Disney, possibly the most powerful corporation on earth, became even more so after buying Marvel Studios. Sure, the Disney brand has always been strong on its own. But it has done a solid job of acquiring other successful brands and bringing them into the House of Mouse. And one of its most successful acquisitions was certainly Marvel.
Let’s take a closer look at this incredible purchase, and how Disney was able to get more foresight than the rest of the entertainment industry when it made the move to bring heroes like Iron Man and Captain America into its Disney fold.
Disney bought Marvel in 2009
Before 2009, Disney was a successful company. It had assets like ABC and ESPN. It had several, profitable theme parks all over the world. And, of course, it produced live-action and animated features, including a highly profitable production deal with Pixar.
But Disney decided not to rest on its laurels. According to CNN, Disney bought Marvel in August of 2009 for a cool sum of $4 billion. Disney CEO Bob Iger was pleased with the move at the time, citing Marvel’s vast content library:
“It’s perfect from a strategic standpoint … This treasure trove of more than 5,000 characters gives Disney the ability to do what we do best.”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe released only two films at the time: iron Man And the incredible Hulk. But the rest of the franchise went under Disney’s control.
Did Disney see Marvel’s potential before anyone else?
Spending $4 billion on anything seems like it would be a lot of money. But in this case, Disney really got Marvel for the bargain. According to Forbes AfricaMarvel is currently worth an estimated $53 billion. This represents a sizable portion of Disney’s market value at 16%.
The move seems like a no-brainer in retrospect, but according to former Disney CFO Tom Staggs, Disney actually found itself ahead of the curve on this one:
“People didn’t fully understand and appreciate the franchise potential of this genre… we were able to buy it because the industry hadn’t fully embraced it.”
It’s clear that Disney “got it.” But when you look at how much money Marvel has shelled out for them, that number becomes staggering.
Shopping for Disney has paid off, big time
When Disney bought Marvel, they didn’t just buy a collection of popular stories and characters (though they certainly got them). They received a ready-made cinematic universe that had already proved popular with their initial entries. That popularity only grew under Disney’s guidance.
Numbers don’t lie. Through over 20 movies, the MCU has earned $21.9 billion. This easily makes it the biggest movie franchise – now and so far.
To put into perspective how successful Marvel has been for Disney as an investment, check out another Disney acquisition: Lucasfilm and The star wars Universe. Disney also bought star wars For $4 billion, this purchase is coming in 2012. Since then, star wars The films have grossed $6 billion.
That’s still a lot of money. And it’s important to note that they’ve only released five feature films since Disney took over, far less than Marvel’s. But the fact that Marvel’s ability to churn out profitable movies dwarfs even a powerhouse star wars.
Simply put, Marvel paid a lot for Disney. But he in turn eliminated that back several times.
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