This morning Disney announced the acquisition of Marvel and instantly spawned an avalanche of incredibly stupid reactions from the blogsphere, especially from people who know better. Disney’s purchase of Marvel won’t result in The Muppet Avengers, even though personally, I think that sounds kind of fun. Anyone who says it will is just trying to stir up panic to get attention. It’s kind of like sounding terror alerts to win an election.
The truth is that almost none of the reactionary garbage being spewed around the internet right now means anything. Disney owns a lot of things. They’re pretty good at compartmentalizing. While the Disney brand is geared entirely towards kids, they also own Miramax. Miramax is a studio which releases mostly R-rated, edgy, independent adult fare that has absolutely nothing to do with Hannah Montana. They also own ESPN, but I haven’t noticed any NFL players walking around wearing Mickey Mouse ears. Cinema Blend’s Katey Rich made a pretty good case earlier today for why all of this is just media whoring blogger bilge right here, and she’s dead on in her analysis.
Except maybe, beyond the panic and Wolverine in Wonderland paranoia, there are a couple of legitimate reasons that maybe Marvel fans should be worried. Here’s three real reasons you should be mildly concerned about Disney’s acquisition of Marvel. But seriously, if you do freak out, just freak out a little.
Even though Disney has acquired Marvel, that doesn’t mean they’re now in control of all their prime superhero characters. The big ones like Spider-Man or Iron Man have already been licensed out to other, major movie studios. In the case of Spidey, he’s licensed to Sony. Iron Man is in the hands of Paramount. But some day those licenses are going to run out, and when they do, they’ll be back in Disney’s hands. Once they’re back in Disney’s hands, they’re going to want to make a profit off of them. That doesn’t mean they’ll make a Spider-Man and the 7 Dwarfs, but it might mean another round of franchise reboots. It might mean sweeping away all the great Spider-Man movies which have already been done and starting over. Disney’s acquisition of Marvel could lead to an endless string of unnecessary franchise reboots, and that’s just not cool.
Learn To Like She-Hulk
Because so many of Marvel’s major characters are already licensed out to other studios, at least for now, Disney’s going to be left scraping the bottom of the superhero barrel if they want to do anything with their newly purchased stable of tights wearers. That might mean a series of superhero movies for superheroes which probably don’t deserve them. Suddenly a She-Hulk movie might make sense or worse someone even more obscure and pathetic like Boomerang. If you thought Elektra was bad just wait till you see with what Disney’s forced to scrape together out of Marvel’s leftovers.
Made In China
Disney’s great when it comes to churning out ancillary marketing products. And while Marvel’s brand is likely to remain separate when it comes to movies and comic books, Disney’s going to be very tempted to take over the selling of useless pieces of plastic. Already a staple in any Wal-Mart, expect an even bigger flood of increasingly inferior Marvel toys in stores. Up till now Marvel’s action figures have actually been pretty cool, but odds are now that Disney will take over the whole mess and start cranking out an unceasing amount of poorly made, lead coated abortions. Maybe that’ll mean more Iron Man costumes for Halloween this year, but it’s probably bad news if you’re into collecting action figures. Disney’s in this because they need help in catering to boys. The best way to do that, barring the ruination of the Marvel brand (which seriously, is not going to happen), is with lots and lots of cheaply made toys.