Would You See 3 Marvel Movies a Year? Disney Wants to Know

Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) isn't eager to do more than two Marvel movies a year at this point. But if future demand calls for it, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige told Badass Digest in an interview that three or even four films a year is possible. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the implications in the following video.

To be clear, Feige isn't interested in boosting Marvel's output without good reason to do so. "It's hard enough to deliver two quality, hopefully bar-raising movies a year," Feige said.

He's right to move slowly, Tim says. Marvel movies have brought in nearly $5.65 billion in worldwide grosses while spending $1.38 billion to produce eight movies, a 4x return. Spectacular results when you consider that most films fail to earn the 3x return on budget needed for box office break-even, relying instead of DVD, Blu-ray, on-demand, and merchandise sales to generate profits.

Marvel's next try at building a franchise comes in August with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy. Source: Marvel Entertainment.

So what would entice Feige to get more aggressive? Hits. If new franchise tries such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man connect with audiences, then the studio would need to commission more Marvel movies to meet demand.

While that makes sense, Tim says TV offers a second option. Look at what Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) has done with Arrow. The series regularly draws between 2-3 million viewers weekly while introducing new DC Comics characters. The CW is also in the midst of shooting a spin-off, The Flash, starring Grant Gustin as the Fastest Man Alive.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a comparatively different vehicle, but that doesn't mean TV is off-limits when it comes to expanding the superhero universe. Entirely new series or specials airing on YouTube, Netflix, or ABC could help expand the MCU while reserving the cinema for the larger-than-life Marvel movies worth spending hundreds of millions to produce.

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  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 10:16 AM, PAJohnDoe wrote:

    Technically, if we're talking about the Marvel brand itself, we're getting FIVE Marvel movies this year: Cap, Spidey, X-Men, Guardians, and Big Hero Six, right? Also, when talking about multi-billion dollar franchises, Arrow doesn't belong in the conversation. Yes, DC has been more effective in introducing more characters on the SMALL screen, but three million viewers in the overall scheme of things is just a drop in the bucket. If any of those characters were to appear in films, even if they were exactly the same as they were on TV, they'd have to be re-introduced in a way that makes sense to possibly tend of millions more viewers. You can't just plug and play. I understand though that Motley Fool is somehow contractually obligated to mention Arrow in X number of articles a week, and you were falling a little behind.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 11:05 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @PAJohnDoe,

    Good to see you again.

    >>Technically, if we're talking about the Marvel brand itself, we're getting FIVE Marvel movies this year: Cap, Spidey, X-Men, Guardians, and Big Hero Six, right?

    Good point. Yes.

    >>Also, when talking about multi-billion dollar franchises, Arrow doesn't belong in the conversation.

    You might be misunderstanding me. I'm saying that the small screen can be a very effective vehicle for franchise building. Feige and Marvel Studios needn't default to a movie each time a franchise shows potential.

    >>I understand though that Motley Fool is somehow contractually obligated to mention Arrow in X number of articles a week, and you were falling a little behind.

    We're all about helping here, and we certainly wouldn't want you to miss your quota lampooning Arrow articles :-)

    Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 12:20 PM, cobraman69 wrote:

    I agree, aren't we already seeing 4-5 Marvel movies a year? Even though some of them aren't Disney, I'll still go see them as are most everybody else already.

    I would be fine with one every month from Disney, as long as they were well made. But that's highly unlikely as I'm sure the quality would suffer.

    Also, isn't Disney already working on adding four more tv series to be aired exclusively through Netflix? Daredevil, Luke Cage, and a couple of others I'm forgetting right now.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 2:14 PM, joeyg69 wrote:

    I would see as many Marvel movies they were willing to put out a year.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 2:18 PM, hectoruno wrote:

    Disney has 3 movies out this year. Cap 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Big Hero 6.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 2:36 PM, iwillnottrade wrote:

    @hectoruno while technically Big Hero 6 is part of the Marvel franchise, it's not as much hyped as the rest, mainly because it is an animated movie and, as far as I know, there is no mention that Big Hero 6 has any ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Big Hero 6 originally has ties to Alpha Flight, which has ties to Wolverine).

