Disney Buys Marvel: What We Know About The Deal (So Far)

This week started off with some big news, as the Walt Disney Company announced plans to buy Marvel Entertainment in a $4 billion deal. The deal would give Disney ownership of the entire line of Marvel characters, as well as Marvel Studios, Marvel Animation and the various subdivisions under the Marvel banner.

The comics community has reacted to the deal with quite a bit of skepticism thus far, but word from the Marvel camp is that the deal could open more doors than it closes for the so-called “House of Ideas.”

Here’s what we know thus far about how the deal will affect various Marvel properties:

1. MARVEL MOVIES: Disney will continue to honor Marvel’s third-party deals with 20th Century Fox, Sony and Paramount (among others), but will look to bring everything in-house as those deals expire.

“It clearly would be in our best interest if we ended up as the sole distributor,” Disney CEO Robert Iger said during a conference call this morning. “When you distribute your own films, the opportunity is even better.”

2. MARVEL CHARACTERS: Early reports indicate that Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter will remain responsible for deciding where the publisher’s stable of 5,000 characters will show up within the Disney world, including video games, online content and television.

3. MARVEL THEME PARKS: According to PaidContent, you shouldn’t expect any big changes regarding Marvel’s theme park presence, either. Disney CFO Tom Staggs said the company wouldn’t be making “some distinct and separate effort” when it comes to setting up something like a specific section in Disney theme parks or standalone Marvel parks.

4. MARVEL/DISNEY CROSSOVERS: Iger stated that along with internal discussions about developing synergy between Marvel and Disney properties, there have also been meetings between Pixar and Marvel about potential projects.

“The group got pretty excited pretty fast,” said Iger. “Sparks will fly.”

5. MARVEL ON TV: According to today’s conference call, one of the main reasons Marvel was attractive to Disney is that it provided a connection with young, male audiences that the company had lost touch with in recent years. While there’s probably some argument to be made about whether Marvel’s main audience actually is young boys (as opposed to older males), the most immediate effect will be more Marvel programming on the Disney XD channel.

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