Fear not 'True Believers,' this could be the deal of a lifetime!
As you may have already heard, earlier this morning the Walt Disney Company announced in an official press conference that they have managed to solidify their acquisition of Marvel Studios and it's "portfolio of 5,000 characters." The question on the minds of most comic book fans is whether or not the buyout will effect the development of the characters and what this means for the future. In other words, for example, will the "merc with a mouth" still have "a mouth"?
I want to tell you exactly why it is a good thing.
Firstly, I do not believe Disney would pay 4 billion dollars to purchase a company just so they can change it. From a purely business perspective, and I quote the Disney execs when I say this, "if it ain't broke" don't 'fix' it. Disney has witnessed Marvel expand and evolve from being solely a publishing company to a media giant. As a company, they would be foolish to tamper creatively with the success of the company and its characters, and I do not believe they would invest a tremendous amount of money just to do so.
Disney executives made a point during the call to infer that "no one knows Marvel characters like Marvel...[and that] Disney respects Marvel to give and allow [them] creative control of the company."
At the moment, less than 50% of Marvel's revenue is international. This deal is about expanding revenue, and getting the Marvel brand out to people who might not be familiar with it. With the backing of a corporate giant like Disney; Marvel will be allowed to expand and will be better suited to reach audiences they previously may not have. The deal allows Marvel to remove their relationships with third party companies and which would thus eliminate friction. Pixar is an example of this. While licensing Pixar may have been attractive; acquiring the company was a major benefit and allowed them to expand and develop projects that they previously would not have had the funding and backing to do so. The buyout will allow Marvel to expand it's distribution as well as the number of products it develops. Essentially, Marvel increases in value because of this deal than it did when it had been a stand-alone company.
"This is about buying people who know the characters really well...when you are one company, you deal with less friction "
What does this mean for Marvel's current projects?
Nothing. According to representatives from both companies, Disney will respect the deals that are already in place with other companies and distributors, and will take over once those contracts expire. They note that while they Disney will respect the deals already in place, that they do want to eventually become the sole distributors of Marvel's films.
For the sad part..
I don't want to be labeled as a cold-hearted lover of all things corporate; and while I do see this buyout as advantageous for both companies, there is still something sad about witnessing a company that has survived independently for 70 years being bought out by the bigger dog. I remain an optimist, however, in that I really do not think that the the content will change and that this was all for the best. I understand the concerns of so many Marvel fans when they base their opinions on Disney's reputation as a company. My advice to the skeptics is to remember that this was a business deal and it would be illogical for a company like Disney to pay 4 billion dollars for something they want to change. Both Marvel and Disney feel that this is an advantageous step in the right direction because in essence, it means that Marvel will have a stronger foundation to expand.