Published: July 10, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Well then... your just a party pooper.. lol jk.. thank you for clearing all that up. The owning rights in this day and age can be a bit confusing at times. I do have a question though... Could Universal just outbid Six Flags for the theme park rights? I mean lets look at the big picture, Universal has deeper pockets than Six Flags could ever dream of.
TH Creative

Published: July 10, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Robert Niles writes: "The Epcot monorail line does into that park, so if a Marvel character were depicted on those trains, Disney would be in breach of contract with Universal, and liable in what could be a nasty, expensive lawsuit."

I Respond: That's BRILLIANT!

Robert Niles typos: "Hong King"

I Respond: That's funny.

Robert Niles

Published: July 10, 2013 at 6:17 PM

It's not up for bid, though. Six Flags has a contract. Universal would need to offer Warner Bros. so much more than $3.3 million/year that Warner Bros. would in turn be inspired to make Six Flags an offer to buy out those rights that would be large enough that Six Flags would decide to accept. (That would be Universal paying Warner Bros. to pay Six Flags.) And Six Flags would have every right to say no, just as Universal would have every right to say no to Disney on the Marvel characters.
Robert Niles

Published: July 10, 2013 at 6:18 PM



TH Creative

Published: July 10, 2013 at 6:29 PM

R. Niles ... I should hope so ... I just trademarked the name "Hong King" and have sold the attraction rights to Fun Spot ... But only on attractions east of 535.
Rob Pastor

Published: July 10, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Glad to see you wrote this very concise article. It gets real tiring to have to hear the DC & Marvel theme park what ifs on various forums.
robert morris

Published: July 10, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Ultimately Universal's most valuable asset is the one they under use in Orlando.

And that is their classic monsters...with exception to a counter service restaurant and a highly underrated demonstration show in the Studios Park.

Perhaps re-facing the Hulk as Dr. Frankstein's Laboratory and a different Green Monster is born.

Dr. Doom being re-branded to a Mad Scientist

Spiderman with the ride machines re-faced for carriages and become a crazed ride thru Transylvania

Dracula's castle being built on the site of the current amphitheater for a semi-thrill classic dark ride

Retheme the lagoon side for the Creature of the Black Lagoon

Reface the buildings and streets

Storm Force Escape from the Wolf Man?

Matthew Malin

Published: July 10, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Great article Robert!! And Robert morris, you're making me drool!
robert morris

Published: July 10, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Matthew Malin...thank you

And I will probably be citing this article for a long time when people bring up DC Comics Land at IOA

I also have a crazy idea for a way to expand IOA to the partial of land between Cabana Bay and Royal Pacific that actual would fit for theme and rebrand Toon Lagoon at the same time.

Jeffrey H

Published: July 10, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Thanks for clearing all that up, Robert. We can dream though, can't we? It's a serious shame that Six Flags still holds on to those rights, because they are criminally underutilized on roller coasters and hastily-themed carnival rides.

Plus, I want the best of both worlds: Superhero rides at Universal and Disney. That would be awesome.

Published: July 10, 2013 at 8:55 PM

You list an all or nothing world, based logically on legal terms. But, what if a deal involved a little bit of this, a little bit of that and most importantly let them keep something BIG. Remember...

The NBC Sports Channel is doing horribly and will suffer even more with the upcoming launch of FOX Sports 1 AND 2. They must obtain more marque broadcast deals or remain an also ran outside of hockey and the Olympics. But, their all locked-p!

The Golf Channel, owned by NBC Sports, is another also ran. It needs more marque events, but again their locked-up with competitors.

Universal Pictures is about to release R.I.P.D. and tracking has it D.O.A. and a $225 million film, 47 Ronin, sits on their books, but they keep delaying it to avoid an inevitable write-off. They've abandoned the blockbuster, but their Legendary deal will get them back into it. But, UP needs better executive talent and a stronger development slate. Legendary can't do it all.

Answer this... Have Universal and Disney ever done a rights and talent trade before?

Using my hints above... How can Disney help Universal in more strategic areas without jeopardizing Disney, but at the same time still helping Disney?

Robert Niles

Published: July 10, 2013 at 9:29 PM

I don't want anyone to think that these deals never could happen. Anything can happen in business if you throw enough money at it. But I do want all of us to be realistic and to understand exactly what needs to happen for these characters to move.
Phil B.

