Sep 01 2009

Disney announces deal to buy Marvel

Published by at 6:00 am under Comic Books,Commentary,Marvel Comics,News

You can see the Associated Press’ take here and The Wall Street Journal has more here (subscription required?).   I have a few thoughts below.

  • Disney is paying roughly $50 per share, which is a 29% premium over Friday’s closing.  If you own Marvel stock, you will come out ahead quite nicely on this.  It was trading around $25 earlier this year.
  • I am cautiously optimistic that Disney knows how to buy a successful firm without ruining what made it successful.  For example, Pixar’s movies didn’t drop in quality after the Disney buyout.  (Nor have they released a lot of straight-to-DVD sequels to successful movies).
  • I doubt this will have a noticeable impact on Marvel’s products.  Even the movies.
  • I think Disney is the biggest loser here.  It’s betting 4 billion dollars that it can leverage Marvel’s characters better than Marvel did.  I’m skeptical.

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Disney announces deal to buy Marvel”

  1. ShardReaperon 01 Sep 2009 at 1:23 pm

    My biggest concern is the Marvel properties. Can you imagine a Spider-Man issue with Hannah Montana?

  2. B. Macon 01 Sep 2009 at 1:40 pm

    That would be abysmal. I hate crossovers of any sort, but it’s especially bad when the two works don’t share a lot in common. Like Archie and the Punisher. (I’m not fond of using controversial political figures to sell issues, either).

    I suppose it is more likely that we’ll see something like a Gargoyles-Marvel crossover at some point in the future. Unlike most Disney properties (but like most Marvel properties), Gargoyles skews a bit older and is very male-friendly. The violence and New York connection don’t hurt, either. Crossovers always leave a very bad taste in my mouth, though.

  3. Tomon 01 Sep 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Hasn’t Marvel already done Gargoyles comics in the past though?

    I mean, Marvel has done Star Wars comics in the past, and Transformers comics. But they lost the rights to the Transformers ones twenty years ago, much to Spider-Man’s regret.

  4. B. Macon 01 Sep 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I think Marvel had a short-lived Gargoyle series in the 1990s.

  5. ShardReaperon 01 Sep 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I wouldn’t put it past them. If they had a crossover with Kim Possible or Phineas and Ferb, I’d be okay.

  6. Wingson 02 Sep 2009 at 9:14 am

    I’m still taking bets on how many Marvel hero movies get butchered because they shoved Disney Channel stars into the lead roles.

    I think that a good crossover is possible, but the stories must take place in a similar universe (If I was doing a crossover, I’d assuredly pick Darkstar Rising and HTSTW instead of, say, Darkstar Rising and Between Light And Darkness (a paranormal/fantasy written under a different name). That means no Spiderman/Hannah Montana.

    Random Hannah Fan: OMG that would B so awesomes!!!!1!!!! *whips out cellphone and starts texting* can U leik believe it its sooooo cool!!!11!! i luv Hannah!!!!111! (Wings Note: That was painful to type)

    Wings: *takes Random Hannah Fan and throws her off the Empire State Building* Come back when you get a life!

    Darkstar: *throws stick of dynamite after RHF* Good riddance!

    Wings: Any takers?

    – Wings, who should probably be doing her homework

  7. B. Macon 02 Sep 2009 at 10:03 am

    “I’m still taking bets on how many Marvel hero movies get butchered because they shoved Disney Channel stars into the lead roles.”

    I’m pretty confident the number will be zero. For one thing, most superhero protagonists are too old to be cast as Disney Channel stars. The main exception is Spiderman, and he’s probably in his early 20s (he’s engaged and appears to have graduated from college).

  8. Wingson 02 Sep 2009 at 11:32 am

    I hope you’re right, or I might turn into a DC supporter instead of a Marvel fan. I’m already picturing an Iron Man movie with Jonas Brothers music…or an X-Men comic with Hannah Montana guest-starring. *shudders*

    – Wings

  9. Lighting Manon 02 Sep 2009 at 3:09 pm

    While it mostly failed at the box office, many people consider Unbreakable, the Bruce Willis and Samuel Jackson film to be one of the best superhero movies ever made, I’m not one of them really, but it is a fairly well made origin story. It is worth mentioning that Unbreakable was released by Disney, under the label of their Touchstone Pictures front.

  10. Paul A.on 03 Sep 2009 at 10:36 am

    There’s been a lot of discussion of this topic on the MUA2 boards, which I do participate in from time to time. I’ll basically say what I said there.

    This is a potentially useful move for both Marvel and Disney. Clearly, we will not see the destruction of Marvel characters. Perlmutter will remain CEO of Marvel, as stated clearly in the news, and I highly doubt that a deal that threatens the artistic license of Marvel’s writers and inkers and creators would never have gotten past the board, much less the input of Stan Lee, who still has considerable pull, even as editor emeritus. What does Marvel have to gain from such a deal? Disney has perhaps the best marketing department in the world, second perhaps to Coca-Cola. After all, in some places, the only English some people know is “Coca-Cola” and “Mickey Mouse”! With Marvel’s continually-expanding forays into television and film, it makes sense to pair up with a long-standing giant in those two mediums. You know how Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers are on every single goddamn backpack and lunchbox and notebook? Now imagine that situation with Wolverine and Spider-Man. That’s money in the bank. Will we see a Marvel inprint featuring Disney characters (anyone remember “Scrooge McDuck” comics)? Likely, but they will not be under the Marvel line proper.

    Why did Disney take the “4 billion dollar bet”? Because while their company has a lot of market share for the ages of 0 to 12, their product is a dismal failure with the 13 to 20 age group, particularly boys. Again, what do you think of when you think of Disney? Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers: creatures marketed towards girls. With the popularity that Marvel is experiencing with its films and videogames, Disney has a chance to tap into markets they’ve had trouble with for the past twenty years or more. Disney has already begun marketing towards these groups on their channel Disney XD, which airs a lot of Marvel superhero television cartoons. This deal is merely a continuation of a trend.

    We have to remember that Disney rarely sullies everything that it touches. Disney owns ESPN, and we perhaps see an allusion to that fact only around the holidays, when ESPN covers many college bowl games, especially the Orlando ones, where Disney rules all. As much as some of us would like to see Kevin Jonas blitzed by the Steeler’s defense, it will never happen. ESPN has a very precise market share, and pushing “Disney crap” onto ESPN will cause viewers to turn elsewhere, like FOX Sports Net or Comcast Sports. Disney used to own Miramax and Touchstone Pictures. These studios produce far more mature films than Disney did, because their purpose was to cater to an older, more mature audience. Miramax, under Disney ownership, was the studio to produce Pulp Fiction, if you didn’t know. Pulp Fiction is the very antithesis of Disney. Disney owns various subsidaries to attract a wide variety of customers. You cannot do that by making all those subsidiaries like your main, children-oriented company.

    Disney is not an evil organization bent on making Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, and Hannah Montana the sole source of entertainment in the universe. Disney is an evil organization bent on owning a controlling share of the world’s entertainment markets and attracting the greatest number of customers possible through varied and diverse products.

    So basically, we all gotta be little Fonzies here. And what’s Fonzie like?

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