Monday, 31 August 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #360: Disney Gobbles Marvel

Welcome to the show folks.

Well, it's all over the interwebs that the Disney Media Empire has just conquered made a deal to purchase Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion.

This tells me something about Disney. The folks in charge have realized that the company's dependency on the mostly autonomous Pixar division, Dreamworks carrying their Touchstone division, and their ever shifting parade of underage pop-tarts and non-threatening boy bands is not as healthy as they would care to admit, so they went back to their strategy from the Eisner years.

They got bigger for the sake of becoming bigger.

Just take a look at this list of Disney assets. I'm sure even current CEO Robert Iger doesn't know what's going on with half of these corporate assets, and in many cases they're actively competing with themselves, and a lot of these assets are more or less moribund. Miramax is merely a shadow of its former self, and back then it was run by the Weinsteins, which is saying something.

Now onto Marvel. Right now it has a very healthy movie division, but comic book sales have been pretty much flat for a long time. Disney's clout could get the company back in the mass-market publishing business again, but, and this is a Kirstie Alley size but, I don't think they're interested in doing that.

I figure that Disney is looking at movies like Iron Man, X-Man, and Spider-Man making mega-spondooliks and want a piece of that action, and really don't care about all the other trivialities. (Forgetting that most of those franchises are in partnership with Fox, Columbia, and Paramount, and those deals cannot be ended cheaply, especially with Paramount, who desperately needs those films for their summer tent-poles, and I don't think Disney will be happy with those companies getting so much sugar from their properties.)

Also, Disney is a like a dog pissing out his territory when it comes to their "brand." Almost everything they own that they can claim some sort of "synergy" with gets Disneyfied, which I don't really think fits with Marvel's trademark brand of angsty super-heroes smashing each other in the face.

Plus while Disney is good at marketing Disney, for the most part, I don't think they have what it takes to make Marvel worth the $4 billion spent on the take-over.

Which brings me to another point. $4 billion is officially a shitload of money. Which leads to one of the problems of such take-overs, too much gets spent on the initial takeover, and not much can be done with it after the takeover. It's the story of MGM over the past 20 years, considering the company's been passed around like a doobie at a frat party, and each owner is left only enough capital to keep the company going just long enough to sell it to someone else.

I fear what might happen to Marvel, because Disney does not let go once it has sunk it's mouse claws into their cheese, and would rather let it fade away into nothingness than let anyone else do anything with it.

As you can see, I'm not too optimistic about this deal.


  1. Thoughts -

    1)Well, now, Bugs owns Superman, and Mickey owns Spider-Man.

    2)This'll make for a really frightening Kingdom Hearts 3.

    3)Sadly, Michael Eisner is no longer Disney CEO, because he and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada would get along swimmingly. Assuming they aren't actually the same person...

    4)No, I don't think I'm optimistic about this either. But really, whatever horrible things happen to Marvel, as far as I'm concerned, they had it coming.

  2. 2)This'll make for a really frightening Kingdom Hearts 3.

    More like AWESOME!!! Not to mention the potential of a Marvel vs. Squeenix game!

  3. Dirty Dingus McGee -the first- says:

    I wouldn't of believed that such a promising beginnings of a company would fall so quickly into decadence and horrible knock-offs.

    But here it is. One big damn shame.