So Disney Bought Marvel… What Does It All Mean?

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:24 pm,

disney marvel So Disney Bought Marvel... What Does It All Mean?

To quote the late Queen of Blues, Dinah Washington, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Just recently all anyone was talking about in the movie industry was whether The Final Destination was in indeed final and if Rob Zombie was done butchering horror films (to answer that last question, NO, he’s trying to tackle The Blob next – and I’m not referring to my first girlfriend from high school). But here we are, just a scant twenty-four hours later and the biggest fish in the marketing sea has just eaten the biggest fish in the comic book sea.

Of course, I’m talking about the news that Walt Disney Co. acquired Marvel Comics, Inc. for the meager sum of $4 billion dollars. It’s a great deal of money, and I don’t care what the nay-sayers out there gripe about, if I owned a prospering business and a mega-company offered to buy me out for an exuberant amount of money, I’d sell too. Heck, I’d go buy a special pen just to sign the papers! Anyone who says otherwise just isn’t being honest with themselves.

Let me start by saying that like most of you, I too thought this was pretty much the end of hardcore Marvel comics, films and cartoons. Disney isn’t exactly synonymous with violence, so at first I can see how this would be a cause for concern. Read this quote from Disney chairman Robert Iger:

“We believe that adding Marvel to Disney’s unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation.”

Wait – that didn’t make you put down the Rolaids yet? Try this one:

“The acquisition of Marvel offers us a similar opportunity to advance our strategy to build a business that is stronger than the sum of its parts.”

Still nothing? Well on the conference call with investors shortly after the announcement, Iger said, “I think there’s a phrase, if it ain’t broke.” This is nothing new to anyone familiar with Disney’s business practices. They did not spend this much money just to ruin what they bought. Saying that just because Disney now owns our favorite comic book superheroes it will water them down and ruin them, is like saying you would go out and buy a Rolls Royce and then paint it to look like an ice cream truck just to sell ice cream to kids. Much like the aforementioned high school girlfriend – that’s just plain crazy; and if anything can be said about Disney, it’s that they are not EVER crazy when it comes to a business decision. Want to know the real reason they bought Marvel? Read this statement:

“We believe that adding Marvel to Disney’s unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation. The acquisition of Marvel offers us a similar opportunity to advance our strategy and to build a business that is stronger than the sum of its parts. [These shows are] right in the wheelhouse for boys.”

marvel xd So Disney Bought Marvel... What Does It All Mean?

Disney has always struggled to find its place in the world when it came to reaching the teen/young teen male audience. It’s no wonder, because shows like Hannah Montana, The Jonas Brothers and every freakin’ princess movie ever made is geared and marketed towards girls of every age. Disney finally started trying to hit the boy demographic when it started up the TV channel Disney XD, which already shows 20 shows from Marvel’s arsenal, but it was having trouble finding an audience with its current lineup of characters. I don’t think they have that problem anymore. Now, with more than 5,000 characters to choose from, Disney can now move forward with some interesting shows.

Let’s go through a list of possible new ideas Disney could be kicking around:

TV Shows

Besides the obvious fact that we could see many new cartoons on the Disney channel, let’s not forget that Disney purchased ABC a few years back and has had much success with its lineup of shows – or have you forgotten about Lost? This same argument about watered down, kid-friendly, ponies, rainbows and flowers nonsense was floating around back then too. I don’t hear too many people saying that now.

Imagine if you will no more Marvel origin movies in theaters. All of them are now shown on TV running on a regular series and the movies can now focus on just being pure bad ass-ness fun. Does an origin story really need two hours to be told properly or could it just be done in forty-five minute segments over the course of a TV season? Keep the major characters in theaters, Avengers, Thor, Iron Man and such, but now audiences would get the chance to see more of the Marvel Universe and appreciate and enjoy lesser known characters like some many hardcore fans already do. It would also give those lesser characters a chance to build an audience that would potentially follow them to theaters.

