More on Marvel/Disney as reactions unfold

Obviously, this is going to be a big story for, like, well…forever. Although Marvel has been acquired and batted around many times in its 70-year history, Disney is…the final redoubt. Once you enter the House of Mouse, you stay there, especially when they flew you out for $4 billion. The acquisition/merger is even being seen as a kick start for the entire economy — it’s certainly the biggest deal of the post Great Recession world. CNN writes:

But if Monday’s mergers are the start of a trend, that might be an even stronger signal from Corporate America that the worst could be over. “It has been a slow period for mergers and it’s not that different from other recessions. But we’re cautiously optimistic about the deal pipeline. Hopefully, Monday’s deals portend good things to come,” said Mike Shannon, co-manager with the Merger Fund, a mutual fund that invests in stocks involved in takeover situations.

Yet, it’s with a bit of sadness that we contemplate the end of Marvel the rebel, Marvel the renegade. Marvel, whose public stock offerings and financials were readily available at a moments notice. The Marvel that hired Michael Kupperman and Jason and Johnny Ryan. That Marvel may stay around for a while, but it is far less likely to be a priority under the guidance of the biggest IP corporation on Earth.

We’re still collating reactions and speculations, but here’s a little cheat sheet:

  • Movies: The NY Times has details. Current deals will stay in place, thus Marvel’s remaining five picture distro deal with Paramount — but Disney will want its piece of that pie.

Over the long haul, Paramount has the most to lose, as Disney works Marvel into its system. Only last September, Paramount, a unit of Viacom, announced an agreement to distribute five Marvel films, including two “Iron Man” sequels, over several years.

Disney said it would honor Marvel’s studio contracts, but the goal was clearly to bring “Iron Man” and others in-house over time.

“We believe Viacom is unlikely to retain distribution rights to Marvel films after the agreement,” Michael C. Morris, a UBS analyst, wrote in a research note.

In addition, the piece points out how Marvel was having some difficulty financing its own films — obviously a deal with Disney will clear that problem right up.

  • TV: Here things look golden, as

Disney XD, a new cable channel aimed at boys, already licenses 20 hours of programming a week from Marvel. As Disney seeks to expand that channel, particularly overseas, Marvel will play an even greater role.

Disney was hoping to snag more boys with Disney XD, but until Marvel came along wasn’t doing too hot. Marvel has lots of TV deals but they are more short term and Disney’s existing TV animation infrastructure will be a boon here.

  • Theme parks: Universal’s Adventure Island may be on shaky ground here. Perhaps when existing licensing deals run out, the Hulk ride can be rebranded as the Jolly Green Giant? Obviously, Disney will want to get the Marvel characters into its domestic parks (internationally, Marvel does not have deals in place) but it could take a long time.

On the other hand….can you imagine what Disney’s Imagineering could do with Galactus and the Silver Surfer? WOW.

  • Publishing: Well, that’s a good question. We’ll have more on that tomorrow.

For a more informed take on all the above, check out Marv Wolfman’s blog. Wolfman is a former Marvel E-i-C and is the founding comics editor for Disney Adventures, so he has a good take on the bigger picture:

Publishing. Well, that’s the big one, isn’t it? At least for us. Actually, only for us. The big ones in reality are movies, TV and video games. One major video game hit can make more money than 95% of all movies. But let’s talk comics. What division will that fall under? Publishing? Movies? Consumer Products? Something else? What happens to Marvel Comics will depend on which Disney company it falls under and as of 1:30PM, I don’t know the answer to that.

On Wall St. reaction has been surprisingly mixed. Some people think Disney paid way too much for Marvel. The Motley Fool, however shares our sadness, and Tom Beyer, a long time Marvel stock enthusiast, is downright mournful, titling his post Mickey Mouse Robs Spidey

I’m going to make a lot of money today, and I’m happy about that. But as it so often happens with the very best businesses, this one is being taken out too soon, at too cheap a price.


Another poster on this financial message board rivals a Newsarama poster for outrage:

This is like disgusting in many levels……..

Disney has always been in their entire existence to buy out the competition or aquire it and then ruin the foundations it was based on. Although it may be a “sweet deal” to everyone who has stock Marvel will forever be a Disney product and I will not buy anything from Marvel again. 4 Billion is “chump change” to Disney, Marvel will “lose” out again in making more money on their own!!!!!!

I think this is a “bad” idea for Marvel to “sell out” to Disney I mean the reason Marvel is doing well is because of us “kids” who are now in to their 40′s and 50′s who still appreciate the characters we grew up with and totally support all of the merchandise involved with Marvel heroes.


Also, although Disney is the world beater in terms of licensing IP might, as this story on Disney’s handling of the Muppets, from the NY Times shows sometimes, licenses fall out of fashion despite the best efforts of all involved.

Ms. Breier said recent focus groups indicated that some children could not even identify Kermit and Miss Piggy, much less ancillary characters like Fozzie Bear and Gonzo the Great. The wisecracking, irreverent Muppets (a combination of puppets and marionettes) also don’t fit that neatly in the Disney culture, as they differ from most of the company’s bedrock characters in two big ways: Kermit and coterie were primarily created to entertain adults, and they live in the real world. Henson was so insistent that they stand apart from his “Sesame Street” creations in personality and tone that he (misleadingly) titled the 1975 pilot that would boost their careers “The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence.”

