Disney to Buy Marvel Entertainment…? Who da thunk it?

Well, I am sure all of you up to date dorks out there have heard the big buzz…Disney to buy Marvel Comics…for a mere $4 Billion! When I first got the news that it looked like things were official, I have a wave of different emotions. First, joy, think of Marvel with that type of dollar backing and resources. Think of the animated films with the Pixar studios at its disposal. The sky is the limits when you have that deep of pockets…wow think of all the great Marvel movies to come out of this relationship. Marvel motion picture releases could go on forever! Second, fear, what if there are some really weird demands that Disney makes on Marvel. What if they get behind the wheel of the Marvel van and drive it like a drunken 90 year old grandma on roids…crap. Lastly, calm, Disney is a large company with vision. They have seen what is possible with Marvel and I have to rest my weary head on common sense.

What do you think will come of this new found friendship?

Disney and Marvel

Here is my quick vision of the new relationship…beautiful isn’t it?

Marvel Disney Vision

According to CNN, Disney CEO Robert Iger stated, “We believe that adding Marvel to Disney’s unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation,” In other words, Disney is taking the Miley Cyrus or Britney Spears strategy going forth (minus Oops), have a mature offering for your aging fans. Disney dominates so many characters in the early years of kids. But as they get a little older, they typically outgrow their usual offerings. With the recent wider appeal of the Marvel Universe franchise, Disney has a chance to continue appeal to the older generation, but stay with the core of their vision around fictional characters, animation, video, film, etc. Disney Chief Executive Ike Perlmutter went on to add, “Disney is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses. This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney’s tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world.”

I guess I want to believe that Marvel Comics is in good hands…and really this is well outside of this dork’s sphere of influence. Over the past couple of years, there have been many Disney films that have crossed the boundary of kids and parents by including a more mature sense of humor, cleverly disguised from the kiddies (i.e., Monsters Inc., Cars, Toy Story, etc.). I feel more reassured when I hear comments like “Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses.” To me this means that Disney realizes the Marvel did a great job at carving out its territory and absolutely blew away expectations by their ability to expand their comic market share dominance and presence; literally taking their own brand into every household. As an everyday dork, that is a major feat to get a household name in the age of absolute oversaturation of media and information on a daily basis. Another part of me wants to believe that Marvel tapped into their superheroes and characters to manage and build their foothold…perhaps they talked to the Beyonder and asked for a favor??

What do you think…Universal Dork would love to hear your comments and opinions!!!


  1. TJ

    I’m basically thinking the same thing…more money for big-budget Marvel projects (not just movies, but all media and merchandising) is a good thing, and they’d be foolish to attempt to alter anything on a creative level. Disney has been surprisingly respectful toward Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s work; I would hope they’d take the same approach toward Marvel.

    That said, I’m disturbed that Pinocchio is gazing longingly at Magneto’s batch in your picture.

  2. konales

    Excellent point on the Miyazaki work, that is very true.

    And Pinocchio is not only staring into the crotch of the Master of Magnetism…he is obviously lying to it in an attempt to tickle it with his noise as well.

  3. Cthulthu

    I’m going to play a little devil’s advocate on this and take a look at some of the series not normally related to “Disney” persona per-say. Would Disney really keep there name that is suppose to be “family” and “kid” friendly around series like Punisher, Barracuda, and Golddigger? Along with numerous others that are Dark and bloody or not for the “Kid” genera. I don’t see them actively helping out all of the title at an equal amount, which don’t get me wrong if I was Disney I would strongly promote those series that would appeal to my Major audience. With this buyout would all of these comics stop because of lack of funding just because they don’t project the Morals that Disney has adhered to sense the beginning.

    Don’t get me wrong I grew up with Disney and I still watch them and I’m in my mid-twenties, but I grew up for 15 years of my life in a comic shop with thousands of comics around me at all times. Disney has big money for them, and great animators but my biggest fear is good series dying out because of the message that is portrayed thru the comics.

    How many things get screwed with when somebody else tries to “Make a movie”. I mean look at X-men, how many different scripts were drawn up (literally) and they still managed to screw it up.

