Click on the respective buttons below to see what IGN has to say about the possible ramifications the Disney/Marvel deal has for Games, Comics, TV, Stars and Movies.



Today's stunning announcement that the Walt Disney Company has acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion will obviously have a profound and lasting impact on Marvel's celluloid future. Disney will now own Marvel's entire library of 5000+ characters, including Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Hulk, etc., a move which will help the company aggressively expand their demographic to include more young boys. And what does this deal mean for the other studios that have been making movies based on those aforementioned characters?

Right now, Marvel and Disney are saying that their merger won't affect any preexisting deals that Marvel has with other studios' comic book movie adaptations, even as they suggest that someday those characters could possibly return to their fold, cinematically speaking. "It's the right thing from a legal perspective [to honor Marvel's existing deals with other studios]," Disney honcho Robert Iger told The Hollywood Reporter. But Iger also said that, in the future, Disney will likely serve as the sole distributor of Marvel's films, a claim that has understandably riled the rival studios behind such franchises as Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four.

Just the whiff of such a possibility surely has lawyers and executives at the other studios combing over their contracts and girding for a future legal battle with Marvel-Disney to hold onto their respective cash cows. Let's put it this way: the phrases "in perpetuity" and "perpetual licenses" will soon become the most scrutinized and debated legal phrases since President Clinton questioned the meaning of "is."

Starting with Iron Man, Marvel has enjoyed full autonomy over their film adaptations, a level of creative control and financial reward they have never had in their prior movie deals with 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, or Lionsgate. What's certain is that Paramount Pictures, which has a distribution deal with Marvel for a set number of films, will still release Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man 3 over the next few years as planned. The studio said in a statement to Deadline Hollywood Daily: "Paramount Pictures has enjoyed a productive and fruitful relationship with Marvel Studios from the start of our distribution agreement in 2005. ... This distribution deal will be unaffected by today's transaction. We look forward to continuing to work with Marvel and, with today's announcement, to working with Disney to replicate the incredible success of Iron Man on all our future collaborative projects."

Daily Fix Video August 31, 2009

This news and more in the Daily Fix.

   - Disney Buys Marvel
   - God Of War Collection
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Sony Pictures, meanwhile, has long held the license to the screen rights for Spider-Man. They are prepping Spider-Man 4 to begin production early next year for a 2011 release, and they recently announced plans for a fifth and sixth installment that would most likely be without the participation of director Sam Raimi and stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Screenwriter James Vanderbilt, who also penned a draft for Spider-Man 4, has been set to map out those sequels. Deadline Hollywood Daily claims, via sources, "that Sony's deal on Spider-Man motion picture right is unaffected by today's announcement and not subject to renewal." IGN has heard from multiple sources that Sony claims to have a perpetual license on their Marvel properties (meaning Spidey and Ghost Rider).

This is also the case for 20th Century Fox, who produced the X-Men and Fantastic Four films as well as Daredevil and Elektra. Fox also has the screen rights to the Silver Surfer, Kingpin, Dr. Doom, Bullseye, all of the mutants who have appeared in the X-Men movies, including Deadpool, as well as all the ancillary characters who have appeared in the aforementioned adaptations. The studio told IGN, "Our rights are not affected or altered. We have perpetual licenses."

Not to be left out, Universal Pictures also gave Deadline Hollywood Daily the "in perpetuity" response. Universal produced two Hulk movies, and their theme park attraction Marvel Super Hero Island features a slew of popular characters, including Spider-Man, Hulk, Doctor Doom and several key X-Men heroes. Universal has reportedly said that it retains the right to use these characters at their theme park and in related merchandising for as long as they want. But, as we said at the outset, we'll soon see just how long "in perpetuity" really means.


Meanwhile, Lionsgate produced Punisher: War Zone, which tanked so hard it's tough to imagine them fighting to hold onto a character with such a poor box office track record. More importantly, Lionsgate Home Entertainment has distributed a series of successful direct-to-video Marvel animated features, including Ultimate Avengers, Doctor Strange, Hulk Vs, Thor, and the forthcoming Planet Hulk. Why would Marvel want to muck with that? Because you could trade Lionsgate animation for, say, Pixar. (More on that shortly.) Lionsgate Home Entertainment had not yet responded to our inquiry for comment at time of publish.


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