I’m going on record with this right now. If Marvel ever pulls a lame crossover with Marvel and Disney properties, I’m done. By that I mean for example Spidey and Hannah Montana in a team up book. That shenanigans would not stand with me. (The only exception might be a Kingdom Hearts style game with Marvel Ultimate Alliance characters and Disney characters. Kingdom Hearts was cool.)
That being said, this has the potential to be a good deal for Marvel. Disney provides some big money to back the comics and the films. Now with Disney on board it would be incredible if they could acquire the rights of Spider-Man from Sony and the X-Men from Fox. Imagine, eventually, bringing those properties into the current Marvel comic’verse. Disney might have the cash to bring all the Marvel properties under the Marvel Studios/Disney banner.
I’m not worried about Disney keeping the Marvel Studio intact. They’ve already proven they can leave other entities alone. Point in case is Pixar and Disney’s dirty little secret Miramax. I bet we can expect to see more Marvel movie promotion on both ABC and ESPN now though since they are also owned by Disney. All things being equal I’m tentatively excited by this news. If it doesn’t get screwed up its good for both Disney and Marvel. If it does get screwed up, expect Marvel to get royally screwed over.
Joe Quesada came out on Twitter and said the following:
“If you’re familiar with the Disney/Pixar relationship, then you’ll understand why this is a new dawn for Marvel and the comics industry.”
This comforts me to an extent. I’m not big fan of Quesada’s because of a few choices like ending Peter and MJ’s marriage, and the abolishment of Wovlerine smoking a cigar, but I do take some comfort from this Twitter post. IF this is how things actually pan out I can live with it. Disney let Pixar basically run their own show, so maybe Marvel will get to do the same.
The following news items have been released based on a conference call Disney put on following news breaking on this subject. These items are after the jump for those that are interested.
* Existing licensing and distribution deals should remain where they are.
* Disney believes there’s real opportunity with the Marvel catalog of characters and will work on where those opportunities are greatest and how best to leverage them across the existing Marvel and Disney infrastructure.
* Disney executives went to great lengths during the call to make the point that they don’t pretend to be more expert than Marvel is in handling their characters, citing the hands-off relationship Disney has had with Pixar since the acquisition of that studio. Disney said Marvel manages the properties from a business perspective very intelligently and trusts them to make the right decisions for these products for a long time to come.
* Disney said the deal was attractive not just because they’re buying great characters, stories and brand, but about working with people who know these characters best and how best to work with them in other media.
* Again, referencing the Pixar deal, Disney finds working as one company with Marvel removes friction and creates value that’s very compelling. Licensing offers very attractive opportunities, but nothing is better than being one. International expansion of Marvel properties through Disney was cited as a potential growth area.
* Cable channel Disney XD is currently running about 20 hours a week of Marvel content and Disney has been looking to license more Marvel content and this deal gives them that opportunity as well as the opportunity to expose these characters internationally.
* With regards to video game publishing, Disney praised Marvel’s licensing agreements with some of the best video game producers and publishers in the business and said moving forward they will consider what’s best for each individual property as each licensing deal comes up for renewal and that there would likely be a blend of licensed and self-produced/self-distributed titles.
* With respect to Paramount’s distribution deal with Marvel and the Iron Man franchise, Disney has every intention to respect the deal that’s in place, but noted that it’s in their best interest, overtime, to become the sole distributor of Marvel films.
* Will Disney3D be used for Marvel movies? That will be determined by those who are in charge of producing Marvel’s theatrical films.
* When asked if there was potential for cross-polination between Marvel and Pixar, Disney said that Pixar’s John Lasseter has met with key Marvel creative executives recently and the group got “pretty excited, very fast.” Disney will look at all opportunities and thinks there are some exciting product that could come from this sort of partnership.
* Disney said this deal is expected to benefit Marvel’s retail efforts, being able to leverage Disney’s shelf space and relationships with major chains and distributors.
* The deal began when Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger reached out to Marvel Chief Executive Ike Perlmutter earlier this year. Again, Disney noted that they believe in the creative team at Marvel and see no reason to upset that applecart.
* Disney has not made any real estate decisions and sees no reason to move Marvel Studios from their headquarters in Manhattan Beach, California. No mention of Marvel Publishing’s offices in New York City was made.