The linkage on this story will soon over take the world, but here’s a few more to keep you going:

Brian Heater looks at how Marvel might profit from Disney’s online might

Both companies would do well to invest themselves more fully in the digital space, as print media continues to decline. While most diehard Marvel fans are no doubt frightened at the concept interference that might result at the hands of a company like Disney (the term “Disneyfication” was not coined in a vacuum), Marvel could work such an acquisition in its favor.

After all, Disney no doubt wants a return on the estimated $4 billion it’s shelling out to buy the comics publisher; it’s certainly in the company’s best interest to see Marvel succeed. What Disney brings to the table in such a deal are tremendous resources in a number of areas, not the least of which is the digital space. From ESPN.com to Club Penguin, The Disney Interactive Media Group is a tremendous undertaking with the knowledge of what it takes to succeed in the online space.

Two from the indispensable John Jackson Miller,
A Marvel Comics Timeline

And a concise, educational history of the history of Marvel’s attempts to become their own studio. A must read to get more historical context.

To think this day started out with Future Mr. Beat shaking me and saying, “Heidi, you’ve got to get up! Disney bought Marvel!”

Comments

  1. Oz Carver says:

    I “hope” that Newsarama “commenter” takes the “money” he’s going to “save” by “not” buying “Marvel Comics” and “invests it” in a “class” to “learn” how to use “quotation marks.”

    Sorry. “Couldn’t resist.”

    More seriously, I’m still waiting to hear what this all means for Howard the Duck. I hope it doesn’t mean eternal banishment from the Cosmic Axis, but I fear it does.

  2. Oz Carver says:

    D’oh. Or the financial message board. I guess I should invest in a “reading comprehension class.”

  3. I say hoorah to everyone at Marvel. If this plays out the same way Pixar has, then I can’t think anything better for Marvel.

    *IF* this plays the way of the Pixar merger, this is such a great chance for Disney and Marvel. Marvel gains a tremendous amount of capital behind it. It also puts them neck and neck with DC kids lines (Scooby, Hanna Barbera) if it shakes out that way.

    I don’t think Disney will send it the extermination crews to Marvel. I think they will let these guys work with what they know. I think Marvel has been outplaying DC for a bit, this only puts more in their pot.

    This also works out great for Disney. Their blossoming comic line, with more hardline comic content, will now have some of the greatest distribution to hardline comic books shops. Marvel books will see more shelf space in major book retailers and big box stores that Disney has good relationships with.

    People were wondering how comics will stay in touch with kids in years to come. Welcome to how comics will stay in touch with kids.

    Congrats Marvel. Back to work tomorrow.

  4. I have been avenged.

  5. The incredibly well-funded MMO startup Gazillion Entertainment, who earlier this year acquired the developers of the upcoming Disney MMO, Slipgate Ironworks, coincidentally are developing the Marvel Universe MMO and the kid-frienldy Marvel Superhero Squad. Today’s news must be a happy coincidence (?) for them.

  6. “The acquisition/merger is even being seen as a kick start for the entire economy — it’s certainly the biggest deal of the post Great Recession world.”

    Actually, the biggest merger announced this morning was Baker-Hughes buying BJ Services (both companies are oilfield service companies) for $5.5 billion. (This deal, however, is of admittedly limited interest to your readership.)

  7. michael says:

    “To think this day started out with Future Mr. Beat shaking me and saying, “Heidi, you’ve got to get up! Disney bought Marvel!””

    -LOL! What a mindshaking and alarming way to wake up! O.O

  8. I wonder how soon you will be getting a C&D letter for improper use of Disney intellectual property (“Namor is not to be depicted wearing Donald’s beret”). When it comes to fans taking license with the licensed IP, the Mouse House tends to have less of a sense of humor than Dick Cheney.

  9. Synsidar says:

    When it comes to fans taking license with the licensed IP, the Mouse House tends to have less of a sense of humor than Dick Cheney.

    Yes, one result of the deal could be efforts to eliminate pornographic fan fiction about Marvel characters. There’s a lot of the stuff, and it’s likely that both Marvel and DC decided to take whatever promotional benefits the stories had, rather than try to eliminate them via warnings and lawsuits. If any company took a different approach, it would be Disney.

    SRS

  10. Marv Wolfman’s queries really get to the heart of the matter, don’t they?

  11. Alan Coil says:

    Along the lines of corporate mandates, I suspect more pirating sites will be closed down.

  12. Of course, THE largest Disney stockholder is Steve Jobs. Can we expect to see a red, white and blue Captain America Macbook in the future?

  13. John Tebbel says:

    All the cool stuff at Marvel was created at a small company with very few layers of so-called management and no idea what they were doing, except to crank out some more funny books and try not to die of boredom or poverty. Pixar is still the unit closer to it’s founding energies, but also approaching middle age. Problem is trying to be worth all that money in a time frame today’s investors will accept. Like the Steve Jobs point and wonder what he grew up reading.

