Does Disney own Marvel Comics? When did Disney buy Marvel? Marvel Studios, LLC (originally known as Marvel Films from 1993 to 1996) is an American film and television production company that is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, a division of Disney Entertainment, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company. Marvel Studios produces the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films and series, based on characters that appear in Marvel Comics publications.
Since 2008, Marvel Studios has released 32 films within the MCU, from Iron Man (2008) to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023), nine television series since 2021, from WandaVision (2021) to Secret Invasion (2023), and two television specials, Werewolf by Night (2022) and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022). The television series What If…? (2021) is the studio’s first animated property, created by its “mini-studio” Marvel Studios Animation. These films, television series, and television specials all share continuity with each other, along with the One-Shots short films produced by the studio. The television series produced by Marvel Television also acknowledge the continuity.
Does Disney own Marvel Comics?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has captured the imagination of moviegoers for over a decade now, with the announcement of upcoming titles like “Captain America New World Order” and “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” whipping the fandom into a frenzy.
Given the somewhat danger-drive plotlines of most Marvel movies, it might surprise viewers to know that the answer to the question “Who owns Marvel?” is in fact the house that Mickey built: the Walt Disney Co.
Although former CEO Bob Iger admitted some Disney execs had originally been concerned the characters were a bit more “edgy” than the Disney brand, the bet to buy the comic-book giant paid off handsomely. As Marvel Phase 5 and 6 make their way to the big screen and promise more box office gains, here’s you need to know about the original acquisition.
When did Disney buy Marvel?
Disney bought Marvel in 2009, securing rights to Marvel Entertainment’s plentiful realm of superheroes. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has since been a cash cow for Disney, raking in box office sales with major titles like “Avengers: Endgame” and “Black Panther.” Disney+, the company’s streaming platform, has also reaped the benefits with hit shows like “WandaVision” and “Ms. Marvel.”
Why did Marvel sell to Disney?
In 2009, The New York Times reported that Marvel had trouble financing some of its major movies and meeting a requirement to raise a third of its budget by selling off overseas distribution rights. The company ended up needing to finance that third itself, which would be a great deal easier as a subsidiary of Disney.
Disney, on the other hand, was focused on growth. Iger said of the deal, “There are so many opportunities to mine both characters that are known and characters that are not widely known.”
Iger later wrote in his book, “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company,” that his predecessor Michael Eisner had expressed interest in acquiring Marvel years earlier, but other Disney executives were concerned the characters didn’t fit with the brand’s family- friendly reputation.
ABC, ESPN, and Other TV Networks Disney Owns
The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and The Walt Disney Company have a longstanding relationship going back to the 1950s and the days of Walt Disney. In 1954, Walt Disney agreed to produce a regular television series for the network, and in return, ABC made an investment in the Disneyland theme park.
ABC made a $500,000 investment and a guarantee of an additional $4.5 million in loans, which in turn made ABC one-third owner of Disneyland at the time. Disney would eventually buy back ABC’s investment in Disneyland in 1960 for the price of $7.5 million. In July 1995, Disney and ABC announced a merger that would be completed in February 1996.
The acquisition granted Disney ownership of the ABC network, along with percentages in ESPN, The History Channel, A&E Network, Lifetime Television, a publishing group, and ABC Radio. Disney later sold much of the publishing group. The ABC Radio stations were also sold off in 2006. For ESPN, Disney’s merger with ABC gave Disney an 80% controlling interest in the sports giant and media conglomerate.
Disney Bought Pixar in 2006
The events that led to Disney acquiring Pixar had some earth-shattering and far-reaching consequences for The Walt Disney Company that were felt for years. In the 2000s, the relationship between Disney and Pixar had frayed, despite many successful past collaborations. At the time, Pixar CEO Steve Jobs was looking to negotiate with other partnering studio distributors for Pixar.
Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Disney founder Walt Disney and the largest individual shareholder of Disney, resigned from the company in 2003, calling for a shareholder revolt against then-CEO Michael Eisner. In 2004, Eisner received a 45% no-confidence vote from shareholders, and as a result, he was stripped of his Chairman-of-the-Board power. Later in 2005, Eisner stepped down from his post as Disney CEO. He was succeeded by Bob Iger, who is currently still the CEO of Disney to this day, despite a period of brief succession by Bob Chapek.
With Eisner gone and Disney under new leadership, Iger was able to mend fences between Disney and Pixar. In May 2006, Disney announced the $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar. The new deal made Jobs a director on Disney’s board, and Pixar would continue producing a number of hit award-winning films released by Disney Studios for years to come. It also gave Bob Iger the first of many big acquisition victories that came under his tenure as Disney CEO. Iger’s tenure as CEO oversaw Disney’s acquisitions of no less than Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox.
Disney Has Majority Ownership of National Geographic Partners LLC
Disney now has majority ownership of National Graphic, or as it is known under its official business name, National Geographic Partners, LLC. In case you are wondering why National Geographic documentaries are available now on Disney+, this was the result of Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2019.
When the National Geographic Society formed a corporate partnership with 21st Century Fox, that granted Fox majority ownership of National Geographic Magazine and National Geographic’s various affiliated television networks. And since Disney acquired 21st Century Fox and Fox’s entertainment assets in the 2019 acquisition, that majority ownership transferred over to Disney as well. This grants Disney majority ownership of National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic Kids, National Geographic TV, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo People, Nat Geo Maps, and Under the Stars.
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