Published: August 31, 2009 at 9:10 AMI'm guessing it depends on how long Universal's contract with Marvel for Islands of Adventure is for, and how it is affected if Marvel is bought out [ie- does it have a guarantee to remain as is, or will it be renegociated?]. Their contract for the California Universal theme park expired not too long ago.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 9:21 AMI have a message in to Universal Orlando's PR crew looking for a comment on the length of its license deal.
Perpetuity would surprise me, though Uni does have a perpetual deal with Spielberg, so such terms are not unheard of within the company.
Then again, Uni's looking to get out of the Spielberg deal, so we know that contracts are made to be bought out.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 9:35 AMSo Disney gets money for Universal using Spiderman for the ride? Brilliant!
Likely, Disney will allow Marvel Island to stay......for a price.
So does that mean that they get the rights to the next Spiderman, Hulk, and Ironman movies?
I wonder what Disney will do with the stuff?
On the tactical end, its a slam dunk for Disney who pretty much gave up on boys between the ages of 8-18. Check out any Disney Store if you don't believe me! Its not totally their fault, they do not have much of a market for them.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 9:36 AMOh man thats sweet. I can see a whole new land at DHS now based off of marvel. However i will be sadened if spiderman does have to close at universal. That would be a disaster!
Published: August 31, 2009 at 9:36 AMWell, one thing is for sure. If and when the Marvel heroes migrate to WDW... the costumes on the walkaround characters won't look like cheap, off the rack Halloween costumes anymore.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 9:37 AMThe deal's already done for the Marvel characters in the Universal parks. So Universal should not have to pay anything additional to Disney, unless the deal had an expiration date and Universal wants to continue it. (Awaiting word on that.)
But Anthony's spot-on highlighting what was Disney's biggest market weakness. It just had zilch for pre-teen boys, even as it almost totally owned the pre-teen girl market. This, in one deal, fixes that problem.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 9:46 AMIs that why Michael Bay was checking out the Spiderman ride at IOA a few weeks ago? Now is the time they could convert it over to a Transformers ride.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 9:59 AMRight! Maybe Uni can capitalize on this Hasbro deal that they made so many years back. G.I. Joe and Transformers can inhabit and walk around the IOA in no time. Isn't Ron Howard penned to do a 'Stretch Armstrong' pick? Ine door closed but the window is still open
Published: August 31, 2009 at 10:32 AMI've never been a huge Disney fan after going for several years and being disappointed by the lack of great rides at the parks. MGM (Hollywood as they call it now) definitely has the best assortmanet.
Once my wife suggested Universal instead of Disney, we have never looked back and I would hate to see Universal affected by Disney's purchase of Marvel.
To me, Universal seems hip and alive, especially at night whereas Disney is spread out all over and it's a pain to visit multiple parks in one day. Downtown Disney is just one huge outdoor mall and it is laid out poorly.
Disney seems to be buying up everything lately and I don't like how they don't even hide the fact they are greedy. "We have your teenage daughters money, but we want your sons too".
Sorry if this sounds like a rant, I am just passionate about our Summer vacations at Universal. I think they dropped the ball on Rip Ride Rockit however. They threw up soem high tech MP3 laiden coaster as fast as they could, missed the dealines, and the Summer is over. We skipped this year because of that and we are waiting for Harry Potter as well.
Please chime in with your opinions of the Disney deal, I for one am not happy. Universal should buy DC Comics before Disney does.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 10:48 AMHas else wondered whether Universal actually holds exclusive rights for the use of Hulk and Spiderman in a theme park medium? Meaning even if Disney owns the character likenesses in comics, television and movies it does not necessarily mean it has rights to use them in their theme parks.
But it should also be noted that (especially with the Potter bomb about to drop) Disney enjoys the benefit of having its characters visible in (not to mention on sale in the gift shops of) a competing theme park.
Anyone else getting dizzy?
Published: August 31, 2009 at 10:51 AMI think it's time Universal goes ahead and starts acquiring the Japanese anime/manga market and licensing deals. With the internet and www so prominent in society now, that's where the real teenage boy demographic lays - at least with regards to the fantasy/action adventure types. It's all probably a little too edgy for the Disney folks.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 11:16 AMGood move for Disney to grab a highly visible, highly popular franchise to fill some gaps. I'm sure there will eventually be a whole park and hotel themed to the Marvel characters. The huge success of the movies streaming out of Hollywood and the merchandising are probably the biggest factors in the purchase, but I'm sure that Disney will use Marvel to the fullest extent.
