Disney Buys Marvel

The future of the Marvel Superhero movies (once all current deals expire anyway) now fall under the house of the mouse. It was announced today that Disney has bought Marvel. The press release reads as follows:

Building on its strategy of delivering quality branded content to people around the world, The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. in a stock and cash transaction, the companies announced today.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney on August 28, 2009, Marvel shareholders would receive a total of $30 per share in cash plus approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each Marvel share they own. At closing, the amount of cash and stock will be adjusted if necessary so that the total value of the Disney stock issued as merger consideration based on its trading value at that time is not less than 40% of the total merger consideration.

Based on the closing price of Disney stock on Friday, August 28, the transaction value is $50 per Marvel share or approximately $4 billion.

“This transaction combines Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories,” said Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney.”

“We believe that adding Marvel to Disney’s unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation,” Iger said.

“Disney is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses,” said Ike Perlmutter, Marvel’s Chief Executive Officer. “This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney’s tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world.”

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Marvel including its more than 5,000 Marvel characters. Mr. Perlmutter will oversee the Marvel properties, and will work directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build and further integrate Marvel’s properties.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Marvel have each approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, effectiveness of a registration statement with respect to Disney shares issued in the transaction and other customary closing conditions. The agreement will require the approval of Marvel shareholders. Marvel was advised on the transaction by BofA Merrill Lynch.

Now… before getting too worried about Disney ruining everything that Marvel has accomplished… keep this in mind. Many were worried about the same thing when Disney bought Pixar, but the reality has been that Disney has allowed Pixar to function pretty independently and we can probably expect the same for Marvel as well.

Paramount still has the rights to distribute “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “Captain America” and “The Avengers” as per their pre-existing agreement, but Disney will probably take over all distribution rights after that deal lapses.

So what do you think?

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87 thoughts on “Disney Buys Marvel

  1. I believe the way it is going to work is all deals willstay in place however now Disney owns Marvel so 20th Century and sony etc will now have to pay Disney the licensing fees that they would have paid to Marvel. So Disney did this because of the money aspect let others distribute the product and Disney makes profit due to the licensing fees withou worrying about if the movie bombs at the box office.

  2. Okay. Okay. I’ve gotten over the initial heart-breaking trauma. I heard Editor Quesada say the characters would be untouched, so I guess I’m okay. Marvel gets deeper pockets, and more exposure. Disney gets a new cash cow. The terror that looms before me is not what Disney might do to the characters in the comics, but rather what they’ll do with them by their own distribution (Super Hero Squad, anyone? Blech).

  3. Well, at first glance, this whole thing seems really weird to me. And also, images in my head of many new cartoons on the Disney channel staring dumbed down versions of beloved Marvel characters and maybe even Marvel movies like that as well.

    But then I think about how there have been quite a few major beloved companies being bought out by bigger ones over the past couple years that seemed odd in the first place and also that the buying company would cause the other one to change vastly. Although drastic change never really happened for any of them and the awesomeness of those companies still remain intact today. Some of the companies are as fallows:

    BioWare, bought by EA.

    Blizzard Entertainment, bought by Activision.

    Most notably Pixar, bought by Disney, as John already mentioned.

    All 3 of these companies were thought, by fans and others, that their new parent companies would rape them of there former selves, forcibly transforming them into nothing but a glimmer of their former glory. When in fact, it has been shown since these deals were made, that nothing could be farther from the truth.

    But that’s because those companies have a renowned respect for them selves, both in what their companies mean to their fans, what their fans expect of them and what a high quality standard they represent with their products, in each of their respective mediums. And that being said, their isn’t a doubt in my mind that Marvel too feels this exact way about all of it’s beloved characters, worlds, and properties. Marvel has been working very hard of the last few years to bring both it’s comics back and the movies based on it’s most prized characters, to a level of utterly amazing.

    I simply don’t thing Marvel is going to let Disney change that, no matter what.

