Marvel’s acquisition by Disney has been successful in almost every way. They’ve coordinated a some of the comic book company’s best properties and launched a multi-billion dollar franchise in the Avengers. With the success of the Avengers they’ve asked Director Joss Whedon (who worked for Disney as a writer early in his career) to focus his energy on The Avengers franchise for the next three years. We even have a premiere date for the Avengers sequel – May 1, 2015. Between now and then our super hero diet will be stuffed full with services of Iron Man 3, Thor, and Captain America sequels.
The one area where The Walt Disney Company hasn’t yet managed to integrate Marvel is the theme parks. They’re hampered in Orlando by Universal Orlando Resort’s exclusive deal for the primary characters of The Avengers and they’re constrained by real estate in Anaheim. It will be interesting to see how Disney solves this one.
If there is one person who can figure out how to maximize Marvel’s potential in the parks, it’s Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel Entertainment. When Disney bought Marvel, Perlmutter became one of the largest shareholders in The Walt Disney Company. Perlmutter bought Marvel when it was in bankruptcy and redeemed it to the point where Disney would by it for over $4 billion.
In the Industry, Perlmutter is not known as a Hollywood type. He avoids the spotlight. But he is known for his attention to fiscal detail and for being a very tough negotiator when it comes to production deals.
The Los Angeles Times recently profiled Perlmutter and included this tidbit about the influence he has already gained within the corporate structure of Disney:
according to people inside the Burbank conglomerate, Perlmutter backed a shake-up in the consumer products group that led to the film studio’s distribution head, Bob Chapek, replacing retail veteran Andy Mooney. Mooney and Perlmutter were said to have clashed over the approach to merchandising Marvel characters. The change cleared the way for the Marvel executive to inject the Disney’s merchandise licensing group with his cost-cutting sensibilities.
Perlmutter alternates between his New York City and Palm Beach residences, which is a fact many other Disney executives are probably thankful for.
What grade would you give Disney’s management of the Marvel brand so far?