Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney Buys Marvel Talks About Lesser Known Characters

It seems that Marvel is now part of the Disney family along with Pixar.

The Walt Disney Company's announcement today that it will buy Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion caught Hollywood off guard. Marvel, home to such comic book heroes as Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man, just recently embarked on a strategy to produce its own movies instead of just licensing their characters to other studios.

On reading Disney CEO, Bob Iger's remarks I came across this bit:

Marvel doing a good job mining “rich intellectual property portfolio” to exploit lesser-known characters like Iron Man. We want to do more of that. Pixar deal three years ago shows that we can do this.

I was wondering which Marvel characters could go Iron Man big:

Black Panther:
I think Black Panther might be a good character depending on what actor portrays him. A Will Smith would knock it out of the park but some lesser known actor will make that franchise fail miserably. They might need to make the story set totally in Africa with the Black Panther fighting against Klaw looking to mine Vibranium.

I'm sorry I'm just not convinced that Thor is a popular enough character to make anything other then Punisher money. I will be really surprised if it breaks $100 million because the character just isn't very well known. At least Iron Man had a cartoon in the 1990s. I can't recall Thor being in anything of note. I'm hoping that Kenneth Branagh as the director can bring some decent pathos to the movie. In any case I think since it doesn't seem to be a true action movie it may do poorly at the box office.

I think this will be Disney's way to make a group franchise that is similar to the X-men but won't be tied to NewsCorp as the licensee. It will work with Robert Downey Jr. playing Iron Man but the other characters will be interesting. I think the team needs to be Iron-Man, Wasp, Giant-Man, Thor, and Captain America and no one else. Maybe you would get away with adding Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Wonderman love triangle in a sequel.

Nick Fury:
This might be easy money as a spy-thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson. If they play up the agent part of Agent of SHIELD then the movie would be pretty good. I think if they make it kind of a James Bond type movie where Fury fights against Hydra (make them just like SPECTRE) with flight belts and hidden guns then I can see the franchise really doing well.

Captain America:
I think this movie would do well as a 1940s war movie but only if that genre is still popular. Inglourious Basterds did great business so that era may still be marketable as a movie. Just make it a strait WW2 actioner with a guy with super-soldier serum and an adamantium shield fighting against the Red Skull. Or they can take a chance and set it in the 1970s with Captain America fighting against the upheaval and riots caused by the Hate-Monger. I just have a feeling that it will bomb majorly if it was set today and Cap stays a unfrozen super-hero from the 40s.

If they went to Frank Miller and sold him on the idea of making his version of Dardevil with complete artistic freedom then it will be a hit. That means it needs to be in that Frank Miller style like 300 and Sin City. It needs to be called Frank Miller's Daredevil as well. I think the Spirit bombed because only hard-core comics fans even knew the character existed. While Daredevil already has had a bad movie under his belt that made $100 million. In any case they need to keep Ben Affleck as far away from the movie as possible.

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