Analysts Debate Disney's Marvel Purchase Post-AVENGERS

Marvel Unveils New AVENGERS Movie Poster


With The Avengers film currently at a $1.3 billion — and growing — worldwide gross, analysts are taking another look at Disney's $4 billion purchase of Marvel in 2009.

Last week, Deadline quoted Bernstein Research's Todd Juenger as saying that Disney's acquisition of Marvel was a "good deal" but that the Avengers doesn't make it "self-evident" — though it is helping. According to estimates, Disney would previously have to release two Marvel films a year making $517 million each to break even, but in the post-Avengers world, that number has been driven down to $437 million per movie.

Juenger is also encouraged by foreign movie-going trends, noting that the growing demand overseas can only help Marvel Studios projects. Avengers has currently made $781.9 million in foreign box office, and this year underperforming films like John Carter and Battleship have been aided by strong overseas numbers.

The report estimates that Avengers will make a $1.29 billion profit for Disney, with revenue of $3.7 billion (including box office, home video and merchandising) against a $2.4 billion cost. Yet Juenger remains critical of the film industry in general, calling it "a crummy business with terrible structural dynamics. It’s hit driven with no barriers to entry, no sustainable competitive advantages, and its main profit driver (home video) is in decline."

Lawrence Meyers of InvestorPlace says it's been "self-evident" that the deal was good since day one; writing that "Marvel will generate tens of billions for Disney over decades" due to the varied applications of their intellectual property, and calling the 33 percent profit margin on Avengers "mind-blowing."

Meyers suggests that other than solo films and team movies like Avengers, Marvel Studios might also attempt smaller pairings of their established characters.

"Expect to see Hulk and Thor together in a movie of their own. Or Iron Man and Black Widow. Or Hawkeye and Captain America. The combinations are endless," Meyers, president of  Payday Loan Capital, LLC., wrote. "Plus, Marvel will develop other properties with other characters, and follow that same strategy."

The only concern outlined in the article by Meyers is a lack of "quality control" in the future, which he says he personally does not expect to happen, at least as long as Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is at the helm. The next Marvel Studios film scheduled for release is Iron Man 3, out May 3, 2013.

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