Marvel’s Movie Opportunity May Be Bigger Than Any of Us Knows

“Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn reveals more details about Marvel’s movie rights.

Feb 25, 2014 at 6:38AM

When Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) spent $4 billion to acquire Marvel in 2009, it did so knowing that new Marvel movies would operate in a limited universe. Four years later, the boundaries are shifting. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the changes in the following video.

Originally, Marvel was barred from using characters considered part of the "Fantastic Four," "Spider-Man," and "X-Men" families of heroes and villains. Thus, if a character originated in "Fantastic Four" or a related comic book, Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) would own the movie rights to said character. Fox had similar control over the X-Men, while Sony had rights to the Spider-Man universe. Or at least that's how it seemed.

Now, thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy,  we're finding that the lines are blurred. Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser first appeared in "Fantastic Four," yet apparently had enough tussles with The Avengers to quality as partially owned by Marvel and Disney. He'll appear as the primary antagonist in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Conversely,  the Badoon -- a well-known antagonist for the Guardians in the comics -- isn't Marvel property. Director James Gunn confirmed as much earlier this week in an interview with Kevin Pereira of the Pointless Podcast. He also confirmed that Disney has partial rights to the Skrulls, while the Guardians will spend time facing off against the insectoid aliens known as the Sakaaran.

Why not the Badoon? Tim theorizes that their first appearance, in 1968's "Silver Surfer" #1, makes them too closely aligned with the "Fantastic Four" family of characters. So be it. Even if the Badoon are off-limits it's become increasingly clear that Marvel Studios' access to Marvel Comics characters isn't nearly so limited as we once might have believed.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What character do you want to see in a Marvel movie? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take and then leave a comment to let us know where you stand, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Disney stock at current prices.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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