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 2:46 PM, PAJohnDoe wrote:

    Upon re-reading, I DO have a better understanding of what you were saying about the TV stuff, but still, even if Guardians underperforms, more people will probably see it than have ever seen an episode of Arrow, or WILL ever see an episode of the Flash, and those are two of DC's bigger guns, whereas the Guardians have been third-stringers for Marvel. Disney can afford to take the hit if Guardians doesn't do Iron Man or even Thor business. On the DC end, if they one day hope to use those very same versions of Flash and Green Arrow on the big screen, they better start working them in quickly, because the longer the shows go on, the more baggage they might have, and the harder WB/DC will have to work to introduce them to a moviegoing audience. On the other hand, if new versions will be introduced into the JLA, you run the risk of alienating the (relatively small) TV fan base. What Marvel has done is unprecedented, and the future of their movie universe doesn't necessarily hinge on whether their comic characters first being introduced in films are the next Spider-Man or Wolverine, so if they can afford the risk and are willing to take the damage if it fails, the rewards are larger if it doesn't. Worst case scenario, it's the disc you don't watch in the giant box set you still buy when it's all said and done, while the individual release pollutes the $5 dump bin until the end of time.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 6:23 PM, msorrentino wrote:

    Depends on which characters are in the films, case in point I'll probably wait till Ant-Man is on Netflix or something. Now, don't get me wrong I'm sure Ant-Man will be a great movie, but whether or not it's something that will appeal to me enough to go see it in the theater is another matter. This year I am looking forward to both Cap 2 & Guardians of the Galaxy.

    In addition, another factor to take into account starting in 2015 is Star Wars. Disney intends to release a new Star Wars movie every year alternating between one within the main story and another being about a particular character (Han Solo, Yoda, Boba Fett, etc.). Next, year Disney has Avengers 2, Ant-Man and Star Wars VII could they release schedule wise even fit more films in without them cannibalizing each other. There's a reason Disney moved the release of Star Wars VII from summer 2015 (same as Avengers 2) to winter 2015; aside from the fact that both J.J. Abrams and Michelle Kennedy flat out told Disney that the film wouldn't be done in time, in fact at the time the release date was changed they still didn't have a script.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 6:42 PM, rallem wrote:

    I would definately see three Marvel fims a year.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 7:24 PM, Droppo wrote:

    If you don't think the movie is going to be good, don't even make one a year. If you can make five good Marvel movies a year, people will go see all five. Just make sure your directors, writers, and cast are good enough to put the right movie together, and you will keep having hits. If anyone thinks there is a chance to "overload" on super hero movies, they are crazy. A few people might, but there is a built in audience of at least several million people who collected comic book for years and are THRILLED that these characters are finally reaching the big screen with positive results.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 11:38 PM, JaredM80 wrote:

    if as good as they have been then heck yeah.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 12:17 AM, Aldirick wrote:

    I understand the confusion. Fantastic 4, X-men, Wolverine and Spider-Man are cinematically owned by other companies, Fox and Sony. While they are Marvel Characters; Marvel, and by ownership, Disney, make very little off these movies. The thing that is brought up about Marvel/Disney making the movies is that it is in house and all profits go to them with a much smaller portion going to the post production companies outside Disney if any are used. Disney is a huge entertainment company, they own ABC, so SHIELD is done in house too. Any Marvel/Disney based series would be on ABC, just like Arrow is done on CW, which Warner Brothers owns. Warner Brothers owns DC Comics, so it is an inhouse production as well.

    The point being made, is that the folks at Marvel are not sure if the fans and movie goers would support multiple movies in a single year done by them. I understand their hesitance too, they have developed great characters on the screen and do not want to push the story too fast. Doing so could lose viewership which would cause them to pull back to what they were doing before. I agree with them, trying to flood the market with too many movies will hurt the endgame, and soon they will get Spider-Man back, and hopefully FF and X-men. When they do, oh the stories, New York will be so full of heroes that you will be looking for cameos in the films by them.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 2:08 AM, nighttree wrote:

    If we are talking movies as well done as Iron Man, Captain America, and the Avengers movies...I would do TEN a year.....without blinking.

    I'm not a big movie fan....very few movies actually spark my interest...

    I have been very dissapointed with the X-men/Wolverine movies, which is very sad for me as they where my favorite comics back when I was a reader.

