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31 August 2009 @ 07:33 am
Film at 11/The Hoard Potato: Disney Buys Marvel.  
That headline again:

Disney. Buys. Marvel.

Tempting as it is to just follow that with "'Nuff said", I have to wonder....
  • How will this affect Marvel Sudios and their ambitious "Avengers Cycle" movie plans?
  • Will Disney cancel the Gemstone Comics license, and start releasing Disney titles using Marvel's production and banner?
  • Conversely, will that matter if both companies continue to ignore newstand and grocery store distribution in favor of the hard-core fandom's boutique market?
  • What does this mean for Kingdom Hearts and Capcom vs. Marvel?
  • Will there be an even more vigorous crackdown on Marvel fanfic and games with "Character Creators" that let you "duplicate Marvel intellectual property", like City of Heroes and Champions Online?
  • Will Howard return to his original character design? Will he turn out to hail from Duckburg? Will he lose his pants?

If this doesn't fall through, it'll bring a symmetry to the comics world: both major comics companies will be owned by massive global media juggernauts.

Strange days indeed.

Odieodiedragon on August 31st, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
I'm also very curious as to what will happen to the Marvel attractions at Universal Studios.
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Your Obedient Serpent: barcodeathelind on August 31st, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
Always. I grew up on The Duck.

And the OTHER Ducks, as well.
The Mystery of the Supranational Rabbit: Finnish hare stampporsupah on August 31st, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
The movies do feel like the most "natural" temptation for Disney. Of course, how this is all shaped depends greatly on the people involved - in both Pixar and NeXT, the deal was very clearly defined by Jobs - but there aren't many execs with real passion for what they do, vs nominal excuse for their shameful salaries.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on August 31st, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
Do you know if this has anything to do with Marvel's complex financing for their movie deals? When some of the details of how Marvel was going to finance their recent rash of movies came out it is fair to say that it was "highly leveraged" and if there was a default it might end up with a major media conglomerate owning Marvel IPs, so . . . I find myself a bit curious if this is a forced acquisition - I noticed in the article that Marvel's BOD didn't seem to be involved in the decision, whether because they've already accepted the offer or other reasons - because of the extent to which Marvel seems to have leveraged itself on movie production. So, do you know? Know where to look? Anything?
Your Obedient Serpent: big ideasathelind on August 31st, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
Okay, now, THAT'S an interesting notion, and an entirely plausible one. No, alas, I have no idea where to dig that kind of data up.

On the flip side... even if this WAS a result of Marvel's "creative financing", that doesn't mean it was a "forced acquisition". Marvel spent most of the '90s heading into bankruptcy, and didn't really climb out of it until the 2000s. They've been steadily building up the brand and increasing the value of Marvel IP -- in no small part by leveraging company assets in ways which, as you've noted, may not have been entirely sustainable.

Marvel's management, in recent years, has been accused of treating their material as property to be licensed to Hollywood FIRST, and as comic book characters SECOND. (Or third or fourth, after toy sales.)

A long-term strategy to make themselves a useful acquisition target for a giant entertainment corporation -- like their Distinguished Competitors did years ago -- seems like a reasonable extrapolation of that policy.
Your Obedient Serpent: YAYathelind on August 31st, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
Here's an NYT article about Marvel's CEO that lends credence to both our hypotheses.

Mr. Perlmutter, as majority shareholder, looks to net about $1.4 billion from the deal.

He's ALSO staying on as Marvel CEO, which looks like a Good Decision Overall.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on August 31st, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
I was about to say if you found anything I would trust you to mention it - and, lo, you already are. ;)

I'm just academically curious, myself. I agree that Marvel might have been long courting precisely this kind of acquisition precisely so guys like that could get his $1.4 billion paycheck . . . and that it doesn't mean that this isn't because of extended leveraging because of movies, hehe. Or, perhaps, that was the entire point behind the movie deals or something like that. *shrugs* Who can say? Even anti-trust paperwork doesn't really tell a person too much about what's going on in the company.
Your Obedient Serpent: tell it like it ISathelind on August 31st, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
Heck, I'm not even saying that setting the company up for a big-ticket buyout is somehow a BAD thing. It's a positive-sum game: the architect of Marvel's revival gets filthy rich, and the company gets a measure of financial stability that it honestly hasn't had since New World Cinema (hardly a financial powerhouse) sold it off in the '80s.

It's good for Disney, it's good for Marvel, it's good for Perlmutter. Yay!

On the other claw, is it good for US? One of the worst offenders in the copyright wars has suddenly gained control of yet ANOTHER chunk of modern folklore, much of which would already be in the public domain if the Mouse hadn't repeated pushed Congress to enact ever-more-damaging Copyright Extensions.

But that's a whole 'nother topic.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on August 31st, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
I doubt it'll mean that much in day-to-day operations of Marvel. As much as I might wish for a new editorial direction in the comics, you've already covered that Disney is no longer the Mouse and just another huge media corporation of which Disney just happens to be the brand label for the conglomerate. I seriously doubt that they have any intention of “dumbing down” anything and even if they do intervene it will probably a mere shift of the burden of editorial control over comics from one shoulder to the other. It wasn't like Marvel wasn't already a multi-billion dollar corporation. This is not a case of the little fish being swallowed by a big fish, but of an enormous fish being swallowed by a leviathan. Marvel has long had a lot of editorial control from on high.

Thinking about it, right now I think that Disney is clearly good at managing brands. It might actually be good for Marvel. It's the inverse of what the worriers are concerned about. They're worried that Disney will bring the Mouse's monolithic control to Marvel. But considering how well run Disney is . . . that might not be a bad thing. I think it is at least possible that Disney will be better at running Marvel, artistically, than Marvel ran itself. ;)
Your Obedient Serpent: His Master's Voiceathelind on August 31st, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
That's pretty much my summary, too. The kvetching about copyright abuse is pretty abstract; the take-home message is that it won't have much impact at all on my regular dose of prepackaged corporate media consumption, and what impact it WILL have will be POSITIVE.

...oh, wait. I mostly read DC; it won't have much of an impact even in the worst-case scenario. ;)
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Your Obedient Serpent: tell it like it ISathelind on August 31st, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
Nope. No interest, really.

I do Tabletop RP to have face time with friends and to create my own stories; MMORPGs don't allow either.