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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Why Disney Bought Marvel

Patrick Goldstein of the LA Times has an interesting take on why Disney paid $4 billion this week for Marvel Entertainment and its stable of 5,000 comic book characters. (Here's the NY Times story on the deal.)

Goldstein writes:

    For Disney, this latest purchase is a way to take all of the unbranded -- meaning risky, obscure or experimental -- material out of its wheelhouse. The studio is now a giant collection of familiar, easily accessible brands -- Marvel, Pixar, [Steven] Spielberg and [Jerry] Bruckheimer -- all under one large, even more familiar umbrella brand: Disney. It is a sprawling company that will probably someday look a lot more like Procter & Gamble than a movie studio.

    ...[W]hat the Marvel deal really means is that Disney is radically restructuring its creative aspirations. Once a company that drew inspiration from within, it is now paying top dollar to buy mature businesses -- first Pixar and now Marvel -- to feed its merchandising assembly lines.

What do you think?

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  • Read this for a considered view of the deal by both an animation and comics historian.

    By Blogger J Caswell, at 4:50 PM  

  • Without benefit of seeing the books, this deal looks like Entertainment Industry Economics 101. Marvel has the content, Disney has the distribution and access to capital. This was an easy deal, and I think a cheap one for Disney.

    By Blogger Michael, at 4:57 PM  

  • Jim, thanks for that insightful article. In today's Hollywood, a new idea has no value because the people who make the final decisions have no vision beyond taking Kimba the White Lion and turning him brown.

    By Blogger GBH, at 4:08 PM  

  • The mainstream press is applauding Iger for his business skills. Why can't he make good use of the amazing talent he's already got under his roof?

    Disney has more in common with Walmart than a creative studio.

    By Blogger allen mez, at 4:04 PM  

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