The Walt Disney Company has grown its enormous empire by purchasing Marvel Entertainment in a stunning news announcement today. Marvel owns the right to such superhero characters as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man. Marvel was already in the process of developing four films for release in 2011: Iron Man 2, Thor, The First Avenger: Captain America, and The Avengers.
â€œWe believe that adding Marvel to Disneyâ€™s unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation,â€ Robert Iger, Disneyâ€™s chief executive, said in a statement announcing the deal.
â€œDisney is the perfect home for Marvelâ€™s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses,â€ said Ike Perlmutter, Marvelâ€™s chief executive officer. â€œThis is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disneyâ€™s tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world.â€
Twentieth Century Fox will maintain rights to the X-Men film franchise while Sony Pictures Entertainment will continue with the Spider-Man franchise. Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion.
Disney has done well reaching out to an older audience with their Pirates of the Caribbean films and I imagine their aim for the Marvel films will be along the same lines. One thing that is certain is that this should definitely add some money to Disney’s bottom line.
Here’s a discussion question: which Disney character would you like to see go up against a Marvel character?