Thursday, July 21, 2011

Marvel And The Mouse

I'm sure this won't be the last time the relationship with Disney and Marvel will be discussed in the life of this blog. As they say, "it's complicated". Disney bought Marvel and its catalog of some 5000 comic characters for $4,000,000,000 a year and a half or so ago - that's 4 billion. Disney knew about Marvel's contractual arrangements with various movie studios to produce Marvel superhero movies for the next few years - assorted Spidermans, Iron Mans, Avengers, etc.. Disney was OK with taking Marvel's cut of the movie profits without producing the actual movies themselves. And Disney knew that Marvel had a contract with Universal that gave exclusive rights to Marvel characters to Universal east of the Mississippi River so we have Islands Of Adventure at Universal Orlando. This arrangement is to go on for the next several years.

But apparently there is nothing from preventing Disney from dropping Captain America right smack in the middle of Disneyland tomorrow if they wanted. So the debate now rages as to how, when, and where Disney introduces Marvel characters into their California theme parks. It's a moved that is either loved or loathed on the Disney fan front. The younger, predominantly male, Disney fans of the video game generation can't wait. The older, more traditional, Disney fans hopes it never happens. From what I have read, there isn't a lot of middle ground here.

I don't know what will happen. I do know that Disney stockholders want a return on a 4 billion dollar investment and if it takes introduction of Marvel characters into their parks to generate theme park ticket sales, they will do it. But it must be done cautiously and creatively. The internet has been consumed with bringing something to the equivalent of Iron Man 2's Stark Expo (based on the 1964 World's Fair) to Disneyland's Innoventions. Not sure where that rumor started but a lot of people who find no use for Innoventions applaud a move like that.

It is hoped that some announcement about plans for Marvel and Disney will be made at this year's D23 Expo. We have about a month to go before we find out. In the meantime, forums light up and rumors fly.

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