Friday, November 13, 2009

Breaking news: Disney Corporation buys Marvel Entertainment

X-Muppets 2099. Coming to a theater near you.

This morning the Disney Corporation shocked the comics community by merging with/ buying Marvel, Inc.

The merger means that Disney now owns Marvel's 5000 plus stable of characters, (minus the films rights to those currently under contracts to other film studios) their entire comics line and Marvel Studios, the film studio Marvel created back in 2005.

The long term effects of this purchase are only speculation at this point. As mention, several competitors currently have the film rights to Marvel characters; in particular, Spider-man (Sony) and the X-Men (Fox), Marvel's most profitable characters. Also, Universal Studios, which competes for business with Walt Disney World Resort, has an entire land themed with Marvel Characters in their Islands of Adventure theme park. The Amazing Spider-man and The Incredible Hulk are two of Universal's biggest attractions. The details of Universal's contract with Marvel is currently unknown. However, Disney is well-known for their desire to keep guests on property, so it is likely they will incorporate those characters into their parks when the contract expires. This puts the Universal Studios resort in a bit of a bind for the future. However, with the current recession, it is unlikely that Disney would commit to any major projects.

Disney currently licenses many of its properties to Boom! Studios. Boom's editor in chief is Mark Waid, a widely acclaimed comics writer who currently contributes to Amazing Spider-man and is soon to write the new miniseries, Strange (both for Marvel). Boom! has been very successful with it's licensed properties, which include the Incredibles and Cars (based on the Disney/ Pixar films of the same name) and the Muppets. It is not known how Waid and Boom! will react to the news, though Boom! still holds the rights to the licenses.

Also of issue is censorship. Disney is known for it's family friendly content. Among Marvel's most popular characters are Wolverine, the Punisher, Venom and a host of other violent, murderous sociopaths. Will Disney interfere with Marvel's editorial departments? I'll keep you informed as more news breaks.

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