Marvel released Iron Man to wide acclaim and a $98 million opening weekend. Before the armored hero packed away his metal vestments, the movie had grossed $585 million worldwide -- and I'm not even counting DVD sales or on-demand rentals.
So the sequel is a very big deal to Marvel's new owner, Walt Disney
Jumping to conclusions from previous successes and wild guesses is always a tricky business, but I dare say that Iron Man 2 will work out very nicely for the studio. The international launch last week already pulled in $100 million in box office receipts, and the movie is a lock to make its $170 million budget back -- with interest -- very, very swiftly. The rest, as they say, is just gravy for Disney shareholders like myself.
What's even better is that the franchise is walking on muscular legs. Unlike Avatar, which makes the accountants at News Corp.
The Marvel juggernaut continues to rock and roll, setting the stage for another Iron Man blockbuster in 2012 and a plethora of related Marvel hits elsewhere. This was $4 billion well spent for Disney, as Marvel is establishing itself as a hit-making machine -- the Pixar of live-action movies. IMAX is happy to ride Marvel's coattails, along with future heirs of the entertainment dollar like Netflix and Coinstar's RedBox.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Netflix and Disney, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. IMAX is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Walt Disney and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.