Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Marvel Needs No Bailouts

One look at Marvel's (NYSE: MVL  ) updated movie production schedule is enough to tell you that the company is standing on its own two feet. No need to hang on to partners like News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS  ) 20th Century Fox anymore -- Marvel is fully capable of financing every project it wants to take on, all by itself. And then, Marvel gets to keep all of the profits.

Here's what Marvel's feature film schedule looks like after the company reported spectacular earnings on Tuesday:


Release Date

Production Company

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

May 1, 2009

20th Century Fox

Iron Man 2

May 7, 2010



July 16, 2010


Captain America

May 6, 2011


The Avengers

July 15, 2011


Compare and contrast with the release patterns of Marvel's recent past:


Release Date

Production Company

Domestic Box Office

The Incredible Hulk

June 13, 2008


$135 million

Iron Man

May 2, 2008


$318 million

Fantastic 4: Silver Surfer

June 15, 2007

20th Century Fox

$132 million

Spider-Man 3

May 4, 2007

Sony Pictures (NYSE: SNE  )

$337 million

Ghost Rider

Feb. 16, 2007

Sony Pictures

$116 million

Sure, Marvel still hands off many less glamorous projects like animated TV series to smaller studios, and Lions Gate (NYSE: LGF  ) seems fond of doing direct-to-DVD superhero movies. And of course, Hasbro (NYSE: HAS  ) makes most of Marvel's branded toys. But the big-ticket items, like the rain in Spain, stay mainly in the plain in-house production studio. I bet Marvel would have been happy to release the Wolverine movie under its own power, too, if it didn't have to honor old development contracts with Fox.

Marvel has $105 million of cash on hand, plus $44 million of restricted cash that is tied to specific development contracts. The company generated $179 million of free cash flow in 2008, carried mostly on Iron Man's broad and heavily armored shoulders. From here on out, I don't expect to see any more co-production deals backing Marvel movies. These guys have proven that what once looked like a risky business was indeed a smart move. Self-financing is the way to go.

Further Foolishness:

Marvel Entertainment and Hasbro are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Marvel, and it may be his favorite stock today. He holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (9)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 839992, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/26/2016 1:55:41 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 4 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,169.27 -53.76 -0.30%
S&P 500 2,143.16 -8.17 -0.38%
NASD 5,283.40 -26.43 -0.50%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

12/31/2009 4:00 PM
MVL.DL $54.08 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Marvel Entertainme… CAPS Rating: ****
FOX $25.71 Up +0.04 +0.16%
Twenty-First Centu… CAPS Rating: ***
HAS $83.30 Down -0.58 -0.69%
Hasbro CAPS Rating: ****
LGF $20.07 Down -0.05 -0.25%
Lions Gate Enterta… CAPS Rating: ****
SNE $31.85 Down -0.29 -0.90%
Sony CAPS Rating: ***