  4. When I first heard the news I was, I admit, in a knee jerk reaction (see “What if Pixar did Marvel” comments) and thought, like most of you, a bad idea. I remember once when the last time a studio (the defunct New World) bought Marvel. Lots of pix in development, only one “sort of” came out (the Dolph Punisher)- the studio went under, and some years later, Marvel filed Chapter 11. They bounced back, and the film streak has been in high gear, with more hits than misses.

    Now this news.

    As I have read the comments, I have changed my mind. Okay. I’m still slightly skeptical. But folks, intl friends, I had these two thoughts. I want to thank HAZMAT for the second one. Take a bow Haz.

    Thought one:


    Thought Two:

    The question came up, whose studio logo would appear in front of Marvel. Would it all be ‘Walt Disney’. Could it be ‘Touchtone’? Could ‘Hollywood’ (think Sphinx) resurface?

    Then it smacked me in the face like a wet towel.
    Not ONE of them.

    I’m not saying this is so…I don’t have access to a crystal ball. But hear me out. What if… Marvel Entertainment remained, acting like a subsidary studio of Disney, like Touchtone or Hollywood? In other words, let’s say Marvel backs…well let’s say Runaways. There is NO studio logo preceding the Marvel one. Marvel *is* the studio.

    Marvel’s film division becomes like a Miramax/Dimension film arm. This would include live action be it theatrical or DTV animated films (such as they had with Lionsgate).

    Any rights connected to other studios (Sony, Fox etc) remain in place. I’m still skeptical, but I’m not as dismissive as I was twenty minutes ago.

    1. I think Disney will show up first THEN Marvel.

      Because if you watch a Pixar movie youll notice that Disney always pups up first THEN Pixar.

      Thats just a thought though, a small pattern that I think would make some sence.

      I love disney and…its amazing.

      But, Am I the only one here that thinks that itll look a LITTLE gay to havwe Disney come up in the opening credits of my Punisher movie? (Im not saying there will be another Frank Castle movie, im just pointing this out as an example)

      I dont think its that good for Disney to display their logo in some movies…like what if some rated R mMarvel movie is released? Very possible.
      Just a thought.

      Disney DOES own the Desperate Housewives but you dont see the Disney logo popping up in THEIR opening credits. Or whatever they have. (Or does it? does anyone here watch Desperate Housewives?)

  5. DC was the squeaky clean franchises and marvel had the deep dark characters like wolverine, all the x men, iron man (drunk) and the hulk. Disney and pixar will never compromise it’s core predicables in film making and branding. I don’t think no one one this board would want that ether, but at one time Disney owned touchstone pictures with had some violent release’s

  6. I think I just went into shock.

    I’m not up for this. To me, right now, Disney has hit rock bottom with the shit they’ve been putting out there. Bullshit like G-Force (“TALKING HAMSTERS IS NOT G-FORCE!”), Hannah Montana, Underdog. All that stuff. I’m afraid they might screw up Marvel.

  7. Oh God no. John, you said that you worked in law for a while, so tell me, is there any sort of loophole that Marvel Comics can find that can legally tell Disney “Fuck you, we’re staying independent?” Because everything that Disney has been doing, besides Pixar, for the last almost ten years has been nothing but pure poison. This isn’t right.

  8. all i can think about is the theme park possibilities. im guessing that universal theme parks will have to stop using marvel characters & that those same characters will be used at disney parks now, & also there’s the possibilities of marvel based rides, even though universal already has a few of those

  9. My knee jerk reaction was – Hell no! However, after that my friend and I started chatting back and forth about the pros and cons and when you look at both Miramax and Pixar this merge isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What makes me most excited is a Pixar/Marvel collaboration. Then the possibility of Spidey and X-Men and even FF coming back into the family though I doubt that will happen any time soon.

