Remember when Marvel Studios was one of the independent movie studios who signed a separate interim deal with the WGA? It turns out there was quite a bit of urgency behind this, as the strike has created a big gap for Marvel’s planned filmed ventures. ICv2 puts the pieces together from yesterday’s investor conference call and earnings announcement:

In a conference call with stock analysts Marvel Studio’s David Maisel indicated that, because of the strike, the company was scrambling to get one film debut in 2009 (and indicated that if that happened, it would likely be in late 2009). Marvel lists four films in development, Ant Man, Captain America, Thor and The Avengers, but Maisel gave no indication which one of those projects might be the one that Marvel plans to release in 2009 — look for an announcement in the fairly near future, because given the time necessary for special effects work, a new Marvel Studio project would need to get underway by this spring or early summer in order to make a 2009 date. There will be one Marvel-based film debuting in the summer of 2009, but it will be X-Men Origins: Wolverine from Fox, which is slated for a May 1st release, not a Marvel Studios’ film.

Since Marvel’s future earnings are in large part based on the movies they produce, this is a big deal and perhaps part of the reason their stock declined yesterday despite the huge rise in profits they announced. A transcript of the investor’s call is available here.


  1. This certainly puts a ticking clock on their deal with Merrill Lynch..

    Marvel gets $525 million to make a maximum of 10 movies based on the company’s properties over eight years, according to the parameters of the deal with Paramount.

    Now, I’m not sure when the 8 years starts – is it this year or 2009 – but if one of those years falls out of play and they are down to 7 years then it means they will have to at least double up on movies to utilize the full 10 movie deal within that time frame. Not the best scenario from a marketing standpoint.

    And while I’ve seen numerous reports that this Merrill Lynch deal is a no-lose situation for Marvel based on the terms (worse case scenario – ML gets the movie rights to the characters long(?)) I think that doesn’t take into account what that might do the stock price and overall capitalization of the company

  2. I thought Marvel was free to use the credit that was made available in the deal to do up to ten films but was not obliged to use it all. if they bought actual credit to do the film but could not deliver, than the rights would end up on the hands of creditor (for like 3 or 5 years or something.. not that long i guess)

  3. A company’s stock frequently goes down in value after profits are reported. I don’t know why this is for sure, but maybe it is like the depression that follows competing in a big event: yoiur hopes are so high that the adrenaline flows, and you have to come down afterwards.

  4. Alan, this is because this is the way business works. I had harsh words for that post when I saw it but did not want to post about it.

    The thing is, when your company is doing well, by the time it becomes public knowledge, everyone who cares already knows about it. When a company comes out of the blue announcing that they are doing well, it’s because, like what Marvel did, of projected analysis, not actual profit. It’s also typical of a bumpy road ahead, but let’s face it, Marvel stock has never been stable.