Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A few thoughts on Marvel being bought by Disney

On the off chance that you haven’t heard already, Marvel Entertainment Inc. is being purchased by Walt Disney Co. for the tune of $4 Billion. This is good news for Marvel stockholders since it values Marvel at about 37 times its 2009 earnings.

I can’t say I am surprised Marvel was bought. In fact, while Marvel was a big fish in a small pond, I have expected them to be swallowed by a bigger fish for awhile.  Up until recently, I assumed that bigger fish would have been Sony.

Why Sony?  Well, they made a lot of money off of the Spider-Man movies.  Sony also seemed to enjoy using Spider-Man to promote their products, something Marvel took them to court for back in 2003.  Even though there are still several Spider-Man movies Sony can make under its current deal with Marvel, I figured they might just buy Marvel to ensure these rights remained in house. 

Of course, this would have made more sense for Sony around the time of Spider-Man 2, when the franchise was at the height of its popularity.

I didn’t think about Disney, but it makes a certain amount of sense from their point of view.  Disney has always scored well with young girls, from their “Princess” brand to Hanna Montana.  They have never scored quite as well with young boys though. Marvels cast of characters should fill this need nicely though.

The Marvel characters are also eminently licensable.  Marvel has learned this in recent years.  In fact, you could argue that their comic business is kept on life support in order to keep their stable of characters available for movies and licensed products.

Despite some deft maneuvers on this front in recent years, compared to Disney, Marvel is a mere piker.  I expect to see an explosion of products with the Marvel characters over the upcoming years.

I haven’t decided if this is a good thing or not.  On the one hand, I want Marvel to make money so that they can continue to put out comics for me to read.  On the other hand, I do worry that the characters may suffer from over-exposure though.

Still, Disney has a pretty decent track record of allowing acquired properties to do their own thing.  The Muppets retain their unique feel despite being under the Disney umbrella for years.  Pixar continues to put out top notch movies despite being under the Disney tent.  So it seems like Disney can be hands off when it needs to be.

I do have to ask Disney for one favor though.  In the grand tradition of Disney on Ice, they need to create a brand new musical extravaganza:  Disney on Ice starring Captain America in Ice!

Disney, if you use this I want 10%

The story writes itself.

For more info about Disney and Marvel

Comic Alliance talks about strange owners Marvel has had in the past

Comic Alliance compiles Comic Pros reacting on Twitter

Lori, the Comic Book Goddess tells everyone not to panic

Caleb at Every Day is Like Wednesday wonders if this will even impact him?

Stan Lee thinks it is a stroke of genius (no surprise)

Marc Graser of the Houston Movie Examiner talks about what is known about the deal