As far as IOA, it all depends on the contract and when it expires. If the contract is up in 3 years, then Marvel will be gone from Universal in 2-3 years. If there's a contract, Disney doesn't really have the right to yank the carpet out from Universal immediately, so they would have to wait. However if it's a long term contract, I wouldn't be surprised to see Disney put together a buyout offer. The businessman in me says that there either isn't a whole lot of time left on the contract (maybe a few years), or Disney has found a way around the deal with Universal. I'm sure that the execs know exactly what they are buying and exactly what they can do at what time, and I'm sure that they won't let direct competition use their product. They will either ridiculously highball Universal on the price come contract time, or they won't even offer.
Anyway, how much of IOA does Marvel really take up? The only ride that would cost big money to retheme would be Spiderman, and there are already some options. There are plenty of movies that can take the place of Spiderman, and with a little reprogramming and new set, the ride will actually be new and fresh. Hulk doesn't really have much theming, and the other attractions are dressed up amusement park rides that would simply need a new suit. Disney isn't the only company with deep pockets, and the hit to IOA wouldn't be a death blow. The return of Transformers and GIJoe to the big screen are obvious candidates...and I'll say it once again....Nintendo.
Then again, Universal could just buy the Busch parks.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 11:14 AMFrom the Orlando Sentinel: "Universal's contracts apparently gives it exclusive U.S. rights east of the Mississippi River for theme-park attractions built around certain of those characters, notably Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, X-Men and Dr. Doom."
Probably the X-Men's Storm as well.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 11:21 AMI am so excited for Marvel to come to Disney. We are insane Marvel fans and Disney runs in our blood. I just hope the Marvel initiative is seen within the Disney parks themselves. Wow! This deal must have been very hush hush for no one to have even speculated a rumor that this was possible. There are SO many directions Disney could take using the Marvel characters however I don't see a great way to integrate the two. I don't see Ironman flying over Cinderella's castle anytime soon! It would be great to see a revamp of Tomorrowland that uses futuristic superheroes.... I think?
Published: August 31, 2009 at 11:24 AMThe contract is for virtual perpetuity.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 11:29 AMStatement from Tom Schroder at Universal Orlando: "Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal's Islands of Adventure and the Marvel characters are a beloved and important part of the Universal Orlando experience. They will remain so. Our guests are going to get to meet Spider-Man and all our other Marvel characters. We believe our agreement with Marvel stands and that the Disney/Marvel deal will have no impact on our guest experience."
Um, "we believe"? And no mention of the length of the deal?
Like I said, the Universal lawyers are getting some hours today.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 11:29 AMI know this is kind-of streching it a little but we have heard for awhile that that Rock N' Roller Coaster was losing Aerosmith. Maybe they will convert it to a Ironman or Captian America?
Published: August 31, 2009 at 11:35 AMThe Spider-man films are a separate contract that Sony made with Marvel. Disney will not make any money from that film. Same goes with X-Men and Fox. The others, however, yes.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 11:36 AMDan writes: we have heard for awhile that that Rock N' Roller Coaster was losing Aerosmith. Maybe they will convert it to a Ironman or Captian America?
i Respond: I sure hope NOT. DHS seems the perfect place for a Marvel attraction. But it would be a HUGE disappointment if they simply did a retrofit of an existing ride.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 11:37 AMDisney doesn’t need Marvel like Universal does, that scares me being a HUGE Marvel fan. I'm afraid they will just sprinkle pixie dust all over it and dumb it down like they do everything else.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 11:55 AMMore From The Orlando Sentinel: "Marvel has several long-term agreements in place already with various other companies for many of its characters, including movie deals with Paramount, Sony and Fox, for such characters as Iron Man, X-Men, Spider-Man, Captain America and Thor. Those contracts will be honored until their terms expire, which could be several years or more in some cases.
Marvel also has various deals with the two-park Universal Orlando. The agreements governing two of Universal's hugely popular rides, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk roller coaster, appear to be virtually perpetual deals. According to Universal's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Universal Orlando retains American rights east of the Mississippi River for as long as its attractions are in operation.
Universal and Marvel also have various deals for everything from merchandise sales to the theming of many other portions of the Orlando resort's Islands of Adventure theme park."
Published: August 31, 2009 at 12:09 PMThere seems to be an anti-Disney thing going on here :)
I doubt that Disney will mess anything up with the Marvel. I know this is turning into Disney vs. Universal, but it seems that Disney has the money, drive, and resources to aquire winning products. Universal, with a few exceptions, has become a reactionary theme park company taking Disney's general ideas and updating them. Citywalk and Pleasure Island worked the same way, but PI was much older.
