The first Marvel comics appeared back in 1937. Since then, the company has been resold several times and, as a rule, unsuccessfully. In 1996, Marvel filed for bankruptcy. The owners of Toy Biz toy company Avi Arad and Ike Perlmutter decided to save the drowning brand. The two reorganized the Marvel business so successfully that ten years later, Disney paid $ 4.6 billion for it.
Disney with its princesses has always been considered more “a company for girls,” and traditionally there were very few heroes that boys might like. What did Avi and Ike come up with? First, they began selling licenses for the use of popular Marvel characters. They were bought by television and film studios, manufacturers of clothing, goods for schoolchildren and toys. In total, several thousand licenses were sold. Entrepreneurs decided to make a special emphasis on films and games. The idea was that the superheroes of the Marvel universe go beyond the limits of their usual teenage audience and become well-known. So the films about Spider-Man, X-Men and Captain America were born.
In parallel with this, Marvel began to publish comics again, found new sales channels for them, and re-wrote her old stories for a young audience. By 2010, they had increased their share of the comic book market to 50%. In 2005, Marvel, collecting 500 million investments, took up its own production of films. Since the rights to use the most popular heroes belonged to other studios, they focused on lesser-known heroes – Iron Man, Thor, Hulk. Films made in collaboration with other studios warmed up the market, the audience was waiting for new adventures of Marvel heroes, so new films were waiting for success.
Bob Iger in Marvel was attracted not only by the number of potentially profitable heroes, but also by the fact that teenage boys were the most devoted fans of this company. Marvel owners agreed relatively easily to the deal, as both were more businessmen than creators. Each of them had several successfully sold companies, and Marvel was only one of them. That the acquisition was worth its 4 billion proved the incredible success of The Avengers, which raised more than $ 1.5 billion at the box office and entered the top three highest-grossing films in film history.
How George Lucas sold Star Wars
In 2011, George Lucas participated in the preparation of the attraction, based on the “Star Wars” in Disneyland. At the opening ceremony, Paul Iger asked him if he was thinking of selling the company, and he got to the point. Lucas at that time turned 67 years old, and he began to think about retirement. After the cold reception of the second Star Wars trilogy, he really didn’t want to make new films. The question of whom to leave the company arose with an edge. Lucas told Iger that since “the creator of Star Wars” would be written on his grave, for him it is not so much a matter of money as a matter of preserving his legacy. He was scared to imagine that someone could pick up the Universe he had created and start doing whatever he wanted with it. In principle, he trusted Aiger because he saw how delicately he behaved towards another “his former company” – Pixar.
Lucas decided to sell the company on the condition that they remove another trilogy according to his scenario and leave the CEO chosen by him and some of the employees. He also wanted to have a say in everything regarding the use of his brand. Iiger insisted that while Lucas’s opinion would be taken into account, it was Disney who would have the final say. Negotiations took place for six months, Lucas doubted and was nervous, and when the agreement was eventually signed, Iger, in his words, felt like Darth Vader. He bought a Lucas company for $ 4 billion. On the day the deal was announced, someone wrote on Twitter: “I felt the excitement in the Force, as if millions of geeks cried out in horror at the same time.”
When Eiger was just thinking about buying Lucasfilm, he reviewed all six episodes and wrote down the characters his company could claim. Only then did he learn about the existence of the “Holocron” – a database of the Star Wars universe, which contains information about 17 thousand characters. Each of them now belongs to Disney.