Wolverine Goes Berserk at Red Robin

Have you tried the new "Berserker" burger at Red Robin (NASDAQ: RRGB  ) ? I have, and as an investor, I find it to be a spicy and delicious triumph of Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) licensing.

You wouldn't know it from the press release announcing the meal, which also describes a handful of cross-promotions between Red Robin and News Corp.'s  (NASDAQ: FOXA  )  21st Century Fox to boost interest in The Wolverine, based on the Marvel Comics superhero mutant of the same name. Fox is producing and distributing the film, which opens July 26 in U.S. theaters.

Red Robin's official Berserker burger promo. Image credit: Red Robin.

"The collaboration allows movie fans of all ages to experience the world of The Wolverine in a unique way, remixing the classic American passion for superheroes with epic offers that take 'Dinner and a Movie' to a whole new level," the companies said.

Additional meals include a spin on Red's Tavern Double burger -- "Kuzuri style," it's called -- which adds ginger, garlic, and cilantro for a more Asian flavor. Red Robin is also offering $3 off for those who see the movie on opening weekend and bring their stub in between July 29 and Aug. 1.

For Fox, every little connection to something tasty helps. The Wolverine follows 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine and stars Hugh Jackman in the title role. Last time, his performance overcame a weak script to bring in $373 million in gross receipts.

He might not be so lucky this time. Google's trend chart shows The Wolverine failing to crack the top 20 of movie searches. (Disney's second billion-dollar blockbuster, Iron Man 3, is still tops as of this writing.)

The good news? A more extensive trailer posted late last month has already earned 3 million views, thanks (I think) to scenes that appeal more directly to fans of the X-Men comics that made the character a must-follow.

The Wolverine, from Marvel and 21st Century Fox. Sources: Marvel, Fox, and YouTube.

Still, there's plenty of uncertainty, which helps to explain why Fox is working with Red Robin. Just don't forget that Disney is profiting here, too.

The House of Mouse controls a roughly $40 billion worldwide licensing machine that includes revenue from every Marvel Comics character imprint. But don't take my word for it. Go to a toy store sometime and look at the back of any of the X-Men toys on the shelves. You won't find mention of Fox, because the studio controls only the movie rights. Thus, every "Berserker" burger sponsored by Fox's marketing budget puts a little extra money in the pockets of Disney shareholders.

Think that makes Rupert Murdoch berserk? Let us know what you think, and whether you plan to see the film, using the comments box below.

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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.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2013, at 11:30 PM, grievousgeorge wrote:

    Disney and NewsCorp are tyrants

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2013, at 6:48 AM, masterimmortal wrote:

    Look at any actual Wolverine movie toy and you'll definitely see Fox on the packaging. They don't have rights to just anything X-men, but if there's merchandise of their movie designs, their name will be on it. Just like Columbia Pictures was on the back of the Amazing Spider-man toys. But it's not on every Spider-man toy.

  • Report this Comment On June 10, 2013, at 8:30 AM, mrdavepa wrote:

    I am sorry... I keep expecting Hugh Jackman to break into song...

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