The Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting richer. Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS ) scheduled three untitled Marvel Studios films shortly after re-signing Robert Downey Jr. to play Iron Man in the next two Avengers films. Marvel is also talking with Fast & Furious 6 actor Vin Diesel about an unspecified role.
Investors should love the aggressiveness. By announcing its intentions, Disney has locked up the first weekend in May 2015, 2016, and 2017 for Marvel films. History says they'll do well. Iron Man (May 2008) and Iron Man 2 (May 2010) each earned more than $300 million at the U.S. box office, while Thor (May 2011) earned $181 million. And, of course, we all know how big Marvel's The Avengers became in the months after its May 4, 2012, debut.
May is Marvel's money month, which leaves the rest of the year to experiment. Next up: Guardians of the Galaxy, an August 2014 big-space epic that attempts to widen the MCU in ways that Time Warner had hoped Green Lantern would expand the DC Cinematic Universe. (An experiment that failed, sadly.)
Marvel's next try after that comes in an untitled July 2016 feature. Will the studio use the slot to beef up an existing character or introduce a new one, expanding the Avengers franchise? Fool contributor and longtime comic-book fan and follower Tim Beyers is betting on the latter, and offers a theory for who it might be in the following video.
Please watch and then weigh in. Do you agree with Tim's take? What characters would you like to see on screen. Leave a comment to let us know what you think about Marvel's strategy, and whether you're more or less bullish on Disney stock as a result.
It's easy to forget that Walt Disney is more than just the House of Mouse. True, Disney amusement parks around the world hosted more than 121 million guests in 2011. But from its vast catalog of characters to its monster collection of media networks, much of Disney's allure for investors lies in its diversity, and The Motley Fool's premium research report lays out the case for investing in Disney today. This report includes the key items investors must watch as well as the opportunities and threats the company faces going forward. So don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.