You have to ask, how could eBay have been so incredibly stupid to spend billions of dollars on essentially nothing? Well, it appears that Disney did the exact same thing.
As we’ve all heard by now, Disney bought Marvel for about 4 billion dollars. At first blush it seems like a deal made in heaven. Disney makes movies and superhero movies are hot right now.
However, due to prior contracts Marvel had with other movie studios, Disney is essentially unable to make any Marvel superhero movies for a very long time, maybe even forever.
For example, Sony has a perpetual right to make Spider-Man and Ghost Rider movies.
20th Century Fox has a perpetual right to make movies involving the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Elektra, Silver Surfer, Kingpin, Dr. Doom, Bullseye, and all of the mutants who have appeared in the X-Men movies.
Universal Pictures has a perpetual right to make Hulk movies. (And if you think Disney can use Marvel characters in its theme parks, think again. Universal has that right, in perpetuity, for its own theme parks.)
So who’s left? Paramount Pictures only has the right to distribute the upcoming Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man 3 movies. So in about ten years Disney would be set to go on its own. If superhero movies are still popular in ten years.
And that’s a big if. If Disney bought Marvel for the long haul, in hopes of making Superhero movies way off in the future, I think the plan will fail. Superheroes are big now because the baby boomers grew up with them. That’s why superhero movies are always rated R and hard PG-13. Because they’re made for adults. The adults who grew up with them.
In ten, twenty years no one is going to give a rip about Spider-Man. Much in the same way no one gives a rip about Cowboy and Indian movies. Genres die. It’s a fact of life in Hollywood.
Let’s face it, Disney got screwed.