Bob Iger Talks Disney's Purchase of Marvel at D23 Expo

September 10, 2009
Source: ScreenCrave

Mickey Mouse - Bob Iger

It's been almost two weeks since the industry was abuzz with talk about Disney's $4 billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. There's been speculation of Pixar adapting Marvel properties, to Disney dulling down some of the edginess that Marvel contains in is extensive catalog of stories and characters. Needless to say, in a purchase of this size, there's bound to be plenty of loose ends to tie up and concerns to address. Disney President and CEO Bob Iger tried to quell some of those concerns in a surprise appearance at the D23 Expo, but he just might have raised a whole new set of concerns for Disney and Marvel fans.

Iger compared the Marvel relationship to the one they have with Pixar, which is quite good news. "It’s definitely analogous in terms of how we plan to manage Marvel. We recognize in Pixar a culture and a way of doing business that is really impressive, that we felt in many ways was the essence of what Pixar was, between the filmmakers, animators, etc." He also added, in regards to Marvel, this tidbit:

"As you'd expect, due to the nature of Marvel, it’s a business we’re very familiar with. Well known characters and weird stories and a product that transcends gender and age and geographic territories," Iger said.

"When you look at it as part of the Walt Disney Company and the application, the presence of Marvel is virtually in everything that we’re in. You can expect that over time, that’s what you will see. We became impressed with the talent of Marvel as we got to know them better. Once the the deal closes their is expected integration, but we plan to keep Marvel as an entity and and to respect both the talent that is there, working as one and also respect what Marvel is and what the essence of Marvel is. There will be no Disneyfication of Marvel."

Everything seems great, until Iger went on to mention: "There are also some legacy agreements that Marvel has in a variety of ways to the theme park with Universal to the distribution of the live action films. So until some of these things work their course, or until we get a better sense when the deal closes, there isn’t much planning that can be done, until we reach an agreement."  So what it sounds like is there's still a lot of red tape to get through, as can be expected, but the bad news is this might hinder any immediate progress of new projects that Marvel and Disney might develop under this new banner.  And with fast track projects like 20th Century Fox's Fantastic Four reboot, which seems to be green-lit only to keep the intellectual property from reverting to Disney, there's sure to be many more hiccups along the way.

When it comes to the theme park aspect of things, I personally can't wait to see what Disney does with Marvel in their theme parks.  While the Marvel part of Universal Studios is fun, in my opinion, it doesn't even come close to the magic and wonder that kids and adults alike feel when they go to Disneyland.  Everyone remembers their trip to Disneyland or Disneyworld.  And while there are some interesting Marvel ties at Universal Studios theme parks, I just know in my heart that Disney can do it much better. That's all Iger said for now. Do you guys still have any concerns about Disney's purchase of Marvel?

Find more posts: Movie News, Opinions



Im still not happy that Disney bought Marvel. Marvel should be independent again...Its like a war..cept in film-making..

Jordan on Sep 10, 2009


All I want to know is are we FINALLY going to get some american releases for the Marvel animated shows on dvd. Im so tired of seing europe get the dvds and the U.S. cant get american television.

hale on Sep 10, 2009


I'm cool with it as long as Disney doesn't f up Spider-man. Stay true to the classic, original comics, and please remake X-men.

