Up with Downey
Talk about landing the perfect one-two punch. Marvel Entertainment (NYSE: MVL) posted blowout quarterly results on Monday, just after its self-financed Iron Man finished with the second best box-office opening weekend ever for a non-sequel flick.

How cool is that? Marvel made a ton of money in the past, and now it has set the stage for even more money in the future.

We can't get carried away here, since Iron Man had all of the ingredients in place. It won critical praise from most cynical movie critics even before the multiplexes started letting moviegoers in. Marvel isn't going to be able to hit it out of the park like this every time, but at least it knows it has a legitimate franchise that it can tap in the future. Imagine the success that Marvel's Spider-Man has had for Sony (NYSE: SNE), except this time, Marvel is doing more than just skimming royalties off the top.

I'm impressed that critics rallied around the film, even with the over-the-top product placement. I mean, come on, critics. Billionaire Tony Stark comes back from months of captivity, he's craving a burger, and he goes to Burger King (NYSE: BKC)?

Quick hits
A few more of the market's stories, in brief:

  • Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is now selling video downloads for the Zune. The software giant's media player has only 4% of the market, so what's keeping it afloat? I have an idea. Someone get Marvel on the line. If Zune doesn't sound like a great comic-book superhero, able to survive against amazing odds, at least let Microsoft work on the film rights.
  • Disney (NYSE: DIS) and several of its regional amusement-park peers posted better-than-expected results this week. Maybe we finally have a recession-resistant, consumer-driven industry. If not, the media will love the chance to roll with plenty of roller coaster, carousel, and Ferris wheel metaphors.
  • Convenience-store chain The Pantry (Nasdaq: PTRY) posted a quarterly loss. Wasn't this supposed to be the recession-proof sector? I guess now I have to work on metaphors about bean burritos rotating in the convenience-store microwave. They're going in circles, and you're still not getting the beef.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz