Today, Walt Disney unveiled a surprise four billion US dollar bid for Marvel Entertainment, and paving the way for Iron Man, Spider-Man and Captain America to be united with Mickey Mouse and The Jonas Brothers.
Animation newsgroups were woken up to news that under this new deal, Disney will acquire more than 5,000 Marvel characters as well as several multi-million-dollar movie franchises. In return, Marvel gets the distribution heft of the world’s No. 2 media company. Films starring Marvel characters including Wolverine, Spider-man 3 and Iron Man are among the highest-grossing at the box office every summer.
Many on these USENET newsgroups consider this to be a game changer for Disney’s foes. Marvel’s rival DC Comics; with its stable of Batman, Watchmen and other, darker comic champions, is already a part of Time Warner. For the fantastic leap comic books have made to the big screen, this could be the last hurrah.
However, theme-park rival Universal Orlando will likely retain the park rights to its four Marvel superstars, including Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk.
“Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and the Marvel characters are a beloved and important part of the Universal Orlando experience. They will remain so,” said Tom Schroder, a Universal spokesman. “Our guests are going to get to meet Spider-Man and all our other Marvel characters. We believe our agreement with Marvel stands and that the Disney/Marvel deal will have no impact on our guest experience.”
Many on these newsgroups have mixed feelings over the merger. Much in the same way when Time Warner had acquired the DC franchise, many wonder how the landscape will change for their mighty heroes.