Peter Parker on Sep 10, 2009


Disney has been trying to make a more "adult" theme park for years. Originally they were going to build a Villains park out by Animal Kingdom in Orlando that was going to be comparable to Universal's Islands of Adventure (where Marvel is now) but that never happened. I highly doubt they'll ever make a Marvel park simply because of the risk involved both in liabilities, and in consumer draw. Disney attracts mostly families with young kids, and I don't think enough people would go to Disney just for a super hero's park. I could be wrong, but even if I am....Disney is obsessed with safety, and the more thrilling the ride the more risk involved, which is another reason why Disney doesn't have a lot of thrill rides. For example if someone drops something as simple as a hat on Rockin Roller Coaster, the attraction will shut down due to "technical difficulties" for well over an hour. Disney still claims that no one has ever "died at Disney World" even though people have been run over by floats, fallen from rides, and the recent monorail crash....but despite all of this Disney will not allow it's own privately run medical staff to pronounce people dead on Disney property. They will do what it takes to keep them alive until they get them to a hospital where they'll be pronounced dead on arrival. The Spiderman attraction at Universal is the best ride of any kind I've ever been on. Disney just recently in the past year opened a Toy Story ride that has comparable 3D interactive technology. Spiderman has been open at Universal for nearly a decade, if not longer! And to be honest even though I loved the new Toy Story Mania's still not as cool as Spiderman at Universal (and I prefer the Toy Story characters over Spiderman). On top of that, the Toy Story ride is an interactive laser shooting game/ride, and it's still not as good as Universal's Men in Black interactive laser shooting game/ride. And I LOVE Disney World. I could spend all day, everyday there. But when it comes to "rides" they're always subpar to me compared to other parks (their "shows" on the other hand are top notch). I agree with the author of this post, that I too love Disney's creativity and imagination and I would love to see what they could really do with the Marvel characters.....but Disney's corporate culture and policies will handcuff all of that potential into simple rinky dink rides that will only appeal to kids under the age of 8. It's the Disney way. I still think this is going to destroy what Marvel has built. I hope I'm wrong. I hope with Disney's financial and creative backing they can make even better movies, but Disney's grip for profit is much stronger than their desire to put out fan based films. WHICH, might I add is a primary difference between Marvel and Pixar. Pixar's fanbase is new and mostly comprised of families. Marvel fans won't be happy when Disney gets creative with the material....which they will do....because Marvel fans have been around forever. And while plenty of them are kids, most are male adults. A demographic that Disney has never been good at it's entire history.

ImaginaryVisionary on Sep 10, 2009


Both Marvel and Disney are shadows of their formal selves, so I don't really care unless we get BETTER art out of it. That includes films, comics, etc.

Tristan on Sep 10, 2009


Wow...I should have known this was Ethan writing being such a crap article. Seriously man? You're excited? I hope Disney never does anything with Marvel and I'd rather see Fox screw up films with some potential (they could do it *cough*) than Disney just make it worse than we could have imagine. What's said above is true and believe me, I have an annual pass to Disney. Yes, it's fun, pretty much just to hang out at. There are so opportunities there but to think they are going to make a park on this? Psh...get a clue by actually doing some journalism. I know why you're here Ethan, 'cause since I've been reading your stuff, I have come to respect Alex more. Luckily Universal has most of Marvel's characters, although their costumes are horrible...AND IT'S UNIVERSAL. I get their angle, it's based off the 90's cartoon and what not, but they could still look a little better than what they are. They do have a great comic store though, the Hulk ride is something you'd NEVER see at Disney, and Spiderman and MIB are way better than Disney's equiv. I think the only ride I enjoy at The Magical Kingdom is The Haunted Mansion. Easily the best ride there and Epcot has a few but honestly, they have really went down hill since I was 10. I'm 22 now. Their rides lack something and now Space Mountain is being revamped. Their shows are great and I continuously forget MGM (Hollywood Studios for the prepubescents) is Disney. Still, after Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith coaster, time for another park. I hated Monster's Inc. but the show was awesomely funny and Stitch, where Alien Encounter used to be, is still quite fun and similar in a more humorous way. This was a waste and what I can only comprehend as a way for Disney to be some sort of monopoly, which means they could create a "fun" park. There move here was random and out of the blue, especially with someone like Marvel. I'd think they were losing money, if I knew it wasn't obviously wrong. Still, this is a horrible event. Maybe some red tape will prevent it, but I would like to see behind-the-scenes as to why Disney wanted to buy and Marvel to sell. there's something we don't know and it's unfortunate.

Tra la la la la di da on Sep 10, 2009


hell yes. I still think this is great news

DoomCanoe on Sep 10, 2009


I do NOT want to see Marvel heroes in the parks, period. Those parks are about Walt Disney, not Stan Lee. It's bad enough the Muppets are there.

Celestial on Sep 10, 2009


As a budding director, I had hopes earlier about directing my own movies about my favorite Marvel characters (and I am very much a Marvel man), but since this buyout...I don't know. Being in Disney's employ, while it could be financially beneficial, could place a permanent, round-eared shadow on one's reputation. And that is not a good thing.

