Robot 6

The Mouse of Ideas: More on Disney’s purchase of Marvel

When Mickey met Wolverine

When Mickey met Wolverine

As you’ve heard from CBR, pretty much every news outlet in the world, and probably multiple emails from family members who know your hobbies, The Walt Disney Company is acquiring Marvel Entertainment in a $4 billion deal. The move, initiated by Disney CEO Bob Iger several months ago and formalized over the past couple of weeks, sees Marvel shareholders receiving $30 in cash, plus 0.745 of a Disney share, for every Marvel share they own. Marvel remains under the supervision of CEO Ike Perlmutter, who will work with Disney to integrate Marvel’s 5,000-character library and other intellectual properties into Disney’s multimedia empire.

Though the emergence of specific details is more like a trickle than the explosion that was the announcement itself, we’re starting to learn some of the key points, largely through Disney’s morning investor conference call.

The New York Times reports that Marvel’s production and distribution deals with Disney rivals Sony, Fox and Paramount for the Spider-Man, X-Men and Avengers-related film franchises remain in place. Kotaku notes that this is also true of Marvel’s video-game deals, though they’ll be re-evaluated as they expire. Disney CFO Tom Staggs tells Paid Content that Disney’s creative model for the Marvel acquisition is the purchase of Pixar and subsequent hands-off approach to the animation studio; he also noted that the success with Pirates of the Caribbean offers evidence that Disney can handle more male-oriented, action-heavy fare.

Speaking of Pixar, The Hollywood Reporter, uh, reports that Pixar CEO John Lasseter has already met with Marvel personnel; “Sparks will fly,” said Iger of the potential for collaboration. More on the deal can be found in sketched-out form in liveblogs of this morning’s conference call at The Wall Street Journal and The Comics Reporter.

Wall Street’s reaction? As of the writing of this sentence, Marvel’s stock is up about 26% today, while Disney’s is down around 3%. The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Corkery speculated that Disney may have paid too high a price in the deal given the nature of Marvel’s film and publishing wings as a “cyclical business” at the mercy of changing tastes and economic circumstances.

As you’d expect, this is the talk of the town for nerd-news commentators. Johanna Draper Carlson wonders about the future of comics publisher BOOM! Studios’ deal to produce comics starring The Muppets (another of Disney’s outside acquisitions) and Universal Studios’ Marvel-themed Islands of Adventure theme park attraction. Cinematical’s Elizabeth Rappe waxes melancholy over a Marvel future filled with “family friendly, mythology-be-damned, direct-to-DVD offerings,” though it seems worth noting the creative trajectories of Pixar and Pulp Fiction home Miramax while under the Disney umbrella. But some corporate marriages are less happy, at least from the outside perspective of fans, as Topless Robot’s Rob Bricken seems to be keeping in mind when he compares the deal to the rocky road DC seems to be traveling with its corporate parent Warner Bros. in terms of getting non-Batman superhero movies off the ground.

And they say August is a slow news time!

(Chris Mautner contributed to this report.)

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Comments

17 Comments

“he also noted that the success with Pirates of the Caribbean offers evidence that Disney can handle more male-oriented, action-heavy fare.”

Because those women folk HATED that Pirates movie and don’t read comics at all. Right. That’s not even what he said: ” they’ve really been broad in their appeal. ” You know, EVERYONE.

It would be nice to see a Pixar adaptation of just about any Marvel property. X-Men, Fantastic Four, Avengers – take your pick…

@iola -

Exactly….Disney is definitely going to need to learn the ACTUAL market, not the stereotypical one.

Gotta wonder what this means for BOOM! myself. This deal just did not happen overnight, was the BOOM! deal a contingency plan to get Disney and Disney/Pixar properties out there? Disney does not have the most attractive track record when it comes to publishing ventures. Also, what about Slave Labor Graphics? I am sure that in Disney’s mind, this is more a licensing money bonanza than a publishing deal, but even that leads to problems. The Pixar deal means one project at a time. That licensing opportunity has a certain lifecycle that can be planned out. Marvel should represent a continuous licensing stream, if they keep their properties vital. That is where there may be some friction down the line.

Slave Labor lost its Disney rights a while ago, as far as I know. I’m kind of having an unfounded hope that Gargoyles will be published in a new volume under Marvel, with Greg Weisman at the helm. He already has a working relationship with Marvel to some degree now. It’d be great…

Iron Man 3D coming in 2013?

Sean T. Collins

August 31, 2009 at 11:30 am

@iola: I was playing off the lede of that paragraph in the Staggs interview–the “princesses and Pirates” thing. The conference call referenced Disney XD’s success with Marvel programming for boys, too. Certainly the perception (see posts on The Comics Reporter and The Beat, for example) is that the move is geared toward shoring up that demographic for Disney. I don’t think that means anyone’s implying that girls don’t read comics or like Pirates of the Caribbean or anything like that.

