To begin with Disney can't use Marvel inside their parks in Florida because of the contract between Universal Studios and Marvel. Which, for example, is why the Avengerail can't be on the Epcot line since it would enter into Epcot. However, that doesn't mean Marvel can't be used outside of the parks. For example, there's a rumor that Cirque du Soleil might be dropping for La Nouba for a Marvel themed show.
Marvel is free game for west coast Disney. However there is a sensitivity to consider. There was resistance to bringing in Pixar to the Disney parks at first because it wasn't Disney. The idea of bringing in Marvel characters that seem so un-Disney like to many people (and unheard of to most people) poses a challenge. Obviously, fitting them into themes is a challenge. MIB maybe could fit in Tomorrowland with a few others, but that's even a stretch. Which leaves DCA. But DCA just got remade sans Marvel. Sooooooo maybe in a few years after the dust from DCA, ( and possibly a new Tomorrowland and a new Oz land) there might be a new Marvel land or park.
I think Disney might plan on making Marvel movies for a while to help build up the characters in the public's eye and then invest on them in the resorts.
Beyond that, Skipper Adam has it dead on. Disney would have to buy out a contract (for a ton of money) that they have no incentive to buy out. Why should they stop having their competitor sell their merchandise, advertise their characters, and maintain rides based on their characters when that is not negatively affecting them? They can do stuff in other Disney parks, just not in Florida. And Adam is right, in California it's just a tight fit, you could see it but it will probably come with some backlash.
But, and I think this is realistic, Sony will keep on making Spider-Man movies as long as they can make a boat load of cash off of them. If Amazing Spider-Man tanks, then Sony might relent, but it REALLY has to tank (like John Carter kind of tanking.) Same with X-Men and Fox, I would say that after the third X-Men movie and X-Men Origins: Wolverine that Fox started to have discussion about letting the license go back to Marvel, but then they made X-Men First Class, which pretty much insured we would get more X-Men movies from Fox.
So, with those out, I would guess the rest would eventually go back to Marvel (some already have, like Blade.)
I really think that Universal should give up on the Marvel thing and just give it to Disney. They are in a bit of a rock and a hard place with not being able to expand either. I think there is just this argument because of Spiderman. Make it Transformers and be done with it!
Now, this is not to say Disney hates this arrangement, quite the contrary, I think they like it. If they can't get the Marvel rides themselves, the next best thing is to have their chief regional competitor PAY them to have the rights for these characters, and sell Marvel merchandise in their park. As Disney sees it, they make money when you go to their parks, and when you decide to go to a Universal park, they STILL make money. And the money they make with Universal comes with none of the risk. They could, concievably, make more if they had Marvel rides on Disney property, but this setup works well.
And, yes, both Spidey's and Hulk's rehabs (Hulk got a repaint if I recall correctly) are key to Universal keeping the rights. They absolutely have to keep those rides up or risk losing the license. This is what Disney wants, to get the license back without any litigation. Which is great for us, the current version of Spidey will probably not be the last, it should have more upgrades as time goes by.
Contracts aside, I don’t think that Marvel characters FIT in current Disney’s parks, unless they build a whole land about Marvel movies and its special effects in DHS or Disney Studios Paris. I really wouldn’t like to see a Marvel ride in Tomorowland, Discoveryland, Epcot, DCA or AK.
But I would love to see an entire Marvel thrill ride based theme park, focused not on the average Disney guest, but on teenagers and thrill seekers. It could be some type of second tier brand, to compete with Six Flags, Cedar, Bush Gardens and even with Universal parks worldwide. It should have technologic advanced rides, mixed with “iron thrill rides” and DisneyQuest type attractions. It could have a superior theming compared with its competitors, but not as expensive as Disney’s theming standards. It could also be smaller, less expensive to develop and build, and have 10 to 20 twins parks around the world.
Disneyland Paris Resort president said that they will build a third gate after 2020 and that a Marvel park is an option. I believe that is a better option than mixing Hulk with Mickey Mouse.