Angry Chief on Sep 10, 2009


oh no...could this affect the movies that are supposed to be released in the coming years? like First Avenger, Thor movie or the even theAvengers movie?? i really hope disney wont screw things up again...sigh

L on Sep 10, 2009


Miramax is owned by Disney. End of story.

Tristan on Sep 10, 2009


Oh, Tra la la la la di da, You are such a wordsmith and I could never measure up to your potential. I wish you luck and success in all your endeavors.

Ethan Anderton on Sep 11, 2009


Imaginary Visionary, you make some valid points, but I think that Disney is just a house of brand names and they know that they don't need to try and fix a finely tuned machine in Marvel Entertainment. If I interpret #10, Tristan's comments as positive, then I think it's a good point to make that Disney not only owns Miramax but also Touchstone and they put out gritty and edgy R-rated films all the time. So I don't think we have to worry about Disney ruining any Marvel properties. They know how dedicated Marvel fans are and they don't want to lose that base anytime soon.

Ethan Anderton on Sep 11, 2009


D23 was boring and photography was prohibited practically everywhere. Disney will have to offer a lot more interesting things to see and do if they want people back next year. The Anaheim Convention Center is huge and most of the space was filled with seating and tables to eat at. And the cast members were mostly clueless about where anything was. The only good thing about Thursday was they screened the first 30 minutes of The Princess and the Frog, which looked great. The first musical number got a huge ovation. Hopefully Tim Burton can make today more enjoyable.

EJP on Sep 11, 2009


I'm not convinced, no. I still think Disney will screw it up.

RStewie on Sep 11, 2009


Hey man i gotta honestly say i really dont care who owns it anymore as long as they will start making the movies already. Ones that all have been waiting on for like 10 years. Oh and..... Hey #6, what the fuck dude. You say your 22 years old and have a annual pass to Disneyworld for a hangout spot. Dude get some fucking friends, get some beer and hit up some backroads or something, sounds like you need a woman too. Obvioulsly you live in the sunshine state, be productive and go fucking wakeboarding or out to a nightclub or something, and stop getting your jollies off bashing every man that trys to give his two cents on this site. Oh and editor, i appologize but someone had to say it.

Fubar on Sep 11, 2009


do some people forget that Marvel only going to make PG-13 movies. been at Disney is not a issue cause Disney has produce PG-13 movies i.e. pirates of the caribbean, tron, Prince of Persia

mace on Sep 11, 2009


#16 you're right. That commenter is usually a doosh. He's just the same as everyone on the internet these days. Always finds something negative to say and comic book adaptation will never live up to the books. If you think all the superhero movies suck, then stay at home like a loser and read your comic books. I on the other hand will get some dinner and go to the movies with my friends/girlfriend and actually have a life.