  14. jacob lyon goddard says:

    i’m worried about all the illustrators and cartoonists who suplement their income with drawings of now Disney owned intelectual properties.

  15. Jobs will be lost. I think we lost a little innocence today. Corporate Marvel is now complete. The fun days are long gone. That happy go lucky Peter Parker is no longer. Seems big companies gobble little ones and spit out their hearts. Will we ever see another JLA/Avengers crossover again?

  16. Alan Coil says:

    tone asked:

    “Will we ever see another JLA/Avengers crossover again? ”

    According to what I heard, not as long as Quesada works for Marvel.

  17. Soupy says:

    They wouldn’t pull Strange Tales would they?

  18. Torsten Adair says:

    I remember buying my first Marvel Comic (Amazing Spider-Man #254), my first long trek to the local comics shop, my first meeting a comics pro. I will always remember where I was when I heard the news. I just hope it’s more like “Revember Fourth” (11/04/09) and less like January 26, 1986.

    I wanna know… Hyperion Books, CrossGen, adaptations and reviving… Please… Disney… reprint the Hitchhiker’s graphic novels!

  19. Soupy says:

    On another note, hopefully this will mean Marvel characters in the Kingdom Hearts games.

  20. Torsten Adair says:

    ooops… meant 11/04/08!

  21. Funny. I heard people say today “please god no marvel characters in kingdom hearts.”

    Marvel, welcome to the world of simulated culture.

  22. I wonder what the take is over at the Distinguished Competion?

  23. Wraith says:

    Sony has returned the TV rights of Spider-Man back to Marvel. So now Marvel and Disney own the TV rights to Spidey and are free to make brand new Spider-Man cartoons. Here’s the link http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?rid=836

  24. Great work, Heidi, on compiling all of this! Not to complain about watching comics history unfold, but I didn’t remember to eat breakfast until 3 p.m.!

  25. Wraith says:

    I think that it would be both ironic and funny as hell, if Disney hired Jim Shooter to oversee Marvel’s publishing division.

  26. >>According to what I heard, not as long as Quesada works for Marvel.

  27. raggedy says:

    thank you for that, a very interesting read :-)

  28. Mysterius says:

    I’d like to buy 10 shares of Freedom From Corporations, Inc. Thank you.

  29. It sure is fun watching poor old Dick Cheney stumbling all over the right wing airwaves, desperately trying to poison the jury pool and dodge a VERY long stretch in a federal prison. I only saw clips of his “interview” with Chris Wallace on FOX Noise on Sunday. Someone described it as a starry-eyed teenage girl interviewing one of the Jonas brothers.

    It sure is funny observing the meltdown of Dick and Liz (Cheney – not Burton and Taylor). The trillion dollar hammer is about to hit the fan. They’re like cornered rats. Oh, man! I’m lovin’ this!

    Don’t take your eye off the Cheneys. For your best entertainment bargain, these two are the show that should not be missed. We’re talking essential viewing here!

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan, Goshen, NY

  30. Tom Spurgeon says:

    Man, for a second there I thought he meant Burton and Taylor!

  31. Dave Hackett says:

    Wait a minute, what is the Future Mr Beat doing at your place, let alone in the bedroom so early in the morning? Seems highly inappropriate to me. That sort of thing may have been given a pass at the old Marvel, but this is the Disney era now. Expect a call from Mr. Iger.

  32. The Beat says:

    FMB broke into Stately Beat Manor using his Batarang and Jaws of Life to wake me and alert me because he knew how big the story was!

  33. Caged Wisdom says:

    In regards to the Muppet thing, I think it’s telling that a year after that article the Muppets have no higher profile now than they did last year. I remember when FAO Schwarz did the big promotion for building your own Muppet via their stores and website, but I haven’t heard a peep since then.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] • The Beat: More on Marvel/Disney as Reaction Unfolds [...]

  2. [...] UPDATE: The L.A. Times weighs in on how Disney can broaden its brand with the purchase of Marvel. The Beat has a good roundup of news related to the deal, too. [...]

  3. [...] “It was one of those rare business deals that became front-page news because it reached all the way from corporate boardrooms into people’s dreams and memories: On Monday, it was announced that the Walt Disney Corporation — owners of ABC and the Muppets, ESPN and Mickey Mouse, Pixar and Hannah Montana — had purchased Marvel Comics for a staggering four billion dollars. It came as a shock — reputed, reliable and industry-standard comics blogger Heidi McDonald noted that on Monday, her morning began with her fiancé literally shaking her awake to tell her the news. It was unexpected, but not unprecedented; after all, Time Warner had bought the DC comic-book line, home to Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman and Green Lantern in 1969 — but this was a much bigger deal, for a lot more money. Soon, the internet was humming with simple, silly sight gags — Donald Duck with Wolverine’s claws, Spider-Man’s distinctive red-and-blue webbing capped with mouse ears. But those pictures are worth far less than a thousand words; what does this deal really mean, and when will we see the ramifications of it play out on movie screens and your home theater? [...]

  4. [...] 36 More on Marvel/Disney as reactions unfold [...]

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