That said, they have always done an excellent job of incorporating these outside attractions into the existing theme park landscape, so I have no doubt they would do as well with Marvel or the upcoming Avatar project. In the case of Marvel, I think that if DisneyQuest is an option, that would be an ideal marriage. A re-themeing of the park to make it a Marvel Universe attraction might be the way to go. Let's face it, nothing has been done to keep DQ relevant for a very long time, and the Marvel characters would be at home in a facility like this. Existing attractions could be themed to the characters, and new attractions could be put in place. The space is dynamic enough that each new film could become a featured attraction.
Anyone else think a Downtown Disney Marvel Universe would be a good idea?
I also love what Tim Odom wrote. If Universal is forced to properly maintain the Marvel area because of their current contract, that is a huge bonus for us theme park fans. My only real complaint with Universal in general (other than the short shelf life of most of the USO attractions) is that park maintenance is a bit suspect. Anything that forces them to better maintain IOA is a good thing.
So, yeah, I want to see Marvel attractions at Disney, but I am good with them remaining at Universal as well. I call this situation a win-win.
Marvel Super Hero Island over at Islands of Adventure, from my last visit a few days ago, is looking well maintained and the Spider Man refurbishment is excellent.
Why would Disney want to spend so much time and money working out a deal which would stop one of the biggest competitors actively promoting their brand to a high standard?
Even if Disney somehow did get the rights it's hard to see a real incentive to add the brand to Walt Disney World. For the most part it would be an awkward fit in the majority of the parks.
The cost of building a new land would be incredibly high, and even if they did create one of the most spectacular themed environments in the world, the general public would still be asking "Didn't Universal already do that?".
The only thing I saw was a few posters promoting The Avengers movie in WDS and the Disney Village so it looks like Dsiney are holding off selling anything Marvel related for the moment (this certainly isn't the case in UK Disney Stores which have been selling Marvel related merchandise for some time)
So, no, I don't believe Universal would have spent millions rehabbing Spider-Man just to toss it all away in with a small, forgettable movie clip.
1 - The Marvel theme park license was made MORE valuable by the recent success of the Avengers. Disney is making tons of money off the Avengers, but Universal is too. So, as the franchise gets more successful, the more Universal would charge for Disney to buy it out. In other words, $650 million is probably not enough. And, that is assuming Universal is willing to sell (which, more than likely, they are not.)
And, even if they were, WHY would Disney give it's closest competitor tons of money for this? What is the motivation? Disney makes money off of they competitor, they sell their merchandise at a Universal park with absolutely none of the risk, all while drawing millions to their own parks. Why would they spend this much money on getting to take up more risk and have lesser market saturation? It simply does not make sense. Remember, the main idea of Walt Disney was that the parks were simply ways to get people to buy his merchandise. That is where the money is. If you sell your merchandise at your park AND your competitor's park then you are doing well. Disney likes money, and Marvel is bringing it to them without having to spend a ton for the privilege of spending more money for the rights to spend money to design, create, and upkeep rides.
2 - If (and this is as big of an if as they come) Marvel does go to Disney, then it would take as big of a miracle to get DC to Universal. Why would Six Flags, with multiple theme parks with DC themed areas and rides, be willing to sell the rights to DC? It would, again, take a boatload of money and a lot of convincing. Probably more convincing than money, and let's be honest here, it would probably take enough money that Six Flags would be financed completely for a couple years. As unlikely as I see Marvel going to Disney, I think it is FAR more unlikely that Universal would get the DC rights.
Seriously, unless Disney strikes a deal unlike any we have ever seen, and Universal strikes another such deal, Marvel will stay at Universal until such time that Universal does not want it, which is not gonna happen anytime soon.
Iger also said that Disney's parks and resorts planning group, known as the "Imagineers," have been working on ways to incorporate Marvel into the company's theme parks, beyond Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., where Universal Studios holds the rights to the characters.
"We have a number of other opportunities ... at our other parks, notably California and Europe and in Asia -- I guess that pretty much covers the rest of the world," Iger said. "And our Imagineering group has been working over the last year ... to create more opportunities for Marvel in the parks."
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort