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An Eye on Marvel

Both eyes if I can spare them.

Well, things are beginning to slot into place for the growing relationship between Marvel and Disney that began in 2009. The movie contracts are beginning to play out with the end result building strong new franchises for the mouse house. Disney cable has begun to integrate the Marvel characters with a few new shows. Even the Disney theme parks have begun selling Marvel merchandise and even comic books. Expect those trends to continue.

Things could get really interesting really fast for the theme parks if Blackstone forces NBCUniversal to sell their portion of Universal Studios Orlando. That could accelerate the process for Disney to get their hands on those Marvel characters from Islands of Adventure.

So far Disney is treating Marvel much like it treats Pixar Studios. They’re a separate business doing their own thing, but occasionally Disney leverages the company’s ‘Brain Trust’ to help juice up existing properties that need a little help. That seems to be working good so far, but I wonder how long it will last.

This recent article in the NY Times checks in with Marvel and Disney and examines how the relationship is growing:

There will also be an avalanche of mass entertainment featuring Marvel characters this year, including new movies based on the X-Men, Thor and Captain America, and someday, surely, the opening of the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

But these opportunities arrive as the comics industry is still struggling to adapt to the 21st century, and Marvel’s core business faces some of the toughest challenges in its history. While its movie business thrives, its print business is contracting, and those responsible for creating its comics — a seemingly seat-of-the-pants enterprise — are more cognizant than ever of their place within a larger corporate structure.

I don’t think Disney bought Marvel for its publishing house, but rather for its characters and stories. Those will continue to thrive as long as interesting stories are being told.

What’s your take on Marvel? Are Disney and Marvel destined for good things together? Or is the fit too awkward?

7 thoughts on “An Eye on Marvel”

  1. I’m for it! Disney should take a truck to the Universal yardsale. They could probably get a good deal on the Hulk and Spider Man rides, respectively. Those would go nicely in the Marvel Land area of DHS (right next to Star Wars Land!). And that’s how you make DHS the most popular themepark at WDW.

  2. I love the integration of Disney and Marvel, and I can’t wait to see how it grows. Iger was remarkably shrewd to acquire Marvel to plug the only real gap in the Disney Demographic landscape – teenage boys. And as an added bonus, the Marvel properties can have a broader appeal too.

    Once all the existing Marvel movie deals come to their conclusion, Disney/Marvel is going be a juggernaut, with a near monopoly on commercially viable super hero movies. The Batman franchise is the only major success to DC’s name – the Superman franchise is in such dire straits it’s being rebooted because the semi-rebooting sequel failed to revive it. But even assuming they do get Superman back in action, WB will still be no match for Disney’s Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man, Hulk, Fantastic Four (The two movies so far may have sucked, but the property is popular and in the right hands it’ll work) and more.

    Looking even further ahead, the prospect of a Marvel-themed Disney Park – perhaps at Walt Disney World, or at Disneyland Resort paris – or both – is indeed a tantalising one.

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  6. I’m a Disney nut, but all my friends are Marvel nuts. And from a comic’s point of view they have all said that Disney’s messing too much with Marvel stories in a negative way. I don’t know enough about marvel comics to have a say, but I know they all don’t like it… course, I have this suspicion it’s just the fanboyism inside them complaining…

  7. To be honest, I don’t think taking out the Marvel rides out of the Universal Studio Orlando themepark is a very good idea. Half of the park is made up of things dealing with Marvel and I think that would be in bad taste to take them out. I think they should stay the where they are. Disney and Universal should come up with an agreement on keeping them there at Universal. Plus, I’ve talked to some fans of Marvel and they’re still not too fond of some of the things Disney is doing. So, I think Disney should be extremely how they handle Marvel.

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