The 25th Frame: The Disney and Marvel Connection

The Avengers

Late last year, Disney made headlines when they bought Marvel, all of Marvel, for a jaw dropping $4 billion. This likely stemmed from two reasons, the first being the rocketing trajectory of comic media in the past decade, in both film and print. The second is likely a way for Disney to remind you just how little money you really have and are likely to acquire in life (that Mickey can have a warped sense of humor).

In far more recent news, Disney has moved to capitalize on their acquisition of Marvel, buying out the distribution rights of Iron Man 3 and the highly anticipated Joss Whedon project The Avengers, from Paramount for only $115 million. This effectively severs the ties Marvel had to Paramount (who’s final Marvel films to distribute are Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America) and brings all future projects not under the wings of other studios (“Spider-Man, “X-Men” franchises) back into Disney’s house.

Suffice to say, the buyout has some fanboys slightly worried that their favorite heroes are likely to be toned down for the sake of the Disney company. One acquaintance of mine worried what his reaction would be to seeing the Disney Castle logo in front of The Avengers (I’ll agree it’s an odd image to ponder) and that it would get massively toned down in an attempt to pander to family audiences.

What many seem to not realize is just how big Disney really is when it comes to media, which pisses off more than a few of my friends who spend more time railing against corporations than is likely healthy.

They could be pissed because of the likelihood that Disney has a space station on the moon or that Mickey has probably been watching us from an underground bunker for over 6 decades or that they just don’t have as much money as the Mouse (I know I’d want a piece of that, thank you). Whatever their reason, they will degrade Disney’s buyout of Marvel (who would have to agree to the deal in the first place) and go and see Toy Story 3 the next day.

Needless to say my friends, like myself, can be fools.

Regardless of how you feel about a company like Disney you cannot deny they possess massive power over the the film world, well before their acquisition of Marvel.

Which is why I’m not completely worried about the buyout given Disney’s history with companies they buyout. Call me a cog in the machine (pays the bills at least) but I look at it’s history, particularly when it acquired Miramax Films back in the early 90s, and went on to produce films like Kids or Kill Bill, two films that lacked a Disney logo in their opening and were definitely not for the little ones. As Miramax owned Dimension Films at that time, Disney is technically responsible for releasing Scream in 1996, another film not exactly toned down for the whole family, but was a great financial and critical success, spawning 3 sequels and reinvigorating the then tired slasher genre.

Imagine in your head Mickey with a big ass knife, and you get very quiet.

With Disney’s recent business dealings, it should (hopefully) make the production of the upcoming Marvel projects much smoother, as now there is only one company for which the cast and crew has to go through to acquire distribution, rather than two. Less red tape can only lead (again, hopefully) to filmmakers spending more time building a strong film and less time working around the red tape of various distributor studios.

So do such acquisitions benefit filmmakers or corporate America, taking the form of a mouse? In the end, it benefits both. What do you honestly care anyways? You know you’re going to go see The Avengers.