I own shares of it. I've recommended it multiple times as a selection for the Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter. I do believe a fair number of Fools have made a fair amount of money off it alongside me.
The stock hit a 52-week high this morning, passing $30 as I write. Presumably, the 5% gain is due to positive box-office reactions to Ghost Rider. And yet, as you may well be aware, Ghost Rider didn't exactly get good reviews. Indeed, I'm not sure it got any.
Aha, and yet ...
Clearly, the appeal of Ghost Rider was and is able to overcome even an average (at best) movie being made. I think it was a poor choice for the director again on that movie, and my hope is that Mark Steven Johnson is officially retired as a Marvel director.
That said, there is just a winning quality to superhero movies, and that's what Ghost Rider reminds us of. Fantastic Four underwhelmed the critics, too, but when you bring family appeal, a sense of humor, and a hero that people can look up to, the critics may not like it, but the box office will. And I know which one enriches shareholders more. Hey, X-Men 3 was not as good a movie as X-Men 2, and with a worse director, but made more money than any of the series. So there's a momentum to these movies, as well -- introduce the characters in movie one (Blade, X-Men, Spidey, Hulk, etc.), and so long as you didn't do a horrible job of it, you're often then set up to make even more money down the line.
That's why I predict that Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer will substantially beat the previous F4 in box office. Even if it's just another popcorn flick.
With Marvel stock surging to a 52-week high -- now up 764% since my July 2002 recommendation -- it can't be a coincidence that this is happening the very day after Ghost Rider's first-weekend results positively surprised. Right alongside the criticisms of the critics.
It appears the market is looking more at profit than plaudits. Lesson learned, dear Fools.
For more Marvel-ous Foolishness:
This article has been updated from David Gardner's blog on the Motley Fool CAPS stock-rating service. To see the original posting, click here.
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David Gardner owns shares of Marvel. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is a superhero in the making.