So Disney is all set to buy Marvel for four billion dollars in cash and stock, but what does that mean for the future of these two entertainment goliaths?
Both sides appear to be gushing over the future possibilities which of course means Marvel characters, and there are some 5,000 of them, should start popping up on Disney’s TV networks, movies and theme parks. But is it really that simple?
Currently Paramount hold a 5 picture deal for Marvel intellectual property which includes Iron Man and the Avengers. Universal retains contractual rights over the Hulk. 20th Century Fox has the current movie rights for X-Men, with 3 movies in the pipeline X-Men Origins: Magneto, Deadpool and Wolverine 2. Oh, and Sony Pictures has the rights to a certain web-slinger. Getting out of these deals to give Disney exclusive ownership and distribution will prove nigh-on-impossible so it’ll be a few years before any of the big guns are prefaced with the Disney arch and castle.
Nickelodeon and Fox Kids currently have the cartoon rights for the X-Men, Spider-man and the Avengers but these should be much simpler to switch onto Disney’s ABC based network. The Disney deal would also see the chance for a cross-over between Disney characters and their Marvel counterparts. Speaking as a gamer I loved Kingdom Hearts on the PlayStation which allowed the player to interact with the world of Disney and Final Fantasy. A Marvel/Disney version would be fantastic.
Away from the visual medium the move will allow Marvel characters to start popping up in Disney’s many theme-parks around the globe allowing Disney to target a older audience for these cash generating enterprises. Quite how this will pan out with Universal promises to be interesting as they currently have Hulk, Spidey and Dr. Doom rides in their Orlando based Islands of Adventure and elsewhere.
Disney currently has a whole range of comics, with almost all being exclusively aimed at kids and tweens. The Marvel purchase will see them grasp a a large hold in the key purchasing power demographic, 18-35 year olds. Gaining access to Marvel’s distribution outlets will also prove a major boon.
This is of course Disney’s biggest purchase since they acquired Pixar for $7 billion a few years ago and the potential pairing of these two creative forces could be electrifying. On the whole I’m of the opinion that this should work. How about you?