Disney buys Marvel: who benefits?

Disney: Pros

Disney cool again? - No offense to Mickey, Donald and Goofy… but they haven’t exactly been relevant to people above the age of 12 for a decade or so. But since Marvel’s stable of characters have shown the same generation-spanning longevity that Walt’s creations enjoyed during the last millennium, the weighty task of getting a culture to care about Disney again no longer rests solely on the shoulders of Pixar. 

Above: Don’t expect Mickey in Marvel Zombies just yet 

It seems very unlikely that Disney bought the comic giant just to tamper with what ain’t broke, so we can expect the Marvel image to remain largely intact. Plus, seeing how Disney has embraced the adult appeal of its older catalog with some stellar, uncut DVD releases, AND the fact that the Pirates of the Caribbean films have featured the highest body counts in the history of the PG-13 rating, it stands to reason that Marvel’s content won’t be diluted anytime soon.

Cross medium appeal - It’s not like Marvel’s comic characters are having trouble finding success in other mediums, but taking the company’s history into account, it’s a relatively recent phenomenon. However, Disney’s reach is even broader. Just taking into account the Saturday morning series of the mid ‘90s, Fox appeared to have little or no interest in keeping properties like X-Men and Spider-Man going, or even releasing them in a purchasable format.

Above: Jetix (aka Disney XD), where old cartoons go to live 

Luckily, Disney does! They currently air during Marvel reruns in Toon Disney’s Jetix block, and the likelihood they’ll continue just grew a thousand fold. Given that Disney has a cross-culture appeal that took nearly a century to acquire, it’s not only in a unique position to keep quality Marvel properties accessible and in production - it’s now in their best interest! Dare we even bring up… A Marvel Channel?!

Disney World just got better! - Who doesn’t love a good crossover? Maybe we’re just dorks, but the idea of our favorite characters intermingling with one another in a singular location has our heads spinning at a 1000RPMs. Currently, a ticket to Disneyland nails you a meet and greet with Mickey Mouse, Buzz Lightyear, Kermit the Frog, Darth Vader, and now, f***ing Spider-Man and Hulk!!!!

Above: We live in a world where this can exist! 

Best of all, when it comes to theme park attractions, Disney spares absolutely no expense. So, a billion dollars-worth of 3-D Marvel robots moving at the speed of awesome is a glorious inevitability.


Disney: Cons

Bonus Loser: Universal Studios - Not only does Universal currently handle the Hulk movies, but the better of its Island of Adventure Orlando park is dressed in Marvel attire. And by “better,” we mean the best things in the whole damn park, regardless of your love of comics. We’re not naive enough to believe these licenses were meant to last forever, but the closure of phenomenal attractions like Spider-Man 3-D ride is a sad thing indeed. Plus, re-skinning existing attractions means park goers may have to wait months before they can get on a newly painted Hulk coaster. A bittersweet score for the House of Mouse.

COMING SOON: Despereaux’s Purple and Green Mega Coaster!

The Future of DVD - Ever wonder why the 1960’s Batman television show has never seen a DVD release? Chalk it up to series of unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances: It was a TV show made by Fox, based on a property currently belonging to Warner Bros., which originally aired on a network now owned by Disney (ABC). Since 1960’s contracts failed to negotiate terms regarding a then nonexistent home video release, we can speculate that these three companies still haven’t figured out how to divvy up the pie, or simply don’t feel that the split profits are worth the time. Either way, we lose.

Pre-Iron Man movies under the Marvel umbrella are owned by the individual studios that produced them. Sony owns big screen Spidey, and Fox lays claim to any cinematic depictions of, and stemming from, the X-men. Marvel has stated that all contracts made before the acquisition will be honored, but what happens when they eventually expire? It’s doubtful that the corporate monoliths would allow even duds like Elektra and Ghost Rider to fall into obscurity, but it requires an all new level of cooperation between companies who’ve had a hard time playing nice in the past.

Above: Caution – pre/post acquisition DVDs are not the same

Additionally, these companies generally do own the rights to special features found on most DVDs. So, if you want to ensure that your copy of Spider-Man 2 contains a Sam Raimi commentary and a Dashboard Confessional music video, you better scoop it up now.

Conclusion - Disney is the clear winner here. They get to associate with a trendy, consistently popular brand (Marvel) and reap any and all benefits the latter ever earns. Conversely, if say, Disney decides to release a $200 million sequel to Chicken Little and it bombs, company-wide efforts to reduce loss would be Marvel’s problem as well.

Still, even the gloomiest naysayers need only look at the Warner/DC Comics deal to realize that a large company buying a slightly less-large company isn’t the end of the world for either brand. In fact, it usually leads to kick-ass rollercoasters.

Aug 31, 2009

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  • fastrak - September 10, 2009 4:56 p.m.

    big corporation buys out the competition... I think it's a censorship ploy.
  • secretsearcher - September 8, 2009 9:07 p.m.

