Hello, fellow geeks, I’m sure you’re geeks because I don’t think anyone else would bother to open this article. For anyone else that mistakenly clicked on the article, welcome to the embattled topic of creative control of comic book characters. Excuse me for just a second bro-geeks as I have to clarify this intermingling mess to everyone.
Comic Book Cash Cow
Marvel is one of the biggest comic book companies in the world. Even though, it has produced some of the most iconic superheroes and heroines in history it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996. In the early 2000’s Marvel started making movies of their franchises with the very popular Men in Black, Blade and X-men movie series.
Since then several of Marvel’s characters have been portioned out to various studios with various levels of creative control. Sony has held practically full creative control of both Spiderman and Venom (one of the most popular villains from the Spiderman Universe). When Sony realized what a cash cow the Spiderman franchise was they rode that pony until it dropped dead. Within the span of just 12 years, Sony produced 5 Spiderman movies with box office numbers dropping with each sequel. The most recent reboot of a reboot did the worst of all the previous 4 films. Earning a meager 202.000.000 in box office sales (almost half of the 403.000.000 the first Spiderman movie made when it was released in the 2000’s).
Now Marvel has finally "regained" creative control of the franchise and has already promised a movie in 2017. Why is this significant you ask? Firstly fans of the comics are hoping that one of their most beloved heroes will stop being haphazardly paraded around for money like a $2 strumpet. Secondly Spiderman is a very, very popular character that could not cross over into other popular properties Marvel has control of while being controlled by Sony.
I said kinda in the title because there’s a bit more to the whole story. Technically Sony and Marvel will collaborate in the creation of future Spiderman movies. Within this collaborative agreement, Marvel can use Spiderman in their movies again. There’s a bit more to the spiderweb though. In August of 2009 Disney bought Marvel for the sweet score of $4.2 billion. So ultimately the creative control has still veered away from the creators of the character and franchises. Evidence of this is a republishing of the Star Wars comic while Disney is preparing to release the latest Star Wars film (which is also owned by Disney).
Is this a good or bad thing for Marvel and its properties? I’m not sure and its way to early in the game to speculate anything more than healthy apprehension. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.