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  1. I still don’t see why people think this is a bad move for marvel movies. It should guarantee that we see Thor, cap and avengers get plenty of money for effects and quality scripts. But that’s just my opinion. Just because I’m entitled to one doesn’t make it right, lol.

  2. At first I was shocked, but thinking about… I think only good can come of this

    now to sit back and wait for Steamboat Hulk

  3. If Marvel is given free reign like Pixar is then it is a great move…hey it’s win win win for Marvel and Disney and the fans..Marvel has more financial backing to get more of their product out there..they have the biggest well oiled marketing machine in the universe..and they have proven they have the creative moxy to get great versions of their characters to film..

    Projects I would like to see to make it to the big or small screen animated or live action are:

    Alpha Flight
    Infinity Gauntlet & Thanos Quest
    just to name a few…

    Time will tell if this is a good move but on paper it looks great if Marvel has control over how the projects get made..

  4. That was my thought too… deep pockets.

    Disney has branched out too, the Pirates movies close to par with violence in Marvel movies. Ok, maybe a stretch, but not every Disney movie is Lady and the Tramp. Some of the animated classics (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty) are actually pretty dark at times.

    My fear was creative control.

  5. I was worried that with lesser known and less cared about characters like Thor that those movies wont be made, but i still am not a fan of Disney

  6. If John Lasster is excited at the prospect of Disney adapting Marvel properties, then I’m at least intrigued.

  7. What happens to Punisher MAX?

  8. sure, the movies may be quality, storywise and cgi and direction.
    and i was with you the whole way there pauly. until you mentioned zac effron. funny as a joke, haha sure. but i’ve got a stinking feeling disney will try to push some of their stars onto the movies. eep.

  9. I am willing to keep an open mind and see what projects develop as the result of Marvel getting an infusion of Disney cash,
    But I still wonder about the future of the MAX line.
    Everybodys so worried about the movies they really havent stopped to think about the effect this will have on the publishing side ,
    and that remains to be seen.

  10. @ Gary

    It’s like anything else in big buisness …if it makes money we will keep seeing it…if not then you know….

  11. If Disney is successful in acquiring Marvel, maybe we’ll see some Marvel characters showing up in future installments of Kingdom Hearts??? o_O Final Fantasy characters fighting alongside Marvel superheros?! OMG ^_^

  12. Aaron ,
    dont be surprised if Dwayne Johnson is cast as Prince Namor after the merger goes through.
    And I am NOT joking about that!

  13. stupid,I hope I regret saying this

  14. I am really interested to see what the PIXAR plan is. I’ve been waiting for either MARVEL or DC to go the full CGI route. As for Zac Effron,I think he would make a better Peter Parker. And since they like to match actors to actresses for Spiderman,hopefully they would match him with a better Mary Jane.

  15. i just cant wait for the donald duck vs. wolverine full live action movie ala roger rabbit…with wolverine unable to kill a “toon” we might be seeing a smackdown of epic proportions…and since bambi already battled godzilla (anyone remember that one?) we should be in for the next installment, bambi vs. Thanos…


  16. @rawpower

    I do hope your joking. while I do agree that tobey maguire is a really crappy peter parker… zac effron is the devil and should not be allowed anywhere near any marvel production

  17. All wishful thinking now. I’m still skeptical though.

    Also, less popular characters like Thor might actually NOT get made into a film because even though Disney has deep pockets, they’re very protective of their brand. I dunno if they would be willing to drop $100 mil on a comic book character movie that might not be an automatic cash cow.

    And the person that mentioned Disney trying to push some of their Zac Effron stars into future Marvel projects… VERY, VERY POSSIBLE. *shivers*

  18. Exciting news, for the most part. Knowing my two favourite entertainment brands – Disney and Marvel – will be flatmates with my current favourite TV network – ABC – is great news.


    There’s an elephant in the room regarding the comics publishing side of this deal.

    While it means nothing to you guys in the States (unless you care about your foreign friends getting their Marvel fix), Disney comics (most notably, the recently-launched Pixar titles) ARE NOT available to international comic stores. They’re coded as such in Diamond Previews and any orders are cancelled before shipping.

    Apparently, Disney are notoriously controlling with distribution and they have their own publishing house. Do the math and it could POTENTIALLY mean export restrictions are put in place to allow overseas “middle men” (and their bumped-up pricing) to stand between comic stores (ALL small business ventures, started by fans) and the current distributors of Marvel titles. There have always been items not available to stores outside the States but an entire publishing house worth of comics wouldn’t be good AT ALL.

    What is currently a situation where local comic stores here in Australia receive their shipments so swiftly that new titles actually hit shelves before the USA (thanks to the time zone)… could well become one in which they are given unique release dates, just like books and films.

    Speaking of which, would you believe ‘Up’ doesn’t hit Aussie cinemas until this Thursday?

    It could be nothing… but it’s reason for concern.

  19. @Shamose
    I think Reynolds should pĆ¼lay every char in every superhero movie available. He is the perfect Jonny Storm, Peter Parker, Scott Summers, Wade Wilson,…want me to go on? realy now i can imagine him taking place in every role Marvel can offer!
    He got the looks, the mouth and plenty of charisma!

  20. I don’t know, I think Zac Efron could make a good Speedball. Just watch 17 again and see the comedy chops this kid has got. Not to mention he may be Johnny Quest.

  21. @Kane

    Interesting – I wasn’t aware of all that as far as foreign comic book distribution. As to the release date of “Up” – I’ll never understand the logic behind such wildly varying released dates for films around the world.


  22. Paul, this is a well written article!
    This is why I like ScreenRant a lot than other sites, especially aicn. There is objectivity and thought put into articles here.

    Like most, at first I did not like the move because everyone is merging and it would have been nice to see a company stay independant. However, Disney with Marvel really is a good fit. Lets not forget, Disney may have this kiddy image but there is darkness hidden, take for instance Beauty And The Beast, which is a great film but also there is darkness in that. Look back at The Jungle Book, there are hints of darkness.

    Disney knows how to do business and it will be smart to let Marvel do their thing. There will be the obvious meeting of characters like Spider-Man or Iron Man with MIckey Mouse, but nothing that has not happened before. Now it is just under one house.

  23. Not happy. Watching closely. Never have liked the Disney “sanitized for your protection” method and frankly no matter what they say as a part of a PR routine, I cannot believe that Disney will put forth a completely hands off approach to dealing with this acquisition.

  24. Uh… while Miramax is Disney’s outlet for “adult” films, they did try to have Mononoke edited, unsuccessfully granted but then their contract with Ghibli specified no editing- they still tried anyway. Since Disney owns Marvel they have the power to edit as much as they want and while Kill Bill was violent as a genre and adult oriented, Disney is clearly approaching Marvel as a “boy” (read little boy) product and that to me implies they will indeed cut down on the adult content quite a bit.

  25. The deal is done. All we can do is hope for the best.

  26. Here’s a question Paul, or whomever else can answer:

    Does Fox and Sony have just the live action rights to X-Men, FF and Spider-Man?

    I ask because Marvel controls all it’s characters for animation, so could Pixar do something involving all the characters, like Secret Wars or Civil War and release it in theaters since technically it’s animation?

  27. Vic,
    I think the results for that poll question might change if a third option was added.
    Not Sure,
    only time will tell .

  28. @Love Child – Yes Fox and Sony own having liscening rights to the characters you mentioned. That means that as long as Marvel (Disney) approves, those studios can do what the want with the property until the contract expires, which is in the next 5 or 6 years. At that point, Disney can either extend the contract or move the characters back to their fold.

  29. Followup on my Namor comment ,
    I woldnt mind a Pixar film about Namor with Leonard Nimoy voicing him.
    Hey,I can dream cant I?