Disney is buying Marvel (updated x2)

Spider-Mouse_colorYeah, you read that right: Disney is buying Marvel.

Walt Disney Company announced this morning that it has agreed to buy Marvel Entertainment, home of Spider-Man, X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers, for $30 cash plus 0.745 Disney shares per Marvel share, or approximately $50 per share — amount to roughly $4 billion dollars. Shareholders at Marvel will need to approve the deal first, however. Marvel would keep its maiden name in the marriage.

This is pure conjecture, but you can expect all of Marvel’s film properties currently held out of house (like Sony’s Spider-Man franchise and Fox’s X-Men franchise) to have their contracts run their course before coming home to the Marvel Studios fold: Marvel doesn’t need to take out bank loans to finance its films anymore, and it for damn sure doesn’t need to let anybody else screw up its characters.

UPDATE: Coming Soon has a couple updates for us:

1) As expected, all existing deals with other studios remain in place — for now. Similarly, Marvel’s five-picture distribution deal with Paramount remains in place (for Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers and one picture TBD), although CS includes an uncredited quote saying, “When the time comes we’ll take a closer look at it.” (Yeah, no shit.)

2) More interesting, though: “John Lasseter met with Marvel last week about a possible team-up between Marvel and Pixar and got ‘pretty excited, pretty fast.’ They say there’s definitely an opportunity there.” I honestly didn’t expect this, because to date, Pixar has been pretty content doing its own thing (the sole exception being the upcoming John Carter of Mars live-action film), but I guess it makes sense since The Incredibles was in many ways a Fantastic Four film: obviously, the House of Ideas already has some big fans at the House of Luxo, Jr.

UPDATE 2: /Film clarifies one of CS’s notes and offers a few more tidbits culled from a conference call with shareholders this morning:

1) Commenting on a possible Pixar/Marvel partnership, Disney CEO Bob Iger said, “We’ve talked about this internally. Pixar boss John Lasseter talked to the Marvel guys about this and they all got excited about it. We think there’s ultimately some exciting product that come of that. Sparks will fly!”

2) Many fanboys won’t be discouraged from whining anyway, but /Film also noted that “the company didn’t plan on interfering much with any of the in-development Marvel movies, [with Iger] using the term ‘If it ain’t broke…’ All of the creative control will remain in the hands of the people who know the Marvel Universe best: the people at Marvel.”

This attitude will likely carry over to the comics, as well, since Disney seems to be approaching this more from an intellectual property standpoint than a “let’s get into comics” standpoint.

Posted on August 31, 2009 at 07:58 by Gordon@MovieMakeout · Permalink
In: News

9 Responses

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  1. Written by Liam Kruger
    on 2009-08-31 at 10:09

    I'm…conflicted. I mean, yes, awesome that Marvel Studios now has solid bankroll support, but surely the ties to Disney will have some impact on the sort of films that are going to get churned out?

  2. Written by jay smith
    on 2009-08-31 at 13:21

    I love disney world I'm glad they made this move.

  3. Written by Chris R
    on 2009-08-31 at 13:25

    Maybe they'll get Pixar involved and make some really great movies.

  4. Written by arkonbey
    on 2009-08-31 at 13:50

    I think this is bad simply because I hate Disney since they fought to keep Mickey's copyright from expiring.

  5. Written by vaderwalks
    on 2009-08-31 at 19:51

    I can't exactly remember where I read this quote, but i think it sums up the situation pretty well:

    “Disney is not buying Marvel because they want to change Marvel. Disney is buying Marvel because they want to buy Marvel's audience.”

    Marvel has a built-in audience and, ignoring the recession, has been doing quite well with both their film projects and their comics. It wouldn't make sense for Disney to change things up and alienate thousands of regular customers, many of whom are staunchly loyal and viciously support the status-quo; it DOES make sense to get behind a company with an expanding repetoire of projects and a near-limitless pool of subject material.

    I think what people forget is that this is the Disney corporation that's buying Marvel, not Disney Animation Studios; Disney owns Miramax, ABC, ESPN, Touchstone, and many other adult-oriented companies, and it's not as if Mickey Mouse is running through all their films and programs (with the exception of ABC Kids, I suppose). Even if they hadn't already released a statement saying that they intend to keep creative control safely in the hands of Marvel, it'd be unreasonable to assume that they're just going to “PG13-ify” everything. Will things change for Marvel? Maybe, but I think those changes will be more along the lines of business plans and production deals, as opposed to de-clawing Wolverine or turning Ghost Rider into a pupet show.

  6. Written by Nahtehn Sagataw
    on 2009-08-31 at 22:51

    Funny, I always thought DC's more classic heroes fit Disney's mold better than Marvel's… I mean, what's more wholesome and American than Superman and Mickey Mouse? Marvel killed of Captain America, for cryin' out loud, and their top-selling character's a cigar-smokin' mutant with claws!

    It's a funny world we live in…

  7. Written by LiamK
    on 2009-09-01 at 05:06

    On reflection – and assuming the 'hands off' delegation of Marvel stands – this makes sense both ways, fanboy bitchery notwithstanding. Disney has access to a larger audience, which their usual fare doesn't generally touch, and is primed to make the Marvel merchandise – action figures and beyond – available in every theme park and Disney Store on the planet. Marvel, of course, gets all the cash and coverage benefits mentioned above.
    If there isn't interference in the storytelling – and why should there be? – this could work out sweetly.

  8. Written by arkonbey
    on 2009-09-01 at 14:07

    from Mark Evanier:
    “Down the line, I suspect the word “Marvel” will become about as unimportant to the Fantastic Four as “Hanna-Barbera” is now to Scooby Doo”

    Let Marvel die with Stan; it would be a fitting epitaph that it should not continue without him.

  9. Written by arkonbey
    on 2009-09-01 at 18:07

    from Mark Evanier:
    “Down the line, I suspect the word “Marvel” will become about as unimportant to the Fantastic Four as “Hanna-Barbera” is now to Scooby Doo”

    Let Marvel die with Stan; it would be a fitting epitaph that it should not continue without him.

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