Disney is on the brink of buying Marvel in a $4 billion deal which would see the Mouse House taking ownership of over 5,000 comic characters, including Spider-Man, Hulk, The X-Men, Captain America and Blade.
A lot of films based on Marvel characters are already in production at other studios (such as Spider-Man 4 and various X-Men spin-offs at Fox, and Iron Man at Paramount) and this deal will not immediately affect those projects – Disney will honour all deals currently in place, though will obviously, as the new owner, benefit from any profits. But the pact, which Walt Disney bigwig Robert Iger calls "a great opportunity at the right time," has the potential to yield billions of dollars for Disney by turning Marvel's library of more than 5,000 characters into movies, TV shows, Internet properties, theme park attractions, videogames, toys, licensed merchandise and, of course, comicbooks.
The deal has yet to be finalised and depends on the support of Marvel shareholders (who'll presumably all make a tidy profit, so that won’t be much of an issue) and competition authorities.
So now, presumably, Disney can make a movie featuring a slugfest between Howard the Duck and Donald Duck.
Meanwhile, Fox has just announced that its Fantastic Four movie franchise is to continue with a third movie about Mr Fantastic, The Human Torch, The Invisible Woman and The Thing. The signs are that it will be a reboot however, with the director (Tim Story) and stars (Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis) of the first two movies probably not returning.
Fox has hired Akiva (I Am Legend/Hancock/Jonah Hex) Goldsman to produce the new film, while Heroes writer/producer Michael Green is working on a script.