Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Brent weighs in on the Mouse/Marvel Deal

Alrighty, I've gotten a bunch of emails, texts, msn conversations and one honest to goodness discussion with real life people about this so I figured I'd weigh in and let everyone know about my feelings on the Disney buying Marvel deal.

This is not the end of the world in fact this could be something awesome.

Now before the accusations start coming out left right and center about how I'm a four fingered glove wearing anti-Semite rodent loving asshole, let me explain.

As a corporation, I am not a fan of Disney. I haven not been for awhile. Many of their policies from everything from film to their parks are out of date. The fact they bullied US law makers to change the rules for public domain just so they can gain profits from the Steamboat Willie version of Mickey Mouse just a little while longer is deplorable at it's very least and goddamn scary at it's very most. I base these statements on matters of public record and personal knowledge from a few people who have/are working for The Mouse.

Now then, creatively, Disney has been making strides the past few years, much in part to this guy:

Kind of recognise him? That's John Lasseter who is the current chief creative officer for Pixar animation and Disney animation. He got his job when Pixar was bought by Disney when they had the good sense to realise they had been churning out a ton of crap and the only good films Disney had "produced" in the past ten years + were Pixar films.

John has been a great creative force at Pixar. He was the director and writer on Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2 and Cars. He served as executive producer on all of Pixar's offerings from Toy Story up.

Now why am I using him as an example of where the Marvel deal might turn out great?

When John got his job at Disney he made numerous changes. He reopened the idea of Disney ANIMATION which had been shut down in favor of Disney CG animation. He got rid of those crappy straight to video sequels that Disney had been turning out (without much imagination I might add. One particular sequel, the Little Mermaid 2 or 3 features Ariel's daughter wanting to be a mermaid... essentially the Little Mermaid in rewind) just to make a buck.

John also brought back something I love. Animated shorts before Disney (or Disney company) films. Give me Goofy trying to hook up his home theater instead of a preview any day!

But what Disney had given John's position when he brought in was almost complete creative control. John Lasseter reports to Disney President and CEO Bob Iger. Greenlighting wise, John goes through Roy Disney for consent.

And why did Disney even allow this to happen?

Because someone there realised that their name used to mean creativity and now it only meant crap. Say what you might about Walt but he and his imagineers and the original animators turned out QUALITY product and at the time, innovative.

Which brings us to Marvel.

Marvel was bought for two reasons.

1) Instant Male Demographic.
Disney has been having a hard time grabbing the male audience especially of the older variety. Beyond Pirates of the Caribbean, there isn't much ass kicking at The Mouse. The Marvel characters instantly lend themselves to a male demographic that Disney wants.

2) Intellectual Properties
Ever wondered why Time Warner bought DC in the first place? Shitloads of characters and stories that they wouldn't have to pay for. Same deal with Disney and Marvel. Disney must have took a look at Marvel's back catalogue of stuff and crapped themselves. Even taking away properties like Spider-Man, Daredevil, Fantastic Four and the X-Men (which are all locked into film deals somewhere else) that still leaves you with a wealth of well known characters to choose from for movies, cartoons and lord knows what else. And lets not forget the example Blade set out. Blade was not a recognisable or well remembered character when his film came along and the film did really well. If Disney put together the right amount of money and the right creative minds together, many of the B and C level characters (Power Man and Iron Fist, I'm looking in your general direction) might make awesome films.

Now why would Marvel even be considering this deal? Like they've been doing great, opened up their own film studio, why don't they just keep on their own?

In a word, money.

The deal is for 4 BILLION dollars.

Besides that, marvel has been self financing their latest round of movies. Iron Man and Iron Man 2 not to mention a bunch that are in pre-production.

These movies are expensive. Really expensive.

Like look at Thor for instance. While no one is quiet sure about the film, we know a lot of it is going to take place in Asgard which is a lot of money in sets or cgi or however they figure on doing it.

Disney has the money to get that stuff accomplished without going broke.

That is assuming the deal goes through. Marvel's stockholders still have to vote.

Now I'm going to state a set of predictions, we'll take a look at this post over the next few years and see how I did.

1) Marvel Publishing will not change. Really the amount of money the publishing arm brings is very small compared to the rest of the company. Do not expect any major changes anytime soon aside from the possibility of when the rights to Disney properties in the comics come up, expect to see them head into Marvel under an all ages line.

2) Thor is going to be delayed or canceled. I don't like saying that due to the fact I have faith in that film project but to be completely honest, if I was Disney, that is the one in pre-production film I would have the least faith in. Thor doesn't have a huge built in audience like Spider-man or the X-Men and the amount of money needed to drive this feature may cause some backtracking or out right cancellation.

3) Better Marvel animated stuff. You see it's been kind of a weird trade off. Marvel's movies in the past few years have been solid where as DC has failed to launch with the exception of Batman. But Marvel's animation has been craptacular and DC's straight to video animation has been really solid. Expect a stop to Marvel's run of straight to video dvd's and expect them to come back in a few years with better quality and hopefully better creative productions.

4) Marvel characters in a future Kingdom Hearts game... okay I may be stretching on that one just due to the fact that the Hulk could whupp anyone from Final Fantasy.

And one last thing.

No, in our interview with Joe Quesada he didn't even hint that this was going on. I imagine he was unable to due to business restrictions.


That being said, our good friend Pete DeCourcy over at Comic Book Daily mentioned that on Sunday, Joe had to excuse himself from a panel early for a "very important" business meeting.

And nobody followed it up at the con later.

Oh and for the two of you who mentioned to me about the possibility of Fox's reboot of the Fantastic Four and how this could help it:

1) The Fantastic Four is locked with Fox unless they give it up. The Disney buy out will not effect the current franchise or any up-coming reboot.

2) Nothing can help the Fantastic Four not suck...I'm sorry, it's true.


Diana Poulen said...

It was the Marvel characters showing up in Kingdom Hearts that sold me on the deal. Watching Wolverine beat the shit out of the fundamentalist Sora would make my day. There could totally be a 'help Wolverine retrieve his memories' mini narrative and have Xenohart/Ansem put Adamantium in him. (KH nerd rant: Sora = evil. Seriously, how can anyone determine good vs evil so quickly without being essentially evil? This much more evident in KH2, since he barely inquires why organization XIII is doing what they are doing; Sora simply knows they are evil. The voice in first game did say the closer you get the light the greater your shadow becomes.)

Anonymous said...

zomg, what a spaz. I spelt my own name wrong.

Geoff said...

A very interesting and informative overview of the situation. Awesome.

While I agree with most everything said; so many blog posts have brought up how bad Marvel Animation has been lately. The made for TV movies that have made which have that weird pseudo-anime going on didn't really do anything for me, and the new kid Iron Man seems really off in a lot of ways... But I don't think it's been all bad at all.

I thought Hulk vs. was a fairly well done duo. Nothing spectacular but not bad by any means. I haven't seen much of Wolverine and the X-men, but at least it seems a lot of effort has been put into it. And while Marvel's involvement probably wasn't too high, Spectacular Spiderman was a phenomenal series in my opinion. It was well written, had a distinct visual and animation style which I rather enjoyed, and was voice acted very good as well.

I'm not an industry buff in the slightest, and I am also pretty new to comics so perhaps Spectacular doesn't count as a Marvel animation or perhaps it's not as good for comics fans as it was for me. Oh well.