Walt Disney worked at first for Universal (in the 20's) and they screwed him over. I guess Disney never got over the slight ;)
Published: August 31, 2009 at 12:16 PMOf course, Disney took the idea for Pleasure Island from Church Street Station.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 12:25 PMThis just in, Disney will retheme most of its rides to Marvel.
Jungle Cruise will become Adventures in the Savage Land staring Ka-Zar, loin cloth and all.
Tom Sawyers Island will become Genosia, with Magneto granting safe haven to all mutants.
Space Mountain will become the Fantastic Fantastic 4 ride featuring Galactus.
Cinderella’s Castle will become Dr Dooms Castle, equipped with Water spraying Doom Bots.
Liberty square will be rethemed to WWII Europe with 3 daily street shows featuring Red Skull and Capitan America
The Haunted Mansion will be rethemed Ghost Riders HWY to HELL.
Stitches great escape will remain untouched
Published: August 31, 2009 at 1:46 PMI think Disney needs to come up with some of their own ideas instead of just buying everybody else's properties left and right. Other than Pixar movies...there haven't been any movies I'd consider "classics" since Lion King.
As for the parks I went to Disney World once, and unless you're a child the only good parks are Epcot and MGM Studios and even with those, once was enough for me. Universal Studios however, I've been to about a half dozen times. Price is better, rides are better...it doesn't cater primarily to young children.
For people who say Marvel is a way bigger deal than Harry Potter...are you serious? You may think so, but in terms of the general public, I see Harry Potter drawing a lot of people from all over the world to Universal Studios.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 2:21 PMTo add to Robert's reason for Disney buying them:
I work at the Disney Store and there is pretty much nothing for tween boys there. Spiderman and Co. might help a little bit. Disney also released Disney's XD Channel which seems to almost be geared towards the boys.
And Disney not making any good movies? What about Pirates franchise? Their downfall was they moved away from traditional animation. They came to the senses!
Published: August 31, 2009 at 3:12 PMAnonymous post: I think Disney needs to come up with some of their own ideas instead of just buying everybody else's properties left and right
I Respond: A substantial (if not a "vast majority") of Disney classics were based on ideas (properties) from non-Disney sources (Snow White, Pinochio, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, etc.).
And I'm from a Disney family (my wife is a CM). What's best for the company's bottomline has my support.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 4:28 PMBeen out of pocket lately but had to come back to TPI and see what everyone thought about this. I say congrats to Disney for pulling something like this off. They knew they needed to respond somehow to Universal and Harry Potter. I would say they did so with a bang. I have always been a bigger fan of the Universal parks but I can't even imagine some of the coolness Disney is going to dish out in 3-5 years after all the capital starts rolling in from movies and product.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 4:29 PMwhile I am enjoying all of the wild speculation about what the disney/ marvel deal could mean, I think we have to try and be a little more practical. Unless disney wants to engage in another "what's the difference" battle like that which happened when mgm and universal studios opened within a year of each other, I see no reason for them to use the marvel characters as a major draw to their parks. Mostly because there is already a major theme park doing it right next door (As well as almost every six flags in the country) I know big time fans will know that Marvel is different then dc etc. but to most moms and dads buying the ticket one is just as good as the other. I see them getting a lot of use in movie land and maybe a cool new themed dinning experience at DTD. Now as for this being a bigger deal then Harry Potter... dream on, TWWHP is going to change the face of universal and the kind of draw it has as a "lifestyle" vacation. Its new and never been done, superheroes at theme parks is so 1999.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 4:37 PMProfessional Wrestling is popular and dumb...why doesn't Disney buy that, too?
Published: August 31, 2009 at 6:14 PMAnon writes: Now as for this being a bigger deal then Harry Potter... dream on,
I respond: The Potter deal is a LICENSING AGREEMENT that is a limited business venture that involves attractions in a single park.
The Marvel deal is a coporate SALE. Disney is not LICENSING Marvel's characters it will OWN them. This agreement involves multiple parks, worldwide retail, television revenue, DVD sales, books, toys and BILLIONS of dollars in box office revenue.
Stan Lee gave Disney the keys to the store. When JK Rowlings does the same for Universal, you can toss around phrases like "dream on."
Published: August 31, 2009 at 6:48 PMThere is no doubt that the Marvel deal will make the Disney corporation far more money than the Potter deal will make for Universal.
However, the question is: Will it have a huge impact in the Orlando theme park wars?
In the short term, Harry Potter will benefit the Universal parks far more than Marvel will help WDW.
Disney will need at least five years to put any major attraction in DHS based on this deal. The ride would also have to be based on a lesser character since Universal has the rights to Spider-man, X-Men, Hulk, Fantastic Four and Captain America. Iron Man is the only major character that Disney could attach to it.
