Disney buys Marvel: Company set on world domination or just after Boys 6 to 14?

The Walt Disney Co. announced today it will buy Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion – a move that will give many parents pause.

I’m old school, and I like my Mickey Mouse separate from my Amazing Spiderman! I like my cartoon characters competing and looking different. Crossovers have always given me the willies.

But I don’t think this move is about world domination by Disney. I just think buying Marvel helps the company attain a goal it’s been after for years: Boys 6 to 14.

Disney knows it’s got the young girl market locked up all the way from my 2-year-old to my girlfriend’s young teenager. They suck them in as toddlers with tiaras and fake high heels. (I can’t get my 2-year-old out of her Princess outfits.) Then keep them interested as tweens with Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato movies and videos. (I still can’t tell these two apart.). And finally I think even the most cynical 14-year-old would have to admit the Jonas brothers are cute.

But what do they have for boys? Last year Disney re-launched its Toon Disney channel as Disney XD in the hope of attracting those boys 6 to 14.

From a Los Angeles Times business story August 2008:

“Disney XD, aiming squarely at boys ages 6 to 14, will offer original action-adventure and comedy series, movies, animation and sports-themed shows developed with Walt Disney Co.-owned ESPN.”

” ‘What was clear to me, and clear to us, is we had a huge opportunity to create content that were boys’ favorites,’ said Rich Ross, president of Disney Channels Worldwide.”

“Tween boys, ages 9 to 14, account for about $50 billion in spending worldwide, said Greg Kahn, senior vice president of strategic insights for media buying firm Optimedia International USA Inc.. Advertisers are eager to reach these young consumers, not just snag a portion of their disposable income, but to build a loyalty that they hope will extend into even more free-spending teen years, he said.”

“But the Disney Channel has struggled for years to find the right programming formula to lure boys, who tend to gravitate to Viacom’s Nickelodeon and Time Warner’s Cartoon Network — that is, when they’re not spending time playing video games.”

So guess what? Now they have their programming content! Hours upon hours of X-Men, Spiderman, Hulk, Iron Man, The Avengers, plus movie rights!

And while this move works for Disney’s business goals, does it somehow muddy the water? Will it hurt the integrity of these iconic characters and their development?

There are plenty of parents who think Disney is “evil.” (Just Google Disney and Evil.) My own cousin is mortified that I “promote” the Princess theme to my kids – in that I let them watch the movies. Other friends were horrified when we posted our Disney World photos on Facebook.

I can live with Disney owning Marvel, but I don’t want to see Wolverine hanging out with Zack and Cody!

What do you think: Are you bothered by Disney buying out Marvel? Do you mind Disney having control of the Marvel characters? Do you think its world domination or just boys 6 to 14 Disney is after? Will this move affect how the Marvel characters are used and developed? Will it be good for Marvel?

31 comments Add your comment

Jenn

August 31st, 2009
2:01 pm

My kids, now 18, 15, and 12 (girl, boy, girl) were never that obsessed with Disney or Marvel characters. My youngest was the closest, as she liked to play dress-up, but it could have been any dress (the more beads or sequins the better). It did not have to be princess themed.

I think that those who have a problem with Disney are making too big a deal about certain aspects of the company that kids are not going to get. I believe in everything in moderation. Have I taken my kids to Disney World? – heck yeah and we were there when it opened and there when it closed. Have my kids seen most Disney movies? – heck yeah – some are great! Did they eat, sleep, and breath Disney – No.

My youngest still watches a few Disney shows and my 18 year old loves anything animated.

My son only LOVES baseball. Maybe it is good (from a business standpoint) for them to buy Marvel, but I would hate to go to Disney World and see all of those characters. It just wouldn’t be the same.

pd

August 31st, 2009
3:06 pm

My son has never expressed any interest in anything Disney. My family has put significant pressure on me to take him to Disney World, to the point of making me out to be a bad parent for not taking him. I have pointed out that he doesn’t watch any Disney shows, like any of their characters, nor has he ever asked to go to Disney.

He does, however, like Marvel. So, now I guess maybe I will take him.

I am not looking forward to it. I would literally rather serve on jury duty in a tax evasion case for a week than go to Orlando.

Nu uh

August 31st, 2009
3:08 pm

They will homogenize those Marvel comic characters to the point that they are no longer recognizable.

