In all this hoopla around the Disney acquisition of Marvel Entertainment, there’s a very important thing to note: no one saw it coming. We live in a world where almost any entertainment business news is leaked or hinted or predicted. This news, however, almost no one saw coming. The reactions have been mixed, but to me, it makes total sense. Both brands/companies are very good at what they do, but they also do very different things. So how will things intersect?
Devin Faraci at CHUD worries about how this will impact Marvel’s recent hot streak of film adaptations: “But movies? This is where I get worried. And not for content. I think Disney will let Marvel Studios make their movies their way. But the big problem for DC characters at Warner Bros is that the studio will only distribute so many DC movies a year. The way that Marvel was set up before the deal, they could strike distribution deals with different studios, ensuring a large stream of film content. Will Disney be happy to put out three or more Marvel movies a year?”
At Cinematical, Erik Davis wonders Will Pixar Make a Marvel Movie?, reporting “On the conference call earlier, they noted that Pixar’s John Lasseter has already taken a meeting with the Marvel folks to begin brainstorming different collaborations, and apparently that meeting went extremely well — which means there’s a very good chance we’re going to see Pixar’s name on an upcoming film featuring Marvel characters.”
Anne Thompson looks at the business sense on Marvel’s behalf: “Why would Marvel sell with profits rolling in? The economy, stupid. Marvel has financing and investors like everyone else; their main backing came from Merrill Lynch. If it was hard for Steven Spielberg to line up financing for DreamWorks, Marvel also faced tough going. In another economy, it would have made sense to remain in charge of their own destiny.”
David Poland (as usual) spikes his optimism with some caution: “Unlike the Pixar deal, which included the talent (Lasseter) to revive a somewhat moribund in-house animation business as well a very strong, if very annually limited production partner, Marvel is a straight character play with some real question marks about how its movie future will play out. Iron Man is theirs, outright. But Paramount will eat the distribution gravy off of the top. Spider-Man is, essentially, Sony’s, while Marvel gets a cut. Same with Fantastic Four and X-Men and Fox. But the next move Marvel has planned, building towards The Avengers, is a giant question mark. Will Thor and Captain America and, who else, The Scarlett Witch… She Hulk… work? Any of them?”