Although Disney’s acquisition of Marvel’s character library was seen as a genius move to shore up their boy-skewing movie franchises, there was one wistful little fly in the ointment: Marvel had already assigned rights to most of their iconic super hero franchises to other studios. Undeterred, Disney has just regained a few of the crown jewels: Disney has just acquired marketing and distribution rights to THE AVENGERS and and IRON MAN 3, which will be released May 3, 2013. Disney paid Paramount $115 million for the distribution rights and this will serve as a minimum guarantee against distribution fees.

Paramount hasn’t given up everything, however; they will release THOR, helmed by Kenneth Branagh, and the Chris Evans vehicle CAPTAIN AMERICA. Meaning two of the Avengers will be at a different studio…for now.

Many of Marvel’s other powerhouse characters remain at other studios: Sony has a vise-grip on Spider-Man, and the studio also just announced a new version of Ghost Rider — which would otherwise have reverted to Marvel/Disney had they not agreed to make another film.

Bottom line: Marvel was valuable before this deal and now they are even more valuable. With both the Thor and Captain America movies well under way, one might suspect that should they prove successful, Disney might also negotiate for the rights to the sequels, uniting the Avengers under one studio roof.

PR below:

The Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios announced they have reached an agreement under which Paramount will transfer its worldwide marketing and distribution rights to Disney for Marvel Studios’ The Avengers and Iron Man 3. Paramount will remain the worldwide distributor of the upcoming films, Thor and Captain America, as well as the previously released Iron Man and Iron Man 2.

Under terms of the new deal, Disney will pay Paramount $115 million for the transfer of the distribution rights to Iron Man 3 and The Avengers to be paid on the theatrical release dates.  These monies will serve as a minimum guarantee against the distribution fees.

“In completing this agreement, Disney will now assume worldwide marketing and distribution of The Avengers and Iron Man 3 and leverage these two highly-anticipated films across the multiple global platforms of The Walt Disney Company,” said Rich Ross, Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. “We appreciate the tremendous momentum that Paramount established with these iconic Marvel characters and look forward to propelling the brand even further in the coming years.”

“Five years ago, when Paramount and Marvel made our initial deal, both our businesses were in very different places,” said Brad Grey, Chairman & CEO of Paramount Pictures. “We are grateful for the partnership we have had with the terrific Marvel team over these years and proud of the work we have done together. Today, this new agreement is the right deal for Paramount, for Marvel and for Disney. We look forward to working together on Thor and Captain America, and we wish Disney and Marvel the utmost success, in what we know will be a very productive and wide-ranging partnership.”


  1. Disney paid Paramount $113 for the distribution rights and this will serve as a minimum guarantee against distribution fees.

    Is that in millions?