Published: July 10, 2013 at 9:49 PM

R. Morris just nailed a classic Universal Monster land! I'm 99.99% sure it would never happen, especially to replace the Marvel brand, but as a new land in a current or yet to be built park, I think his ideas have "win" written all over them.
Tim Odom

Published: July 11, 2013 at 6:57 AM

Thank you, Mr. Niles. I was running out of ways to say 'no' to the various unfounded rumors of Universal somehow getting DC characters to replace Marvel. It's a pet peeve of mine (along with the unfounded LOTR to Disney stuff, which is about as likely as JRR Tolkien rising from the grave to become a performer in Cirque du Soleil.)

So, thank you again.

Anon Mouse

Published: July 11, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Legendary moving to Universal makes it much much harder for DC Comics to go to Universal. The competitive conflict of interest will prevent Warner Bros from warming to the idea. I would think Universal have thought it through before accepting Legendary. Nonetheless, there is nothing to say things can't change 10 years down. Agreements change. The Legendary partnership with Universal can collapse, and Six Flags can further go down the toilet and cancel their agreement with Warner Bros.
Brian Emery

Published: July 11, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Since Disney owner of Marvel and The Wolverine is coming out On July 26th but by 20th Century Fox movies… I am wondering if Disney was involved with this movie or do they just get $$$ from the rights to Marvel since Wolverine is a Marvel comic character..

Sorry if I did not word this correctly..
But it is confusing..

I did suggest to Robert he should create a section of who owns what on his wonderful site...

Russell Meyer

Published: July 11, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Fox owns the distribution rights to the Fantastic 4 and X-Men franchises, along with any spinoffs. However, Marvel gets a cut of the profits because it's thier property. So while Disney doesn't have to do any work for the upcoming "The Wolverine", they get a cut of the profits from Fox.

Published: July 11, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Thanks for writing the article, it's good to know who owns what, especially in Florida where my family and friends vacation as often as possible.
I have one question however, if IOA wants to expand, or bring in a new ride, do they have to communicate their ideas with Disney, or can they proceed as they wish?

Published: July 11, 2013 at 12:29 PM

So, what about live action DC Comics representations, like those in Tim Burton's Batman series, then Nolan's Dark Knight, and now Superman. Who owns the theme park rights (if anybody) for those? I know it has ties back to Warner/DC
Maybe I'm just confused, (highly possible), but the wording there, "Warner Bros. and DC Comics animated characters" leads me to believe comic book and/or computer or hand-drawn characters only, NOT live action representations. Or, is there no distinction between the two here?
Tim Odom

Published: July 12, 2013 at 7:03 AM

To answer that, there would be no discernable difference between the live action and animated version of the characters. Batman is Batman, regardless of if it is the 60's TV show, the 80's comic, the 90's animated show, or from the the recent Nolan films. Thus, the rights for Batman cover all versions, and Six Flags has them.

Also, from what I read in the contract, Universal can't expand the Marvel area without input from Marvel (aka Disney.) Since Disney is not about to say 'yeah, make another E-ticket attraction with our characters', the Marvel Superhero Island is probably not going to expand anytime soon.

One thing here, Universal does have rights to 95% of Marvel characters, not all. They own the rights to the characters they use AND their families, which because everyone has been an Avenger means the vast majority of Marvel is under contract to Universal. Seriously, between having the Avengers, FF, and X-Men locked up, they have almost every character. But, if Disney wanted to do a ride based on a completely unrelated character to the families Universal has (like the old Malibu Comics characters) they probably could. Now, no one would know who the hell Prime was, but hey, they could probably do it and get away with it.

Published: July 12, 2013 at 10:24 AM

To the poster above a rights trade has been done before, Specifically between Universal and Disney. Universal traded the rights to Walt Disney's original creation of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit for the contract of sportscaster Al Michaels, who at the time was working at ABC sports.
Tim Odom

Published: July 15, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Agreed, a trade has been done in the past. But, that particular trade was pretty different than anything being proposed here. Disney had no particular reason to keep Al Michaels' rights, they lost the NFL rights so it was either ship him to ESPN to do Monday Night Football, or get something for him. And NBC/Universal had no use for the Oswald rights, they were never using the character. It was in everyone's best interest.

This is completely different. What, outside of heaps of cold hard cash, does Disney have to offer Universal to get the Marvel rights back? And why would they offer it, when they profit off of the exposure of their characters and merchandise all while not having to service the rides? Remember, the value here is exponentially more than Al Michaels, so Disney would have to offer something of substantially more value. What would that be, and why would they do it?

Until I have the answer to those questions, I cannot see Disney acquiring the Marvel rights. Maybe sometime in the future, like 2030 or something, but not anytime soon.