Disney acquires Marvel Entertainment

I can see it now… Goofy and Captain America starring in the new buddy comedy, The Goofball and the Superhero.

Maybe not.

But the owners of those properties are hooking up with each in a $4 billion dollar cash and stock deal.

In a rather rare merger deal in this magnitude in this economic climate, The Walt Disney Co. announced Monday it was acquiring Marvel Entertainment. The deal gives The Mouse House control over characters from the comic-book conglomerate including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, and thousands of others.

Some of those characters have headlined several big-time motion pictures, notably the Spider-Man franchise and Fantastic Four, bringing in millions upon millions of dollars in box-office revenue.

For Disney, the acquisition is good news for its television and film properties as the Marvel franchise attracts male teenagers and young men – as opposed to Disney’s traditional offerings for young girls and young women.

The deal also gives Disney access to hours of Marvel-related television series – which it can fill on its male 9-14-targeted Disney XD digital cable channel, which competes with Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network for the same audience, especially with the latter’s success (at least in this demo) of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

For the time being, all existing contracts with non-owned Disney properties (such as Cartoon Network) will be honored. And Marvel-themed rides with Universal Studios Theme Parks (which is a rival to Disney’s parks) will also continue, for now. But don’t be surprised if the word “synergy” between Disney and Marvel becomes common down the road.

Meanwhile, comic-book fans are weary of the new found relationship between Marvel and Disney, fearing The Mouse House’s squeaky-clean reputation would interfere with the storylines, which feature some characters who are hardcore alcoholics, wife-beaters, drug dealers, and murderers.

It’s enough to make The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon to go on a rant for days… and days…. and…

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