    But some of the Marvel/Disney stuff now ranks among my favorite movie experiences.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 2:26 AM, ashleyb2007 wrote:

    It depends on what movie is being put out on the market. As long as Disney doesn't screw anything up with some of the best heroes around. So far, Thor has be handled well.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 8:52 AM, justapilgrim wrote:

    The point that needs to be seen with these Marvel movies is that, since Iron Man 1, there has been a specific story being told, all the way up to Avengers 1 and all the way up to Avengers 2. It kills me to have to wait months and months for the next segment of the story! I would see 1 movie a month if it was a continuation of the story. If they were just 1 shots, I would still probably see it as I'm a huge fan, but I think the real draw is the continuation of the story line. You can't NOT see Guardians, because that's going to be a huge, integral part of the Avengers 2 Ultron Storyline. You can't NOT see Antman because that kicks off the next storyline.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 3:38 PM, Richard233 wrote:

    It depends on the writing. I'm a huger fan of the original source material, but have not really been into the modern books for quite some time.

    I bought the guardians of the galaxy reboot they did because it amused me. I did not see the most recent Spiderman simply because I thought that the reboot was too soon.

    What I won't watch at all is something that depends on CGI or 3D instead of good writing/acting. Actually, I tend to skip 3D versions completely because other than Gravity, I never really saw it done in a way that made me care.

    (And while I liked Gravity, it was not exactly great writing, just a fun roller coaster movie.)

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 9:41 PM, ectogamit wrote:

    at $3 (x2) a movie I will see a movie every week

    at $9 (x2) a movie whats the point? might as well wait and buy the DVD.

    but I generally rent it now for a $1 instead

    There was a discount theater here that was $3 on tuesdays so I went every week. spending $312 a year and would always bring at least one other couple so combined spent at a minimum $624 a year) also if the movie was exeptional i would pay for my parents to go the following week.

    at $9 I see maybe 2 movies a year so now i'm spending max $36 a year. plus max 50 rentals so $86 a year

    I don't think their business model is very inteligent. But i am saving money now so f them.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 10:35 PM, fresnosmokey wrote:

    I rarely go see ANY movies at a theater anymore. The costs are just too high. I wait until movies I want to see show up at the cut rate theater or until I can rent them. I just don't see the value in dropping thirty dollars or more on just one movie. I spend half that on my MMO subscription and get a whole month's worth of entertainment rather than two hours (give or take). So, if I won't go see one at full price, no I won't go see multiple Marvel movies in a year's time. I see no value in it.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not poor. I own things, I have money in the bank, I have investments. I just don't put that kind of value on 90 minute to 3 hrs of fleeting entertainment. My kids don't seem to care, but they've never known any different. I have. And I assign my values accordingly.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 8:13 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @Aldrick,

    >>Marvel, and by ownership, Disney, make very little off these movies.

    I wouldn't go that far. Marvel gets a standard producer fee for any film starring its characters. History says to expect that to be between 5-10%, or roughly in line with what Marvel got when it financed the first handful of Marvel Studios films.

    Here's an (old!) article with the financing details of that arrangement, unveiled all the way back in summer 2006:

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2006/08/18/marvels-new...

    FWIW and Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 8:16 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @justapilgrim,

    >>You can't NOT see Guardians, because that's going to be a huge, integral part of the Avengers 2 Ultron Storyline. You can't NOT see Antman because that kicks off the next storyline.

    Yep. This was always part of the Marvel strategy. Create an interlocking movie universe that features the sorts of tie-ins and crossovers that get hard core comics fans to buy books they wouldn't ordinarily collect.

    Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 9:41 AM, Badger521 wrote:

    IMHO, 2 movies a year is too few... Somewhere between 3 and 4 would be best for me. Some time to anticipate the next outing, but not Marvel overload.

    Though it would be a given that they would have to be of equal quality as the current movies. If the quality declines, it could go downhill fast.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 10:22 AM, buddydave wrote:

    As long as they keep the quality high, I'll see them. One very good Marvel movie per quarter would be perfect.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 10:32 AM, jamel58 wrote:

    There are so many stories in the marvel universe and they all tie in together in various ways yes they could get away with doing this! I personally would love it! I think GOTG is going to blow peoples socks off! They are a very interesting group not sure if any of you have read any of GOTG but I think it has potential to be the best movie in the franchise! Especially once we get Adam Warlock which they have already teased. Warlock alone leads to multiple potential movies!

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 3:31 PM, lloydmperrin wrote:

    Three is not a crowd,it's shy 2 for a basketball team

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