Disney and Marvel Comics

December 13, 2013: Disney is now in the strange situation of competing against its own properties as Sony declares it will begin making Amazing Spider-Man films featuring Venom and Sinister Six.

Spider-Man World

Top Earning World Wide Superhero Films

List Updated Sept 14, 2017

Ranked by World Wide Earnings

*Currently in release in movie theatres

  1. The Avengers (2012 Marvel Studios) $1,511,757,910 Billion
  2. Avengers Age of Ultron (2015 Marvel Studios) $1.402 Billion
  3. Iron Man 3 (2013 Marvel Studios) $1,212,795,474 Billion
  4. Captain America Civil War: $1,153,294,011
  5. Dark Knight Rises (2012 Warners) 1,081,036,828 Billion
  6. The Dark Knight (2008 Warners Bros) $1,004,558,444 Billion
  7. Spiderman 3 (2007 Sony) $890.9 Million
  8. Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice (Warners 2016) $872,662,631
  9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017 Marvel-Disney) $863,365,406 Worldwide
  10. Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony 2017) $823,973,588

12. Wonder Woman (2017 Warners) $816,501,312 Million

55. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017 STX Entertainment) $89,362,969 Worldwide

60. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017 Fox) - $104,685,194 worldwide

Update Aug 6, 2012: Avengers has pulled $1,461,368,487 worldwide. With all the toys and licensing, estimates on total earnings for the film (and related paraphenalia) puts it near $4 billion. Not bad for Disney, which purchased the company for just $4 billion (included a list of 1,500 character properties) in August 2009.

For more complete numbers, look at the Top Earning Superhero Movies page.

Jack Kirby Wonder Years

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby The Wonder Years, TwoMorrows Publishing, 128 Pages amazon.com

Marvel Comics Encyclopedia

Marvel Comics Encyclopedia - 400 Pages, amazon.com

Stan Lee Bio

Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book - 320 Pages. By Josh Raphael and Tom Spurgeon at amazon.com

Tales to Astonish Jack Kirby

Ronin Ro biography of Jack Kirby - 304 Pages at amazon.com

Kirby King of Comics

Kirby King of Comics by Mark Evanier, Neil Gaiman introduction amazon.com

May 29, 2012: Experts in the movie business are looking at a potential $3.7 Billion in earnings off the Avengers film with tie-ins and home video. That is a big licensing check, Marvel.

The list of coming Marvel Studios films :

  1. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
  2. Captain America 2 (2014)
  3. Ant-Man (2014)
  4. Deadpool (2014)
  5. The Incredible Hulk (2014)
  6. Thor 2 (2013)
  7. Iron Man 3 (2013)

The continued triumph of "Work for Hire"

UPDATE: July 2011, Marvel wins case to retain ownership on Spiderman, et sl,

"NEW YORK (AP) -- Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk can save the world from evil through superhuman feats, but it took a federal judge Thursday to decide who legally owns the rights to their lucrative characters.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon ruled that they and other Marvel Worldwide Inc. superheroes will remain the property of the company, despite claims by heirs to the artist who played a key role in creating them that they are entitled to the copyrights."

From article by Larry Neumeister at the Associated Press.

"Marvel had said the work was done "for hire," a legal term that would render the heirs' claims invalid. McMahon said the plain language of contracts she reviewed made it clear that all of Kirby's work for publications owned by Marvel was work for hire. She said the 1909 copyright law that applies to the case presumed that Marvel was considered the author and owner of Kirby's creations because the characters were made at Marvel's expense.

...In a statement, The Walt Disney Co., which purchased Marvel in 2009, said: "We are pleased that in this case, the judge has confirmed Marvel's ownership."

May 2010: Disney lawyers jump into fray with Marvel against the Jack Kirby estate (May 27, 2010):

Disney joins Marvel in fight against Kirby estate claims

CBR reports that Walt Disney is throwing their legal team into the fight against the copyright claims made by the Jack Kirby estate:

"The Walt Disney Co. has waded into the legal battle over many of Marvel's best-known characters, filing a memo in support of the publisher's efforts to dismiss copyright claims by the heirs of Jack Kirby.

Marvel sued the Kirby children in January, seeking to invalidate notices sent almost four months earlier to terminate copyrights to such characters as the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, Iron Man and Spider-Man. The Kirby family responded in March by suing Marvel and its new parent company Disney."

Related: Jack Kirby Captain America mens shorts

September 2009

The rodent is hungry: using $4 billion USD (both cash and stock), Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment, Inc in August 2009. They got the Marvel library of 5,000 characters and a control over the lucrative movie properties. Marvel had a reported profit of $206 million USD last year, with an actual revenue of $676 million USD. Disney picked up Pixar studios in 2006 for $7.4 billion USD. Chief competitor is DC Comics (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc.) which is owned by Warner Bros.

August 31, 2009 - Disney buys Marvel

New York Times article about the Marvel buyout written by Brooks Barnes and Michael Cieply:

"The Walt Disney Company’s surprise deal to acquire Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion redraws the architecture of Hollywood and spotlights how the media giant has become more aggressive than its peers about growth."

Disney said on Monday that it would pay cash and stock to acquire Marvel, the comic book publisher and movie studio whose library of 5,000 characters includes some of the world’s best-known superheroes: Spider-Man, the X-Men, Thor, Iron Man and the Fantastic Four."

The article goes on to mark another hurdle in Disney's consumption of other companies:

"The deal underscores Disney’s focus on growth and could herald a new wave of media consolidation, analysts said. While some observers questioned the price as too steep — Disney shares fell 3 percent to about $26 on Monday — most saw the acquisition as a smart, ambitious expansion maneuver. Mr. Iger, who orchestrated Disney’s $7.4 billion purchase of Pixar in 2006, is now firmly one of the media world’s most powerful dealmakers.

Marvel’s development slate is relatively thin: the company works on only five or six scripts at once, compared with the dozens under way at major studios, though in Marvel’s case virtually all are expected to become finished films.

Yet Marvel, like Pixar, has made an enormous impression by racking up an almost unbroken series of hits — two films based on the Incredible Hulk were soft — after having risen from bankruptcy in 1998. Last year, the studio struck gold with “Iron Man,” which sold $585 million in tickets at the global box office.

Marvel’s publishing business is also strong. The company was the top comics publisher in 2008, edging out its closest rival, DC Comics, in both unit market share (46 percent to 32 percent) and retail dollar share (41 percent to 30 percent). The comic book industry had about $715 million in sales last year, according to Milton Griepp, the publisher and founder of ICv2, an online trade publication that covers pop culture for retailers."

Here's the press release from the Disney Co:


Worldwide leader in family entertainment agrees to acquire Marvel and its portfolio of over 5,000 characters

Acquisition highlights Disney's strategic focus on quality branded content, technological innovation and international expansion to build long-term shareholder value

Burbank, CA and New York, NY, August 31, 2009

Building on its strategy of delivering quality branded content to people around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:MVL) in a stock and cash transaction, the companies announced today.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney on August 28, 2009, Marvel shareholders would receive a total of $30 per share in cash plus approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each Marvel share they own. At closing, the amount of cash and stock will be adjusted if necessary so that the total value of the Disney stock issued as merger consideration based on its trading value at that time is not less than 40% of the total merger consideration.

Based on the closing price of Disney stock on Friday, August 28, the transaction value is $50 per Marvel share or approximately $4 billion.

"This transaction combines Marvel's strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney's creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories," said Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney."

"We believe that adding Marvel to Disney's unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation," Iger said.

"Disney is the perfect home for Marvel's fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses," said Ike Perlmutter, Marvel's Chief Executive Officer. "This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney's tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world."

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Marvel including its more than 5,000 Marvel characters. Mr. Perlmutter will oversee the Marvel properties, and will work directly with Disney's global lines of business to build and further integrate Marvel's properties.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Marvel have each approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, effectiveness of a registration statement with respect to Disney shares issued in the transaction and other customary closing conditions. The agreement will require the approval of Marvel shareholders. Marvel was advised on the transaction by BofA Merrill Lynch."

Disney buys Marvel

Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse

Adventures of Mickey Mouse, 1931

Gottfredson "Mickey Mouse Boxing Champion" 1931.

Floyd Gottfredson with the 1942 "Bar None Ranch"

Walt Disney Cover to "Miky" issue #119 Greek Language Edition

Wonder Woman Transformation 1978

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