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?