When I first saw someone mention Disney buying Marvel this morning on Twitter, I thought it was a joke. Then, more and more people said it, adding links to The New York Times and MarketWatch for verification. Alas, it is true. Walt Disney Company is buying Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion.
What does this mean? Who knows. Disney keeps saying it wants to let Marvel do what it does, with no plans to interfere with the creative process of the comics. Disney also says it will respect Marvel’s current contracts with other movie and game production and distribution companies, so the whole Avengers line of movies seems safe.
Practically, this is probably good for Marvel. Disney allots Marvel a much wider audience and distribution around the world. As discomforting a thought of seeing Marvel products in Disney Stores around the world is, it’s good business for Marvel. That doesn’t just go for merchandise. Disney can also serve to distribute future Marvel movie products. Worried they will try to kid-ify them? Just keep in mind Disney also released Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill (through its division of Miramax Films).
Of course, this buyout will be met with hesitation, but why? Let’s look at Marvel’s number one competition: DC Comics. DC is owned by mega-corporation Time Warner. Time Warner leaves well enough alone when it comes to the actual comics. The problem comes to the adaptations. DC technically should have had a leg up on Marvel for years, having one film company to do all of its titles (Warner Bros.). Stringing its franchises together in film form should have been simple. However, corporate red tape got in the way, and before you knew it, Marvel actually made its own movie production company to bring us this line of Avenger movies.
Why should you NOT worry about that? When Time Warner acquired DC Comcis, it acquired merely a comic book company. When Disney buys Marvel Entertainment, it will be acquiring an entertainment company already complete with its own movie production studio. If Disney does stick to a hands-off policy like it says, Marvel should still be able to produce the continuity-filled movies its fans want.
Of course this leaves a couple of questions unanswered. For one, when is Disney going to move the Marvel rides at Universal’s Island of Adventure across town to Walt Disney World? I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. As long as Disney doesn’t try to dictate content, Marvel should be fine and Disney should get a cut of the pie.
If only Disney would use some of its billions to help lower Marvel Comics’ cover costs, then I’d be happy.