  10. This is a great for a Marvel vs Disney video game.

    Wolverine vs Jack Sparrow
    The Punisher vs Snow White
    Hulk vs Mr. Incredible
    Iron Man vs Buzz Lightyear


  11. I just worry that the marvel universe will become as watered down and crappy as everything else disney. I can only hope that disney just wanted merchandising rights and not creative control of the movies. I guess that I worried about disney buying pixar as well but these are 2 very different properties, guess we can only wait and see. I just hope disney doesn’t stick their nose to far into the marvel universe I’d hate to seeanything change and the mouse be the death of the marvel verse…..

  12. great move for disney. I think people are overreacting, Disney has released plenty of R-Rated or PG-13 rated movies through it’s branches before. And most of the Marvel Movies have been pg-13 anyway, because they expect to make a ton of money and break biggest weekend records with each new release.

  13. I am ambivalent.

    After current movie deals run out it will probably mean fewer Marvel movies per year.

    OTOH Pixar+ Marvel = AWESOME! The mind boggles at what these two creative powerhouses could accomplish.

  14. @hazmat

    kick ass is a marvel published comic but lionsgate is distributing that NOT disney.

    I am pretty sure disney will do only comic books that can be made into PG or PG-13 movies. Though preferably pg-13.

    1. Thank you =]

      But what does this mean for Universal Studios? All the rides on Universal belong to Disney? Are they getting rid of Islands of Adventures? Disney now OWNS half the park.

      That theme park is FUCKED.

      I have to google if theres ever been a rated R Disney movie. I mean The Desperate Housewives are Disney and so is ESPN so…I guess?

      1. As Phil said, a new attraction at Universal is underway; this could help make room for Harry Potter. As for the Marvel bit, I’m going to go on a limb here, but…I think they’ll just move across the yard, so to speak.

      2. Haz, I have a thought about the MARVEL logo. First of all, regardless of if it the Walt Disney studio logo, Touchtone, Hollywood, Dimension etc. how is that any different that Paramount in front of Iron Man or Fox in front of Wolverine?

        Not to mention that I have a theory…. (see below)

  15. I don’t think fox will let go of x-men at all. It is their only franchise that makes some money.

    Daredevil and F4 though will definitely move or maybe fox will give a big f u to fans and marvel by rushing both movies into production.

  16. John

    Does this mean that Disney now owns Sony characters like Spiderman? Do they own Ironman and the X-MEN?

    I only ask because….thatd be a good thing! We dont have to wait for Sony to merge with anyone for Spider-Man to be on a “New Avengers” film.


    Wave goodbye to future badasss rated R films like Punisher 2 or Moonknight

    Hey Kick-Ass is Marvel…that means that itll be a rated R Disney movie…is this a first?

  17. I’m extremely encouraged by the news. Disney have gotten their act together in the last few years, bar one or two silly mistakes. As long as Disney understands how you make these films work and get behind Marvel’s plans for a consistent film universe, we could have something really special.

    Maybe they can get Brad Bird to a real Fantastic Four movie :)

  18. I’m pretty unhappy about this news. There is way too much consolidation going on in business these days. And i’m just wary if it would effect future movie releases, if things would be toned down or not.

  19. Also, I can almost assure you that the first film from Disney+Marvel will be Fantastic four if fox looses the rights.

    It just seems like the kind of freindly comic book with cool stuff that Disney would make a movie of.

  20. I think this is win/win. Marvel characters are going to get even more exposure, and Disney theme parks are going to be that much more attractive to boys and that is what Disney wants. I think Universal Studios is going to lose some names on some of their rides and attractions once this is done. Pixar has been fine under the powerhouse Disney umbrella, and people worrying about characters being tamed because of the Disney name obviously haven’t paid attention. At the end of the day, Disney will do what is best for the bottom line.

  21. Holy Shit!?!?!?!

    Did that really just happen???

    Did they buy ALL of marvel’s properties or just their movie division???