    A big reason, for me, that I see all of this stuff coming out on to a movie format is because people cant think of anything new. They have look in the past to make something up again. Don’t get me wrong I love watching them as much as the next person but every time I watch one hoping it is somewhat in reference to what they are basing the movie about, I get upset at the story. Once that happens I just look at it as some random film (animated or otherwise) that has good graphics and then judge the acting, because I know they have a storyline in there but its so far butchered from an Original idea that it pointless to have anything but the name that can promoted it. This I think above all else are my 2 worst fears for this buyout.

    On a lighter note I am eager so see what they put out because there is no turning back now they are already bought and paid. Can’t change that.

  4. konales

    I hear you, but I was talking to some marketing folks that I work with and their take on the situation was pretty inspiring. From their perspective, they felt that Disney would be absolute idiots to derail any of the direction and projects that were purposed and in works by Marvel, much for the same reason as TJ points out above on Miyazaki. Marvel really understands their market and Disney has the opportunity to keep the Marvel name (in perception) separate from their brand. Even though the deal is done and many will say in their head “Marvel…a Disney Co.”, they never really connect the two. From Disney’s perspective that is perfect cause it give them the freedom to let Marvel do what they want without direct brand association.

    If you look at their public market caps, Disney is 10x Marvel but still not a big enough entity to support all of the Marvel projects that were proposed so their will be co-license opportunities with other studios, etc. to fund projects. (much the way Marvel funded all of their movies). When these types of partnerships exist, both entities weigh in on the final project and direction. That reduces the chance of a unilateral “kid friendly” type of situation from occurring.

    To your point of the bad translations of the story…I totally hear you. But in reality, the writer and directors have to take 5-10 yrs of story arcs and reduce it to a 2hr movie that has continuity, story background, character development, etc. That is damn near impossible. They also have to dumb it down to draw in new viewers and fans. Lets face it, if they did not water down aspects to get new followers, there would be no growth, and they would just stop making these types of movies. That is why there was such spotty promotion of comic movies through the 80s and 90s; they either totally alienated their following with their vision, or did a good job and alienated the masses (too geeky).

    Now if you look to Miramax…Disney indy movie company, they have released a lot of movies with content that you would not associate with Disney (Tarantino movies, Kevin Smith movies, Scream, Scary Movies, etc.). There is a lot of controversy that came out of the Disney’s handling of Miramax, but there is the other piece to this story…The Weinsteins and the amount of cutting/editing they did to their films during the time they worked for Miramax…again, more story than any of us will ever have access to, except rumors. Now under a new CEO that is not as stupid as Eisner and the Weinsteins separated from Miramax, I feel very hopeful that Disney will reduce the hands on approach.

    Right now with the economy in the tubes, people like the imaginary stage…they want to get away form reality. With such a large push for these movies/series, and a large volume being produced, there are so many more of the younger generations that are literally growing up with it and it will prove to be a continued cash cow for many, many years. Right now, people are looking to Summer blockbuster as comic and fantasy movies…that is huge compared to 5 years ago. And I don’t see that changing if/when the economy improves. I think (hope) we are seeing a paradigm shift in consumers. While at SDCC, I thought I was going to see such a one sided crowd of absolute die hard geek/nerds, but there was a complete cross section of consumers…because scifi/fantasy/comics/horror is now becoming a much more widely accepted genre and less for “geeks”. That has positives and negatives…discussion for another time perhaps.

    Lastly, Disney has a huge opportunity to cash in on the newer generation that is more receptive to digital comics. Disney will not ever touch the core of Marvel…their comics, but I see them supporting/driving infrastructure for new forms of media (examples would be computer animated movies and their advances over the past 10 years…Pixar, etc).

    Disney became a powerhouse of globally respected characters and stories because of these methods of doing business. I think they will respect this with marvel.

    Sorry for the long winded response, but your points are valid…and hell I am passionate about this and enjoy chats on it. Thanks a lot for weighing in! Come back to Universal Dork!

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