Arreon Parks

August 31st, 2009
3:10 pm

As a Marvel fan for years I am afraid of where the disney company plans on going with the traditional Marvel characters. Not saying that they cannot improve on them but I have a hard time believing that will be the case. Disney is and has traditionally been a company built towards family and children Marvel has aspects of that but at the same time there are aspects of the compoany that are far from that ideal. Case in point, the playboy lifestyle of Tony Stark who is known to be a womanizer. Although I do not support the image that this portrays, it plays perfectly into the personality of Iron Man and his persona. I am interested to see how this change will affect both companies but my guard will be up for quite a while.

Doug

August 31st, 2009
3:12 pm

Ugh. As a 31-year-old fan of both Disney and Marvel comics, I’m dubious. This is a licensing grab, allowing Disney to nearly monopolize the market for kids’ entertainment. It will also require Marvel to answer to the suits at Disney when they want to take a comics property in a different direction or tell a unique story. Also, what will happen to the few adult-focused titles that Marvel has?

I can’t see this being good for consumers, at any rate.

Sad Stuff

August 31st, 2009
3:25 pm

Want to know more about the Disney mega-corporation? Read Carl Hiaasen’s “Team Rodent : How Disney Devours the World”. It’s not very flattering.

I don’t see Disney allowing the ulta violent Marvel titles like The Punisher to stick around. Get ready for a new, homogeneous Marvel Comics.

[...] buys Marvel for four billion dollars (Oh god) Disney set on world domination or just after Boys 6 to 14? | A Blog for Busy Moms – MOMania [...]

Cell

August 31st, 2009
3:36 pm

Personally, I’m disappointed. Marvel doesn’t (didn’t) only pander to 6 – 14 year olds. I know plenty of men and women who read Marvel comics as adults. Many comics are geared toward adults… I certainly hope parents weren’t letting their 6 – 14 year old boys read some of the hormone laden violence, of some of the more adult story lines. (Well, maybe a 14 year old could handle it… folks, pay attention to what your kids are watching, reading and listening too!). So are we going to lose our beloved comics? Possibly. I’ve been rather disgusted with Disney in general, anyway. As parents, have any of you actually sat and watched some of the toon and sitcom garbage they are targeting our teens and tweens with lately? If you did, I think you would be surprised at the sexual content, adult deviousness, and bigotry, solidly infused throughout. I’m not delusional… I don’t expect my children to grow up sheltered, I realize what goes on at school and around the neighborhood. Still… that doesn’t mean I want to submit them to the shallow ideals that Disney seems to promote in many (not all), of their shows. Having said that, I don’t ban them from watching everything… we talk about it. They let me know when something makes them uncomfortable, and as a family we decide if they should watch something or not. I could simply let them watch whatever, and become desensitized, but what then? Anyway… I’ve gone slightly off topic. I guess the point I’m trying to make, I’m saddened that Marvel will be caught up in all this nonsense.

that random KH fan

August 31st, 2009
4:29 pm

i thing it might have a advantige on Kingdom Hearts. can you imagine some of the marval chaicters fightng with Sora?

Spin

August 31st, 2009
4:32 pm

Disney probably bought Marvel to snatch it out of the hands of its closet theme park competitor “Islands of Adventure theme park. It has a whole section of Marvel Heroes. The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Dr. Doom ride, Spiderman Ride, etc. It’s just Disney buying up the competition. Who knows; they may just become the majority owner of those theme parks from Universal Studios as well.

John

August 31st, 2009
4:34 pm

I am horrified that a great comic company are selling out to disney. i can see it now, there goes any adult aimed comics, and the like. go to hell disney you cant have DC!!!!!!!

Gerald D. Swick

August 31st, 2009
4:44 pm

Disney Co. is first and foremost about profits. Tampering with a formula that works, i.e., the Marvel Universe, wouldn’t make good business sense, especially if the name Disney doesn’t appear on the comics – and it probably won’t. As for canceling books like The Punisher in order to preserve Disney’s squeaky-clean image (pun intended), have you been paying attention to Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana, as she and her daddy reposition her for grown-up roles? The photos of this teenager that appeared in Vanity Fair are in questionable taste, to put it mildly; child pornography is another description that comes to mind. Did Disney cancel its popular Hannah Montana show? Nope, and it isn’t likely to cancel any Marvel titles unless they’re losing money.

Jad Yassine

August 31st, 2009
5:02 pm

Goddammit BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

deidre_NC

August 31st, 2009
5:11 pm

wow jad…tell us how you really feel….i think im missing something here….i didnt think there would be many posts on this topic lol..thought there would be tons on the book thing…im way off base today…im not sure whats the big deal…

Bobby

August 31st, 2009
5:13 pm

I disagree. There are several Disney properties that do not cater to kids. Mirimax, acquired by Disney in 1993, distributed Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. ABC still has shows like Desperate Housewives which are most definitely not kid-friendly.

