Marvel started as a comic book publishing company. Martin Goodman started Timely Comics in 1939 and was known as Atlas Comics by the 1950s.
Marvel took off in 1961 when they began making The Fantastic Four and other superhero comics, created by the likes of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko, along with others.
Superhero comics became so popular that they represented the majority of the company’s production going forward and have become one of the most renowned comic book companies worldwide.
Does Disney Own Marvel?
Disney owns 100% of Marvel as of August 2009. They bought Marvel for $4 billion, and pay $30 in cash and 0.745 Disney shares for every Marvel stakeholders, which values each share at $50. Marvel Studios remains the sole property of The Walt Disney Company, along with all its movies, shows, comics, and characters.
Disney began more than a decade before the comic book tycoon did, having begun as The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in 1923.
Both companies began with just a few artists who wanted to bring entertainment to the American masses and have grown into some of the biggest companies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Who Owns Marvel?
Marvel Studios is owned in full by The Walt Disney Company, having been purchased in 2009 directly from Marvel Entertainment.
Disney bought the rights to over 5000 Marvel characters, but there have been some complications to some that are under contract with rival studios.
Spiderman and Venom are owned by Sony Pictures while Hulk and She-Hulk are owned in part by Universal Pictures through previous agreements with Marvel.
Disney has since made deals with both companies to include these highly important Marvel characters in its Marvel Comics Universe of movies and Disney+ shows.
What Does The Disney/Marvel Relationship look like?
Purchased for $4 million from Marvel Entertainment, Marvel has more than paid for itself for Disney.
With the first Iron Man movie and Hulk in 2008, before Disney’s purchase, Marvel Studios will have come out with 27 MCU movies by the end of 2021.
Across the titles, Disney will have made back its investment nearly six times over and they have potentially another seven movies releasing within the next couple of years.
Disney has also gone in a new and very effective direction with Marvel, producing shows exclusively for Disney+ subscribers that fill in the blanks between MCU movie releases.
What Companies Does Disney Own?
The Walt Disney Company currently owns a wide variety of film companies, television companies, and film franchises.
- Marvel Studios
- 20th Century
- Searchlight Pictures
Disney also holds at least a 50% stake in:
- The History Channel
- National Geographic
Have Disney And Marvel Been Competitors?
Disney and Marvel were never really competitors before Disney acquired Marvel in 2009. Disney has focused on many different kinds of entertainment including cartoons and television shows, but Marvel’s main competitor was always DC.
Marvel has a specialized form of entertainment in its superhero niche, which Disney never really played a part in.
What Is The Connection Between Disney And Marvel?
Since Disney had no part in the superhero movie genre that was growing more popular, it made perfect sense to purchase Marvel Entertainment who had already made its mark on it as opposed to attempting to create its own.
Disney’s former CEO, Michael Eisner, had wanted to buy out Marvel years before but was shut down by the board because they believed it would tarnish the Disney brand.
It wasn’t until Bob Iger took over as CEO, and with help from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who was on the Disney board at the time, for the merger to begin to take shape.
Iger asked Jobs to vouch for him with the CEO of Marvel Entertainment to begin talks about the merger, which he did. It was a successful move.
At the time, studies showed that Disney was very popular with young females, especially with the vast expansion of its Disney princesses, but held little interest with young males.
This lead Iger to believe that acquisition of Marvel Entertainment could broaden Disney’s audience significantly.
Is Marvel Owned By Disney?
Disney has owned Marvel since August 2009, except for a few characters. Marvel had seen massive success and massive failures that had led it to file bankruptcy in the 90s. In the 2000s it tried its hand at large-scale cinematic movies and had mild success.
It was Disney’s ownership that brought Marvel to truly flourish, giving the brand the assets it needed to breathe life into the MCU, which is now the highest-grossing film franchise worldwide.
Most common questions on Disney ownership: