Disney And Marvel’s Big Money Merger
Was there any prediction more wrong-headed this summer than Richard Greenfield‘s? He’s the Wall Street analyst who garnered media attention with his premature assessment that UP would be Pixar’s least successful movie to date and that Disney’s stock price should be downgraded because of it. Needless to say, with over $265.9 million in tickets sold in North America alone and $35.4 million worldwide, his prediction turned out to be wrong.
Or “Dead wrong”. as Greenfield, himself, admitted in his latest research note, which was released this week. His admission comes the same week of the big announcement that Disney, which has a history of buying up successful movie studios, has shelled out $4 billion for Marvel Entertainment.
It’s Disney’s biggest deal since it purchased Pixar for $7.6 billion in 2006 and represents an acknowledgement of Marvel’s phenomenally successful business acumen, with which the studio has been churning out one hit blockbuster after another. The deal gives Disney the rights to over 7.000 Marvel-owned characters. Nikki Finke reports that Disney brass had successfully kept news of the deal a secret, even though it was in the works for over ten years.
So does this mean we’ll be seeing Beverly Hills Chiuaua vs. Silver Surfer or Fantastic Four starring the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus in the near future? Not quite. X-Men is licensed to 20th Century Fox and Sony has the rights to Spider-Man. And Marvel currently has a distribution deal with Paramount, which will release Iron Man 2 & 3, Captain America and The Avengers. From now on, though, all new releases will go to Disney.
Finke also quotes Disney CEO Bob Iger as saying:
The goal here is not to rebrand Marvel.
Tell that to comic book fans and bloggers alike who’ve been keeping themselves busy complaining about the deal and worrying about the future of their beloved characters. One person who isn’t complaining is Stan Lee, the legendary comic book writer, editor and former president of Marvel Entertainment. He’s quoted by Reuters, saying:
I couldn’t be happier with this agreement. From every possible point of view, the merger of Disney and Marvel is a match made in heaven. Just imagine, with this deal Marvel gives Disney a library of literally hundreds of unique and colorful characters that have the potential to make great, high-concept movies and long-lasting franchises — and nobody knows how to play in that ball park better than Disney. This is a great day for the two companies and for the entertainment community as a whole. To sum it up as simply as possible, when you combine the best with the best, everyone wins!