One could argue that Universal would be providing Disney free publicity by keeping a land based on Disney owned characters. However, that door could swing both ways.
My opinion is that Disney would eventually have to buy the rights back from Universal, for a pretty penny, in order to truly take advantage of this deal for their Florida parks. Given the high cost of this current deal, I don't see that happening for 5-10 years. After all that was done, then Disney would truly have the edge in the Harry Potter-Marvel debate.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 6:58 PMDoes this spur NBC/Universal to counter with an acquisition of its own? (Busch? DC? Sesame Workshop? Just throwing names out here.)
M&A tends to come in waves in business, as one deal prompts competitors to do their own deals in an effort to stay "even" or get ahead.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 7:33 PMI am a comic fan. I lost all respect for Marvel Comics. If Disney dictates what goes in the comic books, like Watering down the Punisher, then I wont be reading Marvel comics anymore.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 8:12 PMHappy Birthday, Mr. Rao. Mine is on Wednesday.
Published: August 31, 2009 at 8:21 PMalright, too bad this dosent make any sense. think about it. its DISNEY. DISNEY bought MARVEL. MARVEL has nothing to do with DISNEY. DISNEY has nothing to do with MARVEL. and if they take marvel super hero island, or even (the worst thing) change the spiderman ride to TRANSFORMERS, i am going to be pissed, because the transformer movies sucked. and still, IT DOSENT MAKE ANY SENSE!!!!!!
Published: August 31, 2009 at 8:38 PMIt's funny since we're on a site called TPI, that we all naturally assume this will cause wholesale changes in the theme park arena.
One of the old Walt Disney sayings is, "Remember, it all started with a mouse". Where was this mouse - film, TV, print media. The theme parks and merchandising are born of this.
Robert mentioned the TV prospects. Disney has tween girls market cornered: Hannah Montanna, HSM, Wizards, Jonas. They've been weak in the boy dept - Phineas and Ferb? (very funny by the way). The movies, oh the movies!
Then will come all the park business...
Published: August 31, 2009 at 8:50 PMThis is a postive move forward for Disney. I don't see Universal losing it's attractions and/or themed land if the contracts are as ironclad as some are suggesting, but it does my heart good knowing that they'll be selling Disney merch at their parks.
To be honest, I'm not a fan of Universal, as their park always reminded me of a golddigger: pretty, not much there, and always taking, taking, taking. At least at Disney, you feel like there's a certain value you get for your dollar.
Published: September 1, 2009 at 3:19 AMVincent S writes: I am a comic fan. I lost all respect for Marvel Comics. If Disney dictates what goes in the comic books, like Watering down the Punisher, then I wont be reading Marvel comics anymore.
I Respond: It's always amusing to see someone offer up a hypotheticAl ("If Disney dictates what goes in the comic books,...") following a statement of conclusion ("I lost all respect for Marvel Comics.").
Way to wait and see how this whole thing plays out.
Published: September 1, 2009 at 4:02 AMI can't wait to book my next cruise on the Disney MARVEL!
You wonder if this forces Uni to get preemptive and go back to early IOA concepts for a DC Comics based Super Hero Island? Seems they are getting on well with WB on this Harry Potter thing. Maybe Spidey gets the boot?
Published: September 1, 2009 at 6:27 AMI bet Marvel will more or less stay the same. Disney owns Touchstone and a ton of other "adult" movie studios. Heck, they own the American Pie movies. AMERICAN PIE MOVIES! I doubt you could get any raunchier than that with the Marvel Characters.
However this brings up a big question I always had. Did Disney ever really lose the boys? They have had ESPN for awhile and I think that is a huge market for boys. Is it because its not "Disney", but rather "Disney Company"? I just never thought that Disney really lost out on the boys.
The only thing I could see Disney really trying new that would get the boys to the Disney family is to put rides in their parks.
Looks like Universal will have to change their dumb comparision chart that is extremly misleading (except the part about pricing, they got Disney beat on that). Disney doesn't have the "yesterday favorites" anymore!
I like the Muppet example. Good brand that Disney owns, but not many know that!
Published: September 1, 2009 at 7:19 AM...and the "American Pie" franchise is owned by Universal.
Published: September 1, 2009 at 7:24 AMInteresting how many posts so far. Out of all posts, I agree most with Andy G. Like Robert stated early, Disney is trying to "balance out" its offerings to attract a much more even fan base! Universal is doing something of the same with the Potter Land.
