I had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fools when the news of The Walt Disney Company’s latest acquisition rolled across my screen. Disney is now the proud owner of Marvel Entertainment at a cost of a cool $4 billion. That quickly adds 5000 new characters to Disney’s cast including some of the most famous and hot properties in the market today – Iron Man, Spiderman, Thor, Captain America, and the X-men.
With Stan Lee, the creator of much of Marvel’s super hero cast, working closely with Disney for about a year now. I guess he’s had plenty of time to sow Bob Iger’s ear with how valuable a product this would be for Disney. At $4 Billion it is practically a steal compared to Pixar and Pixar has turned out to be a good buy for the Mouse House. Frankly, many analysts wondered why Disney just didn’t acquire Marvel at the same time it acquired Lee’s POW entertainment. No sense making up new superheroes when those with strong existing brands are there for the taking. Plus this might put Stan Lee back in a position of power at Marvel, which is where he belongs.
News reports indicate that there are no immediate plans to have Mickey and Ms. Marvel co-habiting at any of the theme parks or other properties. But at the same time Iger admits that Disney is now in a position of power to renegotiate all the deals that its competitors, like Sony, hold in regards to Disney. There is also ‘Marvel Island’ over at Islands of Adventure Universal Orlando. Wonder when the license agreement runs out on that (Aside: Can you say fifth gate Walt Disney World fans? WDW might finally get its thrill park. Let that sink in.) It also puts Disney head to head with Warner Brothers in the comic book to movie market place.
Is this a good deal? Well time will tell. But Disney has always been about ‘Story’ and Marvel Entertainment has some great stories to tell. So, that’s a good sign if you ask me. With Spielberg’s production company, aka Dreamworks, now on board with Disney I have to think the possibilities are endless.
I’m just waiting for the first Condorman / Spiderman crossover. You?