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That Darn Marvel Contract – What Rights Does Universal and Disney Own

Discussion in 'Columns' started by Joe, May 7, 2016.

  1. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    One of the most polarizing discussions in the theme park community is whenever rumors start up that a Marvel Comics-themed idea is coming to Universal Orlando or Walt Disney World. When The Walt Disney Company bought Marvel Comics in 2009 for $4 billion, it provided more headaches to the never-ending “Rights” debate. Like clockwork, fans go back and forth on which resort can use who, what, when, where, why, how, etc. and go through mental gymnastics as to why they are right.

    Yet, no matter how many other blogs, or websites put out articles saying “Here’s the reality of the contract” – we end up right back at square 1.

    That Darn Marvel Contract - What Rights Does Universal and Disney Own « Orlando United
     
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  2. tielo

    tielo Member

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    Great article and very insightful. If I'm right the licence also does not cost a lot (or anything) for Universal.
    I'm sure there is a price that Universal will consider if Disney wants to buy the rights but it needs to be an insane amount I guess.
    The way Disney is cranking out the Marvel movies, and the decline of the toys sold for that ip (how many Iron man dolls can you buy as a kid) I'm sure the ip will die down in a few years and made Disney a ton of money.
     
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  3. scott_walker

    scott_walker Premium Member

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    Universal would want a sum to demo the land, a sum to build the area including the cost of purchasing an IP if they have to, a sum for the lost revenue while all this happens and for after plus a huge sum for the inconvenience of it all.

    I think the final price would be insane.
     
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  4. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a hard time believing Disney would drop billions on buying out the contract when the attractions they're building for Marvel is a Tower of Terror overlay, a Buzz Lightyear overlay, and a re-use of Star Tours.
     
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  5. GAcoaster

    GAcoaster Veteran Member

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    I have to believe eventually something will make Disney want to buy out the contract. When it happens it will most likely be part of some deal between Disney and Comcast concerning something else. The two companies work together so much on so many fronts, it's bound to eventually happen.

    Look at the deal they made trading the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit for Al Michaels announcing contract. I could see something similar with the Marvel rights and ESPN or one of the other cable properties Disney may be looking to unload. If both parties find something they want, it could happen.

    Also, Disney will want to have more of the Marvel attractions developed for the other (non Orlando) parks and then be able to more cheaply clone them for here.
     
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  6. scott_walker

    scott_walker Premium Member

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    There's so many variables in place but I agree, I think it could happen. As it stands, I don't think Disney are in any rush with all the plans they probably have in place for their 50th anniversary.

    It could be in 5 years, if the MCU is still going strong, it might be a route that they're prepared to go down. Maybe they'll snap up the rights to LOTR and transfer them to Universal, maybe MSHI starts running into major issues that Universal aren't prepared to fix or maybe have an IP they're preapred to loan to Universal for the 4th park. On the other hand, maybe Marvel isn't as big of a hit at the other resorts, maybe the MCU starts to decline, maybe Disney just don't want to spend the money or compete with the legendary status of Hulk and Spider-Man at IOA.

    It's a constantly changing landscape where anything could happen but for the time being, I don't see anything happening for a good few years but that's not to say never.
     
  7. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Don't see it happening. Universal holds Disney in checkmate at Orlando by keeping the rights. Plus, the Marvel attractions are strong pluses for Universal. Marvel rights serve as both a strong offense & strong defense for Universal.
     
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  8. Nick C.

    Nick C. Staff Member Moderator

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    Honestly it's practically pointless to talk about Disney buying out the contract for the time being. They honestly seem to have no interest and seem to have found all the loop holes they need to sometimes use Marvel in WDW anyway.
     
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  9. Skold

    Skold Rookie

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    After seeing so many arguments on Magic and other sites about this, i remember absolutely *loving* this when it was written. A belated "well done!", Brian!
     
  10. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    Please, it's been 8 years since Disney bought Marvel. 20 years from now this same post will be made by someone hemming and hawing how it could happen.

    Disney has said they have no interest. Universal has said they have no interest. Period.
     
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  11. GadgetGuru

    GadgetGuru Veteran Member

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    More Marvel contract talk!

    I think all of the Marvel talk overcomplicates the situation a lot. Disney wants Marvel rights in Orlando. Universal wants Marvel rights in Beijing and maybe Hollywood. If anything ever happens with the Marvel rights, it'll be a surprisingly simple trade and they'll both get worldwide rights.
     
  12. Andysol

    Andysol Member

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    Do they? And why? No way they give up those golden handcuffs in Orlando. It's an interesting, albeit futile conversation
     
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  13. GAcoaster

    GAcoaster Veteran Member

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    Businesses say a lot of things like that, and then things change (with leadership changes, opportunities, etc.). Just looking at the changing landscape of media companies you can see that there are tectonic changes happening for cable companies and content providers. It's not unfathomable that something as trivial as this (and to these companies the value of this is trivial) gets thrown into a deal.

    There has been a great deal of speculation from analysts that Disney will look to unload ESPN at some point and Comcast would be one of the most likely purchasers. Any kind of deal like that could easily involve other matters that effect both companies as stipulations of the contract.
     
  14. Alexshow

    Alexshow Veteran Member

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    Out of pure curiosity, how do Nighttime show's factor into the contract?

    Because if that's still involved, they have now played a game of chicken again with Disney Movie Magic, with Guardians and Doctor Strange in the show.
     
  15. jtsalien

    jtsalien Hello. I'm the Doctor. Basically, run. Premium Member

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    I would guess it falls in the same Great Movie Ride loophole. It's by no means a Marvel attraction, just something that happens to contain a clip. Although, that could continue to the "surprise" nature of the debut and complete lack of marketing.
     
  16. Alexshow

    Alexshow Veteran Member

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    Then what about the other superhero along with a particular Supervillian that has been asked with a bargain far too many times. Last I remember, he is on MSHI. Wouldn't that be a potential breach, especially with that being longer than a small glimpse of the characters of GOTG on GMR?
     
  17. Brian G.

    Brian G. Staff Member Administrator

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    Ego is 100% Thor. That may present issue. Dr. Strange is definitely pushing it. They were pushing it with the Daily Bugle reference. We'll see what happens. Universal could be letting them go until they finally feel a reason to come in.
     
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  18. jtsalien

    jtsalien Hello. I'm the Doctor. Basically, run. Premium Member

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    Well, a reasonable person would still not call this a "Marvel Attraction". That's the crux of this, as said in the article.

    Yeah, this is probably their most bold attempt so far. Maybe this could be presented as evidence in a much larger case. But I think this is a very weak breach on its own, if it even is one.
     
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  19. Alexshow

    Alexshow Veteran Member

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    I would assume with what Brian said on Ego being on the Thor level of things. And that along with Doctor Strange and Dormammu being in the show may result in somewhat of the possibility for Universal to take legal matters, if they could.

    That said, they may wait until they go forward with something like Mission Breakout, or that a deal could've been reached towards for Guardians to be fully used as an attraction along with Universal being given clearance for an Iron Man like attraction.

    Just a guess.
     
  20. Brian G.

    Brian G. Staff Member Administrator

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    Dormammu should be fine. Dr. Strange may be a bit more usable too, as he was an Avenger only after the contract (I just checked). Ego still may be issue, but again... it's not an attraction.
     
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