Universal fans: "Huh? Whaaa?"
And Universal Orlando's lawyers earn some billable hours this morning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Probably the X-Men's Storm as well.
Um, "we believe"? And no mention of the length of the deal?
Like I said, the Universal lawyers are getting some hours today.
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.
And the ever popular newly themed Green Machine roller coaster at IOA…
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."
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 ;)
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
Iron Man 2 (May 2010)
Thor (May 2011)
Captain America (July 2011)
The Avengers (May 2012)
Everyone remember how Disney's recent quarterly revenue reports were suffering because their box office receipts had been so anemic?
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.
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!
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.
You make take that comment up from there. (Chuckles....)
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."
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.
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.
Just wished I'd have held on to that Marvel (MVL) stock when I bought it years ago at $4 per share....
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...
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.
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.
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?
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!
I Respond: To heck with 'American Pie!' Disney owns Kevin Smith's 'Clerks!'
Anyway, Disney owns Miramax which has these adult gems:DogmaClerks (Thanks TH)Kill Bill I and IIChicagoScary Movie IVResivor DogsGangs 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.
Universal gift shops will continue to sell merchandise featuring Marvel characters which, in turn will generate revenue for Disney.
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.
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!
Hey, there's a growing studio up in the Pacific Northwest, where houses are inexpensive and the weather isn't so different from Emeryville...
I always thought that there would be a Soviet Union too. Maybe there won't always be a Universal presence in Orlando.