Well assuming all of the artists and animators will be the same, I do not think the quality of Marvel cartoons will change, except I never really cared for spiderman on Disney anyhow. I am still a fan of the old Marvel comics cartoons.

I was thinking about it the other day, but what movies are really left for Marvel to make? They’ve hit up their biggest names, they’re all on the stage. Ms Marvel, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist are the only ones that come to mind at this point. Also this gives a vehicle to have the characters get onto tv again, either in live action form with the primetime lineup, or with a new animated schedule…

Also think about crossing over writers etc… LOST comics etc… more of an open vehicle as far as I can see, though some bad ideas will be kicked to the curb.

this deal better NOT ruin the whole Boom Studios Muppet deal and all, that would suck. :(

wonder how long before marvel characters are walking around disney land and world with mikey and crew and this is not suprising since Disney already owns the rights to marvels animated library why not have the rest of the pie.

Well They shot the albatross. All we can do now is sit back and get thirsty

First and foremost, this deal could easily turn out to be the biggest nightmare imaginable for independent comic-book creators. Remember what happened to Dave Stevens with Rocketeer, and how Marvel’s lawyers mercilessly harassed him for what they so wrongly said was copyright infringement? They only backed off when Stevens licensed Rocketeer to Disney for a feature film and Disney’s lawyers got involved. What’s it going to be like when these two Evil Empires team up? DOOMSDAY for all small-press/independent comics publishers, perhaps–especially those attempting to publish superhero comics.

Secondly, one would have to assume this will be the end for Gemstone’s licenced Walt Disney reprint comics. Presumably Marvel will take this over. Can’t you just see it now: Marvel Team-Up featuring Howard the Duck and Donald Duck–! WAAUUUGGGHHH!!!!!

Lastly, I have to say that my concern for any changes in tone to each company’s respective material could easily be more damaging to Disney’s already tarnished image as a purveyor of wholesome, family-oriented material than to Marvel, whose product has become increasingly more violent and morally questionable as the years have gone by. It would be a genuine shame if this degenerative trend were to corrupt the Disney product even further.

All in all then, I’d have to say this is exceptionally bad news.

Is there a need to correct me if I’m wrong..? I simply feel that Creativity is to die. In my dreams MARVEL would have purchased the damn Mouse House. Now dictaroship enters the scene. I feel awful. Why do I feel like abandoning Marvel now like I’ve left Disney behind long time ago when I’ve experienced the horror of horrors drawing comics for them..? This sucks major masculine appendage to no avail. The FF/Spider-Man/Punisher/whoever Principle will succumb to the Incredibles/Donald Duck/Hanna Montana/whatever rubbish tossing. Mouse House shall boss around and ruing the House of Ideas, which has resisted the temptation to sell out to D. during the late 90′s bankruptcy days.

Is there a need to correct me if I’m wrong..? I simply feel that Creativity is to die. In my dreams MARVEL would have purchased the damn Mouse House. Now dictatorship enters the scene. I feel awful. Why do I feel like abandoning Marvel now like I’ve left Disney behind long time ago when I’ve experienced the horror of horrors drawing comics for them..? This sucks major masculine appendage to no avail. The FF/Spider-Man/Punisher/whoever Principle will succumb to the Incredibles/Donald Duck/Hanna Montana/whatever rubbish tossing. Mouse House shall boss around and ruin the House of Ideas, which has resisted the temptation to sell out to D. during the late 90′s bankruptcy days.

Y’know…

ABC Television is also owned by the Walt Disney Company.

Why is everyone going ape over the idea of Disney owning a publishing company?

ABC has shown a demonstrable leaning toward science-oriented fantasy and fiction television programming, and that lends itself toward bringing PROVEN adventure concepts, such as the Fantastic Four or Captain America, to its television line-up.

Think about that for awhile.

The worry about this is unfounded. This is too large of a deal for Disney to mess it up. Remember those Spider-Man DVD’s put out about 4-5 years ago? (The Venom Saga, The Villains of Spider-Man, etc – basically the FOX series) Lake Buena Vista put them out – guess what? – that is Disney. The Haunted Mansion movie has a trailer on at least two of them. To worry about Marvel “getting soft” is way out there. I love Disney and I love Marvel, heck I own stock in Marvel (or did), but let’s face it. These companies are out to make money, lots of it. I do not think they will destroy either property. Besides, Super-Heroes should be more family oriented, rather than an overdose of sex and violence. I mean where would the industry be if we (30-40 year olds) didn’t read all of those stories when we were kids. Adult themes, sure, but essentially tame compared to today’s standards, yet both DC and Marvel continue to churn out “Showcase” and “Essential” reprints. Why? Because those stories and art were “classic” as we remember them and people will always want to read those stories. Give this time, and this union will surprise and please a lot of people.

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