Posted by: themoviecheese | February 1, 2011

My View On Disney Buying Marvel…

Last year, entertainment powerhouse Disney made one of the best business decisions they’d ever made: they bought comic book and movie beast Marvel Entertainment. This unites such characters as Mickey Mouse with Spider-man and the Incredible Hulk. It’s an unbelievably genius move…

1. Marvel’s Rising Movie Popularity

As much as I hate to admit it (being a DC fan), Marvel are the current powerhouse when it comes to superhero movies. One could argue that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are the greatest superhero movies ever made, but that’s just two DC movies. Compare that to the sheer gargantuan list of successful (both box office and critically) Marvel movies over the past 15 years. The Spider-man Trilogy, X-men Trilogy, Blade Trilogy, Punisher movies, Iron Man – these are all Marvel movies. Even stuff like the Fantastic Four and Hulk movies, while not that well received, still picked up a fair amount at the box office. Marvel Studios have taken a massive boom, that much is certain.

2. Marvel Can’t Handle Their Popularity

“It cost 4 billion dollars for Disney to buy Marvel. That’s a huge chunk of change. But to Disney, it’s fucking peanuts.”

Argue this point if you will, but it’s true. Pretty soon, Sony will hand their Marvel properties (namely the Spider-man movies) over to Marvel for a 100% share. And with a re-boot already in place, would Marvel be able to handle the inevitable stress and pressure to add Spider-man into the Avengers franchise at the last minute. The short answer is: no, not without help. That’s where Disney come in. It cost 4 Billion dollars for Disney to buy Marvel. That’s a huge chunk of change. But to Disney, it’s fucking peanuts. Like the equivalent of me or you buying a new DVD. Disney know what they’re doing with this one, they know that Marvel can’t handle their incoming workload, and they want to help because there is huge profit to be had in it. In the long run, it’s very beneficial for both businesses; it’ll be a 50-50 partnership.

3. The Avengers

This year, Marvel have a handful of BIG franchise starters coming out: Thor, Captain America, and (if Edgar Wright pulls his finger out) Antman. Then, with those films released, comes the task of combining them all together. Marvel are planning on doing the same that they did with their comic books, by combining their greatest superhero properties into The Avengers. The first indication of this happening was in Iron Man when Colonel Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) appeared in a post-credits sequence, and then reappeared in Iron Man 2 as a fully fledged character. There was also a cross over in the Edward Norton-starring Incredible Hulk movie when Tony Stark/Iron Man himself (Robert Downey Jr) showed up at the end of the movie. This much is a fact: The Avengers movie will be amazing, the ultimate comic book movie. Disney and Marvel really are pulling out all the stops to ensure fans aren’t disappointed. They’ve hired uber-geek Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly/Serenity) to write and direct the project (he’s also written the script for Captain America: The First Avenger). Truth is: it’s going to take a miracle for any DC movie to beat it on spectacle alone. That’s a VERY hard thing for me to say (again, being a DC fan), but it’s the truth. The Avengers will be the new Dark Knight.

4. Misconceptions

“Production companies like Touchstone Pictures, Buena Vista, Miramax and Dimension are all owned by Disney.”

Too many people out there have the horrible misconception that Disney is “just a studio for kids movies”. They seem to forget, or just plain don’t know, about the assets that Disney already own and have produced movies out of for years. Production companies like Touchstone Pictures, Buena Vista are all owned by Disney. Also, past companies Dimension and Miramax (home of the Weinstein Brothers) were also apart of Disney before they disbanded in 2005 and 2010. Miramax and Dimension are responsible for such prominently independent adult movies as Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction (in fact, Quentin Tarantino’s entire library of films, along with most of Robert Rodriguez’s films like Sin City & Desperado), they were also responsible for Kevin Smith’s earlier films starting from Clerks right up until Zack & Miri Make A Porno. In fact, Kevin Smith often praises his “mentor” Harvey Weinstein (co-founder of Miramax/Dimension) for his loyalty to young independent film makers. Add that to Touchstone Pictures, and we have movies such as Good Morning Vietnam, Down And Out In Beverly Hills, Con Air, Enemy of the State, Remember the Titans and the American remake of Dark Water – all of which are predominantly adult (rated 15/18 or rated R/PG-13) movies. And these are all produced under Disney somewhat. So you can by all means say that if it weren’t for Disney there’d be no Mickey Mouse or Beauty and the Beast…but you can also say that if it weren’t for Disney there’d be no Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez, and there’d certainly be no Kevin Smith because I can assure you now that no other company would have bought a black & white movie about two losers working in a convenience store. It’s funny how that works isn’t it?

5. Disney Need More Material For Disney World/Land

This is a definite. Within a couple of years we will see Spider-man and Iron Man rides at Disney World and Disneyland. Disney are running out of big ideas for their theme parks. Other than create more kiddy-themed rides for their own movies, they need a source from somewhere else, and Marvel superheros is the perfect place to start.

6. Animated Movies

“DC has a hold over Marvel animation-wise that will be very difficult to get out of.”

The one thing that DC really has a hold over Marvel in at the moment is the small screen. Marvel’s little stouts in animation: X-Men Evolution, the countless tie-in animated movies…none of them even come close to the qualities of DC’s stuff: The Justice League series, The phenomenal Batman animated series from the 90s, likewise the Superman animated series, the DCU animated movies: Green Lantern First Flight, Superman Doomsday, Crisis On Two Earths. DC has a hold over Marvel animation-wise that will be very difficult to get out of. A partnership with Disney is unlikely to create anything better than Bruce Timm could think up, but it will most certainly help.

Simply put, Disney buying Marvel is a HUGE step in the right direction for both companies. Disney need to expand their assets after the fall of Dimension/Miramax, and Marvel need help with the huge workload they have coming up. The future of Marvel is about to get very interesting.

My only wish is that DC and Warner Bros follow suit with a Justice League (fusion of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter etc) movie. Obviously Christopher Nolan’s version of Batman wouldn’t fit in with the likes of Superman and Green Lantern, but the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises is Nolan’s final Batman movie. This could, albeit in many years, give rise to a less realistic reboot. Don’t get me wrong, Nolan’s Batman films are a fantastic achievement, but they are nothing like the comic books. I would love for someone like Terry Gilliam or David Fincher to direct a more fantasy-orientated Batman movie some time in the future. And that could tie in very well with a Justice League team up.

DC need to boost their popularity in a huge way if they are going to come close to Marvel in the movie world. They have a Green Lantern movie out this summer, but we haven’t seen enough of it to really pass judgement yet. I mean, I’ll probably think it to be the greatest thing ever, but then I’m a biased DC uber fan. There’s talk of a Wonder Woman TV series, and a Robin TV series being made by the Smallville peeps.

The future for comic movies is going to get very interesting for both Marvel and DC, and I think in the end, neither will be victorious, it’ll be of equal measure.

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