Published: September 1, 2009 at 9:25 AMHere's a nice summary of the theme park licenses for each character according to insider sources:
Published: September 1, 2009 at 9:36 AMNikki, as she often is, is spot on with this analysis. Meshes with everything I've heard.
Published: September 1, 2009 at 9:47 AMSorry, I was wrong. American Pie is, irnoically, Universal. I saw somewhere that it was owned by a Disney movie company.
Anyway, Disney owns Miramax which has these adult gems:
Clerks (Thanks TH)
Kill Bill I and II
Scary Movie IV
Gangs of New York
And thats only Miramax! My point is that Disney has done stuff that is geared more towards adults for awhile anyway. Marvel will just be another notch in their belt
I wonder how Stan Lee is doing? He must be rolling around in giant sums of money from the amount that he is made off of Universal and Disney. I bet he couldn't imagine that happening.
Published: September 1, 2009 at 10:59 AMMy teenager daughter and son summed it up quite nicely this morning. My daughter said "I thought Disney was the happiest place on Earth" to which my son replied "Now Disney is the greediest place on Earth". Enough said.
Published: September 1, 2009 at 11:40 AMAnthony is right.
Iger has been very hands off with the various arms of the Disney empire. If it isn't broke, he doesn't fix it. Heck, the Pirates films were the first PG-13 films to fall under the Walt Disney Pictures banner. So, they were actually going down the road of darker family films anyway.
I don't see Marvel getting Disneyfied. If anything, Disney will just create separate branches for family-oriented and adult-oriented Marvel comics.
As far as Marvel merchandise at IOA, why can't Universal just stop selling Marvel products period?
I realize that the Marvel merchandise has to be the best selling products at IOA...right now. However, there will undoubtably be a paradigm shift once Harry Potter comes online. Potter sales will easily eclipse anything at either park. Universal can then scale back Marvel merchandise to a much lower level where the licensing fees paid to Disney would become midling at best.
Published: September 1, 2009 at 12:51 PMAnother great article about "What Disney Gets":
For Disney, I think this is primarily about cable TV and merch, and expanding publishing somewhat. The movies are tied up (and played out, IMHO) with other studios, and Disney won't do theme park attractions until they have a solid programming base and audience segment of their own (heck, how many years has it been for their OWN major properties to be turned into major attractions, Lion King, Mermaid, Beauty & Beast, etc. etc. -- they're not going to rush into Marvel attractions any faster).
This is about creating new programming and merch for tween/teen/action audience. Hey, they have a new network called "Disney XD" that is hurting for just that! Whaddya know!
Published: September 2, 2009 at 1:47 AMI just hope Disney doesn't kill the Spider-man ride, which would be an abomination and an affront to all theme park fans. In fact, it would be pure spite.
Published: September 2, 2009 at 11:45 PMOne perspective: The Marvel deal is old Filmed Entertainment and Feature Animation pols way of putting John Lassiter and his merry band at Pixar back in their place. The 'One Brand All Parks' strategy is Iger's direction to eliminate perceived redundancy of individual branding and localization of Disney parks. With Disney's Marvel characters, whole departments at Pixar (whose sole purpose is the invention of interesting, compelling new film characters, or as marketing thinks of them, brands) are now rendered redundant.
Hey, there's a growing studio up in the Pacific Northwest, where houses are inexpensive and the weather isn't so different from Emeryville...
Published: September 4, 2009 at 3:18 PMI think that it is a brilliant idea on Disney's part. There are many young boys who are into the Marvel characters, but find Universal Studios geared too much towards the older crowd. Since Disney deals alot with the princesses (and maybe now a few pirates), this will allow the younger crowd of boys to enjoy their Disney trip even more without having to travel to another theme park (and pay). It'll all be in one place! And it makes family vacation planning cheaper and easier. It is a shame for Universal if they have to give up their Islands of Adventure, but Disney is always trying to update their rides/attractions and try to find something new and exciting for every member of the family to keep up the attendance. This will be good for them. Universal is going a little stale with their attractions and if they didn't have the $ to nab the contract, then they need to find something else to keep the park around.
Published: September 5, 2009 at 8:01 AMThe first thing that came to mind after I heard about the Disney/Marvel deal is a 5th park at WDW geared for the boys market that Disney has so little to offer. All of the little princesses get their day at the Magic Kingdom and the little princes could have their day at Marvel Kingdom. Will they get their own makeover salon at Downtown Disney as well?
Published: September 5, 2009 at 3:29 PMCall me Goofy (or Pluto),this may seem very far-fetched but....What if this Marvel purchase is a bit deeper then we are all thinking.
I always thought that there would be a Soviet Union too. Maybe there won't always be a Universal presence in Orlando.