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Disney made some waves last year when they bought Marvel for $4 billion, putting the Mouse front and center in the ever growing genre of comic book films.With Marvel having recent success financing their own films (Iron Man followed by The Incredible Hulk being their first), the deal brought together one of the two power players in comics with one of the largest media distribution platforms in the world. Now, Deadline has it that Disney is taking the next steps in capitalizing on their investment, buying away the distribution rights for two upcoming Marvel projects: The Avengers and Iron Man 3 for $115 million.
Paramount, the company that originally had distribution rights over the “Iron Man” and “Avengers” projects, had a six-picture deal with Marvel and will still be distributing upcoming Marvel projects Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America, while retaining cable rights to the first two “Iron Man” films. However, the deal will essentially severe distribution ties with Marvel Studios, likely to stay exclusive with Disney for all future projects, save for franchises already distributed by other companies (Sony and “Spider-Man” series, Fox and “X-Men”), unless Disney opts to buy those rights as well.
It's not like Paramount will be hurting for projects. With the recent success of Jackass 3D, the upcoming Paranormal Activity 2 (made on virtually no budget of $2.7 million), as well as “Star Trek”, “Mission Impossible”, “G.I. Joe” and “Transformers” sequels all in the pipeline, they studio is not hunting for projects likely to make them cash.
As future Marvel projects, particularly The Avengers, are likely to be wildly complicated to put together, the deal takes pressure of cast and crew by moving distribution under one roof with Disney. That way, the production does not have to jump through extra hoops to appease not only Disney and Marvel, but Paramount as well.
One cannot deny that it may feel awkward to see the Disney logo (potentially) in front of an “Iron Man” film.