    If so, what happens to marvel island in universal studios??? Disney should totally open some marvel rides at their parks!!!

  22. Uh-oh…., so does this mean we’ll see Spider-Man at the Haunted Mansion? Wolverine battling the Yeti on the Matterhorn? Would be pretty funny to hear Disney say, ” Hey, we want the next Punisher movie to be more family oriented”. :-P

  23. I think its a bad idea, notice how problems DC has had becasue they were attached at the hip to Warner Brothers…

    Besides, how long is the Superhero movie fad going to last past The Avengers? Odds are Disney will only start reaping the benefits of this after everyone’s sick of these franchises.

    1. “I think its a bad idea, notice how problems DC has had becasue they were attached at the hip to Warner Brothers…”

      Which problems would those be?

    1. Nothing, really. I don’t think there will be any ‘R’ rated Marvel related films, not under the Disney banner. Even if there were, there’s always the Touchtone label. Or they can revamp Hollywood Pictures.

      The only R rated Marvel films was the Punisher and Blade films; both are set up at other studios and/or have run the course.

      1. Marvel Studios agreed upon it’s founding that they would not release any R movies anyway. Although I wish they’d reconsider. Well, too late now (probably).

  24. i doubt they will interfere with the movies at all…disney also owns miramax i believe…they put out the kill bill movies and gangs of new york…not exactly ‘disney’ movies…i bet the first batch of marvel movies disney has involvement with will be put out on miramax.

    not worried about this in the least.

    1. Except that Mirimax has not been nearly as influential since Disney ran the Weinsteins out of that movie compay…so the concern is legitimate. Mirimax operated pretty independantly for a while until things came to head between the two boards.

      Pixar is fine for now; Marvel probably the same…the concerns over interference will always be the dark cloud looming over both Pixar and Marvel now.

      1. Disney bought the company in 2005.
        Since then miramax has been involeved with Gone Baby Gone, No Country for Old Men, and There will Be Blood.
        3 movies that were considered success’ box office wise and all legitimately accepted as good films.
        Do you think disney had ANY involvement with those movies?

        i can understand SOME slight concern, but people are overreacting like crazy.

  25. Interesting. I curious how things will play over the year. I’m still a little confused. So does Sony still own Spider-Man movie rights? Does Fox still own X-Men movie rights? Or does Disney own them now?

    1. Unfortunately, I think Fox still owns X-Men until that deal expires. As long as they keep making films with the X-Men characters, they hold onto the rights.

      Which is a shame as the one thing I want more than any other is for Marvel to take the rights back to X-Men and start over with the films.

      1. all the franchises that matter are still with other studios and a lot of those deals have a long way to go unbtil they revert back to marvel/disney. so this doesn’t effect the movie side of things too much. I mean we are probably going to see some c list characters get films.

        this is more about merchandise, theme parks all the other types of revenue streams attached to these characters more then the films.

        oh and we can expect saturday morning cartoons like “marvel babies” and things of that nature!!

  26. All I have to say is that The Punisher and Wolverine better still be able to KICK ASS. I don’t want to find them skipping through a meadow with Bambi. If Wolverine ever comes up on Bambi he better take that wimpy deer down with a Berserker attack and eat him for an afternoon snack.

  27. Marvel has been doing so well with their movies of late. If it ain’t broke…

    But then I’m thinking strictly in terms of movies. Other products, I’m not really concerned with.

    Curious though – What happens to the rides at Universal that Disney just bought the character rights to? It’s a competing theme park.

  28. I don’t know what to make of this. Disney is such a powerhouse it may well be a great move for Marvel. On the other hand Disney may try to tame certain Marvel characters for fear that too much violence would reflect poorly on the company.

  29. Fantastic move by Disney. The content they just aqcuired is sgnifigant as we all know. So not only do they have the movies, but they will be able to integrate into the theme parks as well. I just hope they let Marvel run their content the same way…which they prolly won’t.

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