A lot of people on the internet are overreacting to the news. ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Muppets, Mirimax, Touchstone…They’re all fine, and are in the same situation as Marvel will be. Your superheroes are fine, people!

FCM

August 31st, 2009
5:18 pm

What is Universal going to do down in Orlando? They had Marvel — Spidey & Hulk. I guess they stick to Dr. Suess and Hanna Barbera?

Wolvie–even before Jackman started doing him live— Make mine Marvel!

[...] Marvel of Disney Published August 31, 2009 Uncategorized Leave a Comment Today Disney shelled out $4 billion in cash and stocks to purchase Marvel Entertainment. While the ink on this deal has yet to dry completely, fans of both companies are already voicing [...]

Jenn

August 31st, 2009
5:26 pm

Ugh. Why Marvel? If Disney makes any kids of changes to Marvel in an attempt to make it more ‘PG’ , they will most likely alieniate many Marvel fans. I really, really hope this is just a profit thing and they realize that many comic fans are not just ‘boys from 6-14′ (Me being an 18 year old female and my dad who is 50 still likes comics) I hope they don’t try to mess with some of Marvel’s characters (namely Penance and Deadpool, as how do you explain them to kids?) and its darker themes or I will boycott Disney like it has the plague. XD. Anyway, crossing my fingers on this one. Marvel is now licensed to Paramount (which is DIsney owned too) if I remember right and Iron Man and X Men Origins were throughly un-PG so maybe that’s a good sign.
On a funny note, at least they didn’t acquire DC – I mean could you imagine a Disney-ized Joker? They’d turn him into Ronald McDonald. Very scary indeed. :)

blittle

August 31st, 2009
5:37 pm

This could be good news.

Marvel has only made good films by accident so far and the abilities of Disney to produce good entertainment has been proven repeatedly.

Plus, Steve Jobs owns Disney now and the business and the creative are better integrated. I am optimistic that the deal could be beneficial for Marvel.

Disney could exist without Marvel. But with one terrible misstep in the movie business (which was recently separated from the comics-producing arm of the company (I wonder where that leaves things with this deal) could have sent Marvel back into bankruptcy. At least the deep pockets of Disney will keep the comic company solvent.

Jim M.

August 31st, 2009
6:26 pm

For those of you who think DC comics are more “pure” because DC isn’t owned by some corporate behemoth … think again. Time Warner bought DC back in 1980 or so. As for Marvel being ruined through corporate influences, I just don’t think it’s going to happen. Publishing comic books isn’t that profitable. What Disney wants out of Marvel isn’t a profitable line of comic books … I think, instead, Disney is looking for a sort of “laboratory” that can generate new ideas for new blockbuster movies.

tyler

August 31st, 2009
7:08 pm

i am a 13 boy,and i’m under the opinion that this purchase will alienate many of marvels faithful fans. think of a disney version of iron man. it sounds pathetic. i have read many of the comments and i agree that disney is NOT going to let Marvel keep making movies and cartoons that 12-22 year olds will crowd into theaters for. since they already bought the company, i dont think we can set it back to how it once was, but i think that if disney and marvel were two sepparate branches of the same company, then marvel could possibly keep making great movies. disney should have movies for ages like 3-11 and marvel should have the action and comedy that is for the 12 and older group. considering the enthusiasm marvel got for iron man, i think disney would be very stupid to try to change it. if they change characters like iron man and batman into anything other than they are, i think they would lose the support of many of the people who love those movies. this is my opinion of this purchase

James Wilson

August 31st, 2009
7:42 pm

I can’t believe Marvel would do something like. I mean I know Disney bought them but still. Marvel was always geared toward like teenagers and adults. I’m 16, I been reading Marvel comics since I was like 5, and truth be told, I always hated Disney with a passion. And now that Disney bought one of the greatest comic book companies ever, it’s like you’re thinking to yourself…..”Really? Really Marvel?” My question to Marvel and to people every where is simply this, “What ever happened to the self respect of comics? When it was never about the money?”

DB

August 31st, 2009
8:33 pm

Disney is many things, but stupid isn’t one of them. Many people seem to have the feeling that they are going to take the Marvel characters and turn them into Disney characters. That isn’t going to happen. They are buying a profitable on-going concern with decades of history and a fanatic fan base. I expect that they will treat it with respect, or earn the derision and wrath of a large portion of their customer base.

