I've always wondered why run-of-the-mill news media people seem so excited about box-office numbers. Everyone likes a winner, I guess. But as a Marvel Enterprises
Spider-Man 2 might have broken even more records had the web slinger's handlers not chosen to release the film just before the busy holiday weekend, when potential moviegoers tend to be caught up with outdoor and family activities. Because of the timing, the original Spider-Man remains atop the pile for highest opening weekends. But even so, only DreamWorks' Shrek 2, a few of Time Warner's
From a shareholder's point of view, the astounding fact is that the enormous take still hasn't reached the reported $250 million that Spider-Man 2 cost to make and market. The upcoming overseas releases, plus domestic legs provided by rave reviews, should put the movie into the black within days.
Unfortunately, what that means for Marvel shareholders is not quite clear. The firm recently resolved its dispute with Sony over the Spider-Man franchise. Details of the deal were not released, but it's sure to bring bigger licensing revenues. Factor in Marvel's long pipeline of other movie projects, its risk-averse business model, and lucrative side deals with everyone from Kellogg
Or maybe not. In the short term, the market is scary and irrational, like Doc Ock or Green Goblin. But in the end, good guys -- such as debt-free licensors with ample free cash flow -- prevail.
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