My friend Geoff Carter of Your Souvenir Guide has written a fabulously sane and reasonable piece on Disney’s purchase of Marvel, and all it doesn’t and won’t mean.
To my mind, the purchase of Marvel is one of the few missteps the Mouse has made under Bob Iger’s reign. Disney isn’t getting a hell of a lot for its money. The theme park rights to the characters will continue to be held by Universal. And the movie properties that Disney could use to keep Bruckheimer on the lot — “Spider-Man,” “X-Men,” “Fantastic Four,” “Hulk,” “Iron Man” — will remain the properties of Sony, Fox and Paramount for the forseeable future. (According to Variety, Fox’s deal allows them to keep the film rights to “Fantastic,” “X-Men,” “Daredevil” and “Silver Surfer” in perpetuity, just as long as they keep making the films. For Disney’s purposes, that means forever.)
Better yet, Geoff offers 10 ways in which the Mouse could’ve strengthened their appeal to the geeky boy market without forking over quite so much cash. My personal favorite?
4. Own your steampunk heritage. “20,000 Leagues!” “Island at the Top of the World!” “Atlantis!” Fast-track these reboots and remakes while the goth kids are still wearing top hats and rust-colored leggings.
The Nautilus walkthrough at Disneyland Paris is a steampunk dream, as is much of Discoveryland. Couldn’t we have a little updated movie magic on this please?
Disney also could make better use of its distribution rights to the Miyazaki films, if they want to increase their geek cred (though perhaps not so much specifically for the boy market). I’m disappointed to see that My Neighbor Totoro is back in the vault; when Fox Searchlight was distributing this fine film, they gave us a lousy pan-and-scan but at least kept it on the shelves. Now we must wait at least seven years to be able to buy copies to give to friends? And yes, we carefully guard our treasured family copy.
And yes, the Marvel fan community will likely grumble and quake for a while over this, but I’m going with the wisdom of Batman in the final scene of this video, from ItsJustSomeRandomGuy on YouTube: