We've been hearing a few reports lately about Marvel and Disney's plans to 'shut-out' some comic properties, which is a brilliant business plan... but it kind of sucks.
Rumblings began a few days ago, and continued throughout the week, with even Rob Liefeld joining in to discuss the potential new plan of Disney and Marvel. What is this plan you ask? To ‘shut-out’ some of Marvel’s comic properties so as not to help promote the films that are being released by other studios. More specifically with the properties currently at Fox: Fantastic Four and the X-Men franchise.
Marvel has, up to this point, had a good relationship with Sony Pictures, who have held the rights to Spider-Man for over a decade. This has resulted in a lucrative promotional deal and merchandising that has benefitted both Sony and Marvel, which includes comic tie-ins and a number of toys and promotions. However, with Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past we are seeing no toy or comic tie-ins, nor any type of promotion on Marvel’s end.
Obviously the X-Men are such a popular franchise that restricting all things X-Men would prove detrimental to Marvel, but there are other avenues to take. We have heard rumors that Marvel might be cancelling any future Fantastic Four comic series, so as not to promote Fox’s upcoming FF reboot, which does make a lot of sense from a business standpoint. This is where Rob Liefeld comes in, with his two cents on the subject, which he shared on twitter:
X-Men: Days of Future Past will match If not exceed The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s domestic box office, meaning lots of eyeballs, but there are no toy tie-ins. The Fox shut out is real.
It’s not money that matters in this strategy, it’s the hearts and minds of kids/toy buyers, not-too-subtly communicating what’s “important.”
Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 toys everywhere, X-Men - zippo. No promotions from toy aisles. Starve those properties. Makes X-Men [box office] comeback impressive!
X-Men: Days of Future Past toys would get in the way of upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy onslaught of toys.
Bottom line, it’s a ballsy move to downgrade properties with high profile, big budget support in favor of stuff you control wholesale. Gotta respect it. And equal respect to those properties slugging it out without equal support across multiple platforms.
You gotta understand, I love this stuff!! I love the business of comic films/brands and the unique situation Marvel has with their licenses.
My un-informed prediction: Sony will split producing/financing w/Marvel on next Spidey film and open door for inclusion in Avengers 3.
This statement has gained a lot of traction over the last few days, either because it was Liefeld who said it or because of his prediction that Spidey might make it into Avengers 3 after all, but at this point there is zero confirmation from Marvel on either the lock-out or any of these other predictions. The only point of evidence some fans are referring to is the recently released cover art for the 75th anniversary of Marvel that doesn’t include the Fantastic Four or the X-Men, which seems to be a bit of a snub to the Fox properties. Even the logo released features only the Avengers and Spider-Man…
Whatever the reason ends up being, if Marvel/Disney is indeed trying to pressure Fox into returning the rights or using the lock-out as simply a business plan to deal with a competing studio, it’s the fans who will ultimately lose. Fox won’t notice a drop in ticket sales because there aren’t any currently running Fantastic Four series, but any of those movie-goers who are inspired by the film to check out the comics will be unable to jump on board with no FF series from Marvel.
We will obviously have to wait to see if the lock-out is happening, or if it will even be addressed by Marvel, but if the current running Fantastic Four series happens to get cancelled prematurely, then we can probably assume the worst, which is not great news for comic fans.
What do you think of the Fox lock-out? Is it a good business plan if Marvel chooses to go through with it? Do you think Liefeld’s comments about Spider-Man in the Avengers makes sense? Let us know on the GEEK Facebook page or in the comments section below!
Images: Marvel Comics, 20th Century Fox