Monday, August 31, 2009

Marvel? A Mouseketeer?

I had to catch my breath over the cereal bowl this morning when Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger announced this morning that they had, in fact, purchased Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 Billion, making it the second largest acquisition the Mouse House has purchased since they bought PIXAR for $8 Billion! Just think, in my last post, I mentioned the slow dissolution of the industry. Now, I get to eat some of that posting--- or do I?

Stan 'The Man' Lee reportedly leapt out of his chair, thrilled at the news, stating that "From every conceivable point, this union is a perfect match".

Check out some of the great benefits and minor hurdles this deal will yield:

Sony Corp.'s Columbia Pictures is developing the next three "Spider-Man" sequels, starting with "Spider-Man 4" set for a May 2011 release. News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox has the long-term movie rights to the "X-Men," "Fantastic Four," "Silver Surfer" and "Daredevil" franchises.

Separately, Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures has a five-picture distribution deal for Marvel-made movies, the first of which will be "Iron Man 2," set for release next May. Paramount said it expects to continue working with Marvel and Disney.

General Electric Co.'s Universal Studios has an attraction called Marvel Super Hero Island in Orlando, Fla., that will stay in existence as long as Universal wants to keep it there and follows the contract terms, Universal said.

Despite beginning to make its own movies, starting with "Iron Man" last year, licensing remained a key driver of Marvel's $206 million in profit and $676 million in revenue last year. Iger said Disney could give Marvel broader global distribution and better relationships with retailers to sell Marvel products.

Marvel shares shot up $9.72, or 25 percent, to close at $48.37 on Monday.

Marvel plans to release two costly blockbusters, "Thor" and "The First Avenger: Captain America" in 2011. DVD sales of those films likely won't roll in until fiscal 2012.

Marvel's chief executive, Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter, will pocket a hefty payday. He snatched Marvel assets out of bankruptcy in 1998, in a deal that valued the company at around $450 million including debt, outmaneuvering investors Carl Icahn and Ronald Perelman. His 37 percent stake in Marvel is now worth about $1.5 billion.

Now, out of all of this, WHERE ARE THE COMICS?! Here's a deal that will change the face of mainstream comics, yes, but with such a monstrous deal designed to elevate the stakes of the playing field, it doesn't change the game... Who will have to up their game--- Them or Us? The Mainstream muscle definitely got a steroidal shot this morning, but the real trick now is whether or not this deal can maintain that muscle. Disney has never made no secrets about its business... Remember MIRAMAX? Remember the PIXAR dispute? These fallouts came only AFTER Disney claims big payoffs from these mergers. Hmmm... Mice don't eat spiders, do they?


samax said...

great information. the comics-reading world will be rocking from this for a minute. i'm not sure if i really expect much to change editorially for Marvel. one big question is how it will effect BOOM! Studios, who looked to be the next publisher on deck doing licensed books like their acclaimed Incredibles comix (a Disney property). i would assume Disney was looking to keep future comics under their own roof with the purchase of Marvel.

hopefully, Disney will expand Marvel's offering of kids' books, and maybe halt the price hikes so i can stop bitching about $4 comics. maybe they'll even teach Marvel how to advertise?

now i'm reaching... LOL!

RodBuddah said...

LMAO indeed! Marvel's got a little time before Disney walks into their bullpens full force... Marvel took the Disney deal to have a safety net, undoubtedly. I have a strong feeling that BOOM will become the next Dark Horse, just like IDW will become the next Image. Out of everyone rocking from this deal, DC is quiet on this (no surprise there).
One thing is STILL paramount: The independents are needed NOW more than EVER!
To be continued--- Thank you for chiming in, Samax!

John Aston said...

I'm undecided about the purchase. In the grand scheme of things, films and merchandise probably dwarf the publishing side of Marvel as far as revenue goes.

So, maybe the print content will be overlooked. Riiigggghhhhhhhht.

RodBuddah said...

I'm still trying to understand WHY Marvel and Disney made the merger? Kinda like why Kodansha decided to let Tokyopop go... Business seems unsure now, but hopefully the long term goal becomes clear... If you can call Wolverine being part of the Mouseketeer Club...

samax said...

it was a money grab on both parts. Disney's sophisticated marketing wing could make more money off of marvel's characters than Marvel ever could. Marvel's shareholders get a windfall for their wobbly stock. in this economy, that's a no-brainer.

besides the fact that Disney could make movies and cartoons till the cows come home, we may be done looking at the crappy action figures and merch Marvel tends to create.

as for the publishing, i doubt Disney could do worse than Marvel does on their own, which is conservatively 50-50 good to bad on any given week.

RodBuddah said...

Very good points, Samax. When the news first broke, Disney's stock took a few hits within 24-36 hours while Marvel's index climbed. You know Perelmuth has been having a field day with this little event.

Disney now has Marvel AND is a direct pipeline for Miyazaki's work in Japan... Add Pixar and their reworking of Miramax studios and you've got an interesting little trifecta going on.