branden on Sep 11, 2009


I really do hope Disney can work well with Marvel. It has potential to be a great brand name combo, but I've worked for Disney and studied Disney culturally and economically and Disney is not only a very corrupt, but very controlling company. Yes, they own Touchstone and Miramax who have put out some pretty gritty movies (Pulp Fiction was Miramax I believe) but the difference is Disney is recognized as a "Family" entertainment company. Marvel characters are recognized primarily as a kids entity. What parents are going to expect out of Disney is going to shape how Marvel makes films under the Disney name....and what parents are going to expect are family oriented films. So while the film's may not suck, I doubt they'll ever become any edgier than they already are and Marvel will never make a Dark Knight. If they stay the same that's a best case scenario. My guess is their going to soften the stories and be flashy action movies. Someone above was wondering the reason for Disney buying Marvel. I'm not an insider, but in my opinion which I can say with a certain degree of certainty is that this move was to capture a more male audience. I've posted about this before, but Disney hasn't been good at attracting boys for quite some time. They hit the motherload with Pirates of the Caribbean, but that franchise is pretty much over (for now). Before that they bought out Power Rangers, which was a bizarre move that angered a lot of parents as well as Disney fans because it's crap entertainment that promotes violence and little more. When I was a kid they bought out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and if you remember when the Turtles became a touring musical group.....yeah that was Disney trying to expand on the Ninja Turtles. I doubt they'll make that sort of mistake again, but still....even the Power Rangers saw better days before Disney (if thats even possible). For the most part Disney profits off of the Power Ranger toy line, which is all the show is designed to do (sell toys!) But with Marvel Disney has a pretty strong hand in the male audience now, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just that Disney can easily kill a good idea by pushing it too much. Personally I think the Superhero movies do have a threshold in our culture before the audience starts rejecting the concept. Right now I think they're at the pinnacle of a pretty good balance (last summer we were bombarded with superhero movies, this summer we got a break). I think Disney is going to push super hero's into too many markets and ultimately saturate the market until our culture starts rejecting it as a fad.....with the exception of little boys who will always play with super hero's, which is still going to work out perfectly for Disney because then they'll keep making the super hero films more and more kid friendly. If they make the comic films for adults, a certain percentage of the family audience will not take their kids because they're not kid friendly enough. That percentage of the audience is probably larger than the adult with no kids who goes to see comic films. So if they make them more kid friendly Disney will actually see an increase in ticket sales. Die hard comic fans may still go, and families will go, and if the Die hards don't go....Disney still won't be losing out because the families are buying 3-6 tickets per trip as a opposed to 1-2 for the comic die hards. They have very little too gain by keeping Marvel films adult oriented. As much as I'd like to believe Disney cares about the integrity of the Marvel brand....I know in the end their main goal is going to be profit.

ImaginaryVisionary on Sep 11, 2009


@5 wall of text, didnt bother.

iansixdeuce on Sep 11, 2009


Doesn't anybody think this will be great for that new "RUNAWAYS" Children of Super-Villains movie at Marvel?!? Come on! It could be a blast!

SS on Sep 11, 2009


i mean now that Marvel and disney are together, what do u think disney will to the Marvel Knights? i cant imagine what the Punisher or Blade will be like now...

L on Sep 11, 2009


#21 - I've been looking forward to seeing that since it got announced... But no studio has broken into the villain movie yet... Someone needs to do that and do it in a big way before we start seeing movies about villains left-n-right. Which, if it happens, there is so much potential! Runaways is just the start...

Alex Billington on Sep 12, 2009


#21, I also think that Runaways is one of the most original comic properties that has been picked up and Alex is right, something needs to be done with it quickly. It's an awesome concept. I've also been waiting a long time to see if they'll ever do anything with J. Michael Straczynski's Rising Stars series. When they adapted the comics into a 3-part novel they advertised that it was going to become a movie, but nothing has come of that. If you haven't checked out that series, I recommend giving it a read as well.

Ethan Anderton on Sep 12, 2009


I doubt that Disney will "leave Marvel as an entity" entirely, but I don't see the changes some fear are coming. Marvel comics show more T&A than they used to, but what else? Disney movies show more cartoon T&A too. So does every teenager at the mall. Marvel (excepting maybe MAX and the occasional more "adult" lines) has always been family-clean. What's the mouse going to change? Number 4, what your complaint with Marvel's art? What "better" artists would you want to see?

zubzwank on Sep 12, 2009


Angry chief brought up the first legitimate concern I've heard so far. Disney is know for being absolute Nazis when it comes to the unauthorized use of their characters. It may become more difficult for people to create and distribute Marvel based fan films. Not a great prospect.

Pcw27 on Sep 13, 2009


#26 that's a great point I hadn't considered. Disney is stingy with their character rights. They routinely take daycare centers to court for having any Disney character depicted in their centers without licensing rights. That's down right evil and pathetic if you ask me.

ImaginaryVisionary on Sep 13, 2009


I just think about the violence that Marvel, has in all it's comic books, and the movies that they do are violent as well. Not all the Marvel comic/movies are violent, but is Disney, going to keep the violence? That is the only reason why I liked the Marvel series. One good Marvel comic series that is violent is The Punisher. Are they just going to bring down the violence in the upcoming movies and comics? Maybe they well keep the violence from the comic or not. I just hope they don't change it up too much, but a little polishing here and there would make it good.

Ervinjames ashue on Nov 1, 2009

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