Disney also owns Touchstone, Miramax — and ESPN. Somehow, I don’t think anyone accuses ESPN of being “Disney-fied”.

amene.

August 31st, 2009
9:50 pm

Well still owning MArvel is diffrent then ESPN and otheres. Most of the characters are not for kids. I’m 18 years old I dont want to see some PG comic if its really PG-13 or R. Most comics are not suppose to be for kids. Disney is childish and usally absured acting and many other things. I just don’t understand why Marvel would is it the economy, about money? It has to be they have the best alot of awesome comcis which i dont want to be disneyfired.
C’mon if they are attempign to get young boys there not goning to kepp th comics the same there going to have to change things.
Gah…this sucks. I havent liked disney since i was 11 unt il all this untalented crap came on.
What is the world coming too!
Yes disney owns other comapnies but I thibk them owning Marvel is diffrent if you READ the tiyle it says A Blog for Busy Moms – MOMania Disney buys Marvel: Company set on world domination or just after Boys 6 to 14. Obvisouly thats young there not gogin to have tony stark having sex or sometthing no cussing maybe the world damn. Espn is diffrent because it’s all about sprts you can’t disneyfy sports and it has nothing to do woth disney. Touch stone, mirmax and cbs have nothing to do with it either they just own the rights. The thing about Marvel is that theere atcually goignt to use the chracters from the comic, and i know it’s not going to be the same I know it, and no im not too happy about it but maybe i’m wrong will see.

Sarif

August 31st, 2009
11:29 pm

This is terrible news for future comics, bad news for cartoons, probably won’t affect the Marvel Movies much… And wonderful news for the Anime and Manga Publishing companies. With all those cartoons and movies dumbed down and censored by Disney the unique and often mature stories in Japanese comics and cartoons will be even more sought after by geeks. I like some Disney, I also like Marvel, but I love anime! Because of this I am fine with it.

Fuuuu

September 1st, 2009
12:04 am

I can’t believe this!!!!! This is…..*sigh*…..I’m depressed. If I had 4 billion dollars I would have, bought it. Well on second thought…This is just Disney!!!

DB

September 1st, 2009
12:59 am

@amene. – I think you’re overreacting and being dismissive of the fact that Disney DOES own Touchstone and Miramax, both of whom have produced many, many movies rated R, including “The Color of Money”, “Shoot To Kill”, “Good Morning Vietnam”, “Sex, Lies and Videotape”, “Pulp Fiction”, etc. None of these can possibly be described as “Disney-esque”.

First of all, Disney’s aim is to make money. This is a logical segue for them, given their formidable history in the art of animation, and the growing interest in Marvel characters such as Spiderman and Iron Man on the big screen. This does not mean that suddenly, Cinderella’s artist will start drawing Spiderman. This DOES mean, however, that Marvel will have access to markets that it has only dreamed of, as well as preservation and care of its library.

You can dismiss the 6-14 age group, but THEY are the ones that are buying the Spiderman costumes at Halloween, and THEY are the ones that are devouring Spiderman 1, 2 and 3, and looking forward to 4. They are the ones that flocked to see Iron Man and the Hulk last summer. It’s true that the age of comic book readership has been steadily rising. On the other hand, you don’t have to have read the comic book in order to enjoy the movies and the characters – and buy the action figures, the trading cards, the DVDs, etc., etc.

Like ESPN, I happen to think that you can’t “Disney-fy” Marvel without destroying the very thing that made it attractive in the first place.

But, who knows? I guess time will tell.

Andy

September 1st, 2009
11:12 am

Disney owns many brands such as DImension Films which release the Scary Movie series, Scream and many horror movies aswell as Miramax and Touchstone.

Disney will not change Marvel at all and keep all the violence in tact. Disney has only bought the company and all current Marvel employees and artists will still be working on their projects just like when Disney bought PIXAR, nothing changed.

Marvel has been releasing utter crap for the past couple of years and has been going out of business, If Disney hadn’t bought Marvel then it would soon cease to exist.

Disney can only make things better.

dean

September 1st, 2009
4:54 pm

i have spent 30 to $50 a month on marvel comics if this deal goes through that will drop to nothing.

dean

September 1st, 2009
4:54 pm

Enter your comments here

Cameron

September 6th, 2009
7:40 pm

NOOOOO its gonna be cheessy