A look back at Disney’s (very) winning bet when it bought out Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in 2009.
We are on August 31, 2009, when the news falls: Disney buys Marvel Entertainment for a sum of four billion dollars. Back then, the announcement had the effect of a thunderclap! The studio therefore buys Marvel Comics, Marvel Television and Marvel Studios at the beginning of the MCU is not yet divided into “phases”.
In fact, in 2009 only Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk were released in theaters, Iron Man 2 is in post-production, and it takes quite view saying that the films Captain America: First Avenger, Thor will constitute mythical characters and Avengers will be an international hit.
At the time, Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter said:
“Disney is the perfect showcase for Marvel’s fantastic catalog of characters, with its expertise in the creation and management of merchandise. This is a unique opportunity for Marvel to continue its characters with the support of the overall organization and infrastructure of Disney studios around in the world. “
The reason for the takeover… the Disney parks?!
On the Disney side, the reason for this takeover is much more pragmatic: the male public shuns the company’s theme parks around the world, which is not the case for the female public, which is always there. Having developed the theme of princesses for years meant that little boys gradually lost interest in the brand.
Superhero movies then seem to be a gift to male audiences, with their built heroes displaying unfailing virility, from Thor to the Hulk via Steve Rogers or Tony Stark.
In addition, the acquisition of the Marvel Comics catalog and brand gives Disney a publisher for merchandise derived from its successful franchise.
Additionally, it should be noted that superhero movies really start to hit when the distribution power of Disney with its theaters across the planet comes to serve Marvel Studios. The first are Avengers (2012) and Iron Man 3, both of which exceeded $1 billion at the box office!
Feature films are starting to require more and more expensive special effects, and Disney can give that kind of money to Marvel. As a result, writers and producers find themselves sprouting wings, and as long as the contributions keep coming, they can let their dreams of bringing their stable’s biggest heroes onto the big screen in computer-generated unknown worlds.
Phase 2 includes few major successes aside from Avengers 2 (and again it does slightly less than the first), but in 2014, Marvel’s creative team and Disney marketing managed to make the Guardians of the Galaxy heroes a little known, a box office success.
Overall, starting with Watchmen and then Captain America: Civil War, which kicks off Phase 3, few films will disappoint Disney in terms of entry, except for Doctor Strange and Ant-Man 2. With more than 20 billion reported since 2012, the company has largely recouped his original investment.
The Disney Empire
It was not the first attempt by the House of Mickey since on January 25, 2006, it bought the company Pixar for 7.4 billion dollars. Then barely three years later, on October 30, 2012, Marvel followed Lucasfilm, a company then owned by George Lucas, for $4.05 billion (half in cash, the other in stock). The big-eared company therefore recovered all the Star Wars, Indiana Jones or Willow films.
The Disney empire was therefore on the move until the acquisition of 21st Century Fox for 66 billion dollars! Thus, the catalog of the legendary studio can enrich the Disney + platform and the Marvel characters that Fox (X-Men, Deadpool, Fantastic Four and mutants in general) keep back in the lap of Marvel Studios.
This option allows Marvel to take a step closer to owning all the cinematic rights to its characters and to imagine new stories by finding Wolverine, Professor Xavier or Mr Fantastic by introducing them especially thanks to the concept of the multiverse.
Who will entrust years later Bob Iger, CEO of Disney from 2005 to 2021: “Marvel did much better than we expected.”