    Nightcrawler is my favorite X-man, and I have to say I'm not crazy about him jumping around killing cyborgs with swords (as cool as it was). I like the Wolverine and the X-men version of him much more.
  • MATTSHADOW - September 6, 2009 4:36 p.m.

    well if this does happen all the respect for marvel and disney would just disapper
  • lorchan - September 5, 2009 3:24 p.m.

    As much as I loved Disney Adventures as a kid, and when I got a bit older they had some great Pirates of the Caribean comics sometimes, I'm glad their dead. I have a framed page from an early 2006 issue stating that Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) would be the best game of the year. I laugh whenever I see it. Then I cry because I realize the little blue blur is dead inside. Either way, con for the world: The Jonas Brothers are getting a comic. Don't deny it, they will.
  • damagemagnet - September 5, 2009 1:17 p.m.

    I sound like a loon :) (captcha know something we don't!)
  • damagemagnet - September 5, 2009 1:15 p.m.

    I've grown up reading Marvel Comics. Nearly 26 years of stories! If Disney screws them up it will be like someone bad mouthing my parents! I just hope they keep out of the creators way. I never trust anything that only produces sugar sweet smiling wide eyed characters. They are already Disney Zombies. Look at Hannah Montana and HSM. That is puerile crap and has nothing in common with the Marvel Universe. I can't believe how much this worries me! :p
  • Defiance - September 5, 2009 11:41 a.m.

    And cows have only one sex position! The "Mickey meets wolverine in a bar" scenario sound to me pretty stupid. The people at Disney are not fools about he choices they make. Do people really think that Disney will fuse Mickey with others character elements from the Marvel collection? No I think its pretty LAME.
  • blazeinwaze - September 5, 2009 2:32 a.m.

    fing bull why the bloody hell did marvel sell out? if disney plays "family friendly" like microsoft did on the xbox 360 im gonna buy all the disney movies and burn them they better play it smart because marvel isn't for kids anymore its your tens and adults the kids can watch cartoons they do more than enough of that anyways
  • r3d - September 4, 2009 10:28 p.m.

    My concern is the corporate level, where not alot of people here have seen. what happens in the creative team that make the marvel best. Disney will force Marvel to edit themselves creatively? reduce the mature reality theme stories for a G rating. What about movie stars that pissed of disney and would be great for marvel movies. same goes to every company that doesn't follow their rules. If Disney doesn't mess with the quality of Marvel we're ok. BUT do you really think that Corporate policies in the real world won't influence their decisions, because it ain't Politically Correct or it conflicts with their sister companies? then your more ignorant than i thought reader. I only hope that Marvel is still separate with Disney like Pixar is to them; and that Marvel has still the last say with their quality of Product and Disney execs to keep out in the Marvel domain area. gaming spectability 105
  • Lazydidwhat - September 4, 2009 1:23 a.m.

    What are they insane!!!!!!!!!
  • eyesfire2 - September 4, 2009 12:26 a.m.

    (sniffle) now my lifes over they cant handle that power wait hmmmmmmmm this may lead to disey's fall |=]
  • emayekayee - September 3, 2009 3:22 p.m.

    Surprisingly insightful article from the site that usually brings us the "Top 7 Video games that have Boobs and Farts!"............... heheheheheheh farts
  • sadisticgrizzz - September 3, 2009 2:42 p.m.

    who am i kidding this is hell on earth!!
  • MechGyver - September 2, 2009 3:45 p.m.

    I wish Pink Pineapple had bought Marvel instead. (sorry for the spam, keyboard malfuction)
  • MechGyver - September 2, 2009 3:44 p.m.

  • MechGyver - September 2, 2009 3:43 p.m.

  • RAEJagainstthemachine - September 2, 2009 1:31 a.m.

    damn now were gonna have an even more duechey-er spider man hanging out with freakin hannah montana why god
  • pikachu2000 - September 2, 2009 1:01 a.m.

    First things first. I know you guys can come up with a better name than "Nerd 9/11". This DIS-VEL (DISney marVEL) deal only cover entertainment media, not science (because nerds love science). The name "Nerd 9/11" is very desrespectful to the real event that the name is based on and could you come up with a less offensive name than that? I bet that some of us have this exact same reaction when Time Warner/Warner Bros. brought DC, it just history repeating itself once again. Companies love this merging crap like crack. They better not get too big or the Supreme Court will lay the smackdown on their @$$. Disney and Time Warner is just like Coke and Pepsi. Disney is to Marvel as Coke is to Powereade. Time Warner is to DC as Pepsi is to Gatorade. And they are doing everything they can to wipe the other company off the face of the Earth. See a pattern?
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - September 2, 2009 12:29 a.m.

    As was stated in the article, Disney owns a great deal of "mature" content. No need to worry about the very very "T-Rated" Marvel universe.
  • Doctalen - September 1, 2009 11:34 p.m.

    Once I read the title I just kinda gave up. Not much of a comic book fan but the idea of Disney taking Marvel and all their characters is just blasphemy. Currently the majority of marvel superhero games just suck badly. But with Disney thrown in I have little to no hope for any future superhero games. Financially a great move by Disney but morally its worse then killing Jesus and bringing him back thousands of times in front of the most devote Christian.

Showing 1-20 of 113 comments

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