t have any characters left that had the name recognition of Spider-Man or the X-Men. He said Iron Man showed what could be done with a lesser-known character.



A disturbing trend going on here. Marvel’s ‘pubishing’ division. When I think of Marvel I don’t think of movies. That’s just old-fashioned me. It boggles me how movie ticket prices still go up and people still go see them, again, that’s just me. But it seems like the source material is being put on the back burner in terms of priority. I don’t care much for films in general, but then again, that’s just me. I’m saddened by that.

I guess Marvel will be ceding sales to Demonoid and Isohunt afterall. THANKS MARVEL!

As the current Wall Street-caused Economic Recession shows, Business school graduates from the Ivy League ARE NOT the smartest persons in the room. Quite the Opposite.

“As the economy worsens, we want to see how hard we can milk these retards before they figure out they’re paying extra money for nothing. They’re losing money they need to us, who don’t need it, but hey…more money for us.”

Bunch of fucking weasels. People should be out with pitchforks and torches at that kind of irresponsible horseshit.

“We got your money, and now we’ll get your kids college money, too.”

Jonathan D. Gordon

May 29, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Can I suggest that you should have read further in the thread that you lifted almost the entirety of your article from. You would have noticed that the gentlemen who wrote the post asked for it not to be further published on CBR or Newsarama. I know what you did is legal and everything on the Web is fair game. But it wasn’t right. With a little investigative journalism I.E. listening to the link you provided above and reporting your own take on it , you could have reached the same end result without putting someone else out there.

Andrew Collins

May 29, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Well, I’m doing my part by staying away from the $3.99 books altogether. The new Deadpool mini looked interesting until I saw the cover price. I may pick it up in trade if the trade price isn’t too bad…

Short version of the removed bit: They openly think that comic fans are so addicted there is absolutely no possibility of enough people dropping the comics at $4 to lose them money on it. As a result, they’re pushing it and pushing it to see where the limit is, and will only reconsider if sales drop enough that they’re making less money per issue.

So, get ready for $5 comics, ’cause here they come…

Just had a listen and it seems strange that he says the price rise is to maximise profit, no mention of rising costs as we’ve been told by other parts of Marvel. I hope this gets picked up more by the comic press.

Jonathan D. Gordon–

Tough. If you put something out in public, everybody else has a right to quote it. Whether it is hard news or just fluff, it’s reportable.

“Oh, I said this, but I don’t want anyone to know it. Please help me cover up the truth.”

Equine manure.

Didn’t Quesada comment on the Price increase and invoke the economy a month or two ago?? I’d like to see Comic Book Resources to follow up on this in an article and call Quesada on his male-cow-manure.

“Short version of the removed bit: They openly think that comic fans are so addicted there is absolutely no possibility of enough people dropping the comics at $4 to lose them money on it. As a result, they’re pushing it and pushing it to see where the limit is, and will only reconsider if sales drop enough that they’re making less money per issue.

So, get ready for $5 comics, ’cause here they come…”

Hmm. Can someone please post a link to the actual source so we have it for all to see? Because, while this is very practical business sense, it’s also very mercenery of them. I know Marvel is a business and has to look after itself, but really, isn’t there some sort of fair obligation not to manipulate and milk their consumers?

Well, I for one refuse to buy any 3.99 books until the ENTIRE industry is priced higher than that.

the freaky tiki

May 31, 2009 at 4:33 am


It’s already posted in the initial post. it’s the audio clip.

Sales of individual titles may be inelastic, but I think people are being driven away from the hobby as a whole by these high prices (particularly people who aren’t already interested in it, hence limiting the scope for growth). Particularly at Marvel, you see the highest prices (without compensatory extra value) on the books which are supposedly “important” to the entire line and you wonder how you’d be able to keep up with any of them given how interconnected they have all become of late.

Certainly, despite having (due to my own personal insanity) bought every single Ultimate Marvel book up to this point, I can’t see myself paying $3.99 (or rather my currency-converted equivalent) per 22-page issue of the new Ultimate Comics line. At least, I suppose, they’ve given me a helpful drop-off point by ending all the titles and starting new ones in their place. I’m just not sure how they’re going to make up for this, which previously non-existant readers would be drawn in by an increasingly irrelevant-looking relaunch of a stale line with the same writers that started it. I don’t think this is a good time for relaunches in general (although honestly if they hadn’t pushed me over the tipping point with the price hike I would have continued feeding my neurosis).

My standing order has halved over the past year, not because of any change in personal circumstance but because I don’t feel like I’m getting good value for what I’m buying a lot of the time. I always felt like $2.99 an issue was too much for what is essentially a small (not even A4 size!) pamphlet but this just takes the biscuit. It’s getting to the point where only the well off can afford to indulge in what was once a poor man’s hobby…

I totally agree with you Tom Daylight.

I want Comic Book Resources to address the blatant lies of Joe Quesada concerning the price increases.

I suspect a major contraction in the Comic Book market in the very near future.

I wouldn’t make it so personal, Jonah. Joe Quesada works on the editorial side, he isn’t invested in the number-crunching (as you can see from the fishy renumbering of Incredible Hulk) so even if what you say is true it may be that he is simply misinformed rather than lying…

the freaky tiki:

For some reason, it seems like you have to have some sort of login to access it….

And if anyone wants others to know about this I’d suggest talking about it because I doubt any comics news sites will really pursue it, since it could affect their good standing with Marvel.

Considering all the hemming and hawing that Quesada did when asked to address the price increases HE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT WAS HAPPENING

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