Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Entertainment, LLC
Formerly called
Industry Entertainment
  • Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc.
  • ToyBiz
Founded June 1998 (June 1998)[1]
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Area served
United States, United Kingdom
Key people
Services Licensing
Number of employees
Parent The Walt Disney Company

Marvel Entertainment, LLC (formerly Marvel Enterprises and Toy Biz, Inc. and marketed and stylized as MARVEL) is an American entertainment company founded in June 1998, merging Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc. and ToyBiz. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, and is mainly known for its Marvel Comics, Marvel Animation and Marvel Television units. Marvel Studios, formerly under the Marvel umbrella, became a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, where it develops and produces a shared universe that shares continuity with shows produced by the television unit.

In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion;[2] it has been a limited liability company (LLC) since then. For financial reporting purposes, Marvel is reported as primarily a part of Disney's Consumer Products segment.[3]

Over the years, Marvel Entertainment has entered in several partnerships and negotiations with other companies across a variety of businesses. As of 2016, Marvel has film licensing agreements with 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures, and a theme park licensing agreement with Universal Parks & Resorts extant before Disney's acquisition.[4] Aside from their contract with Universal, Marvel's characters and properties have also appeared at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.[5]


Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc.

Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc.
(later Marvel Property, Inc.)[6][7]
Subsidiary then Public subsidiary (NYSE:MRV)
Industry Entertainment
Genre Superhero
Fate bankrupt, merger
Predecessor Magazine Management
Successor Marvel Enterprises
Defunct June 1998[1]
Products Comics
Services Licensing

Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc. (Marvel or MEG), incorporated on December 2, 1986[6] as the parent company of Marvel Comics and Marvel Productions, was put up for sale as part of the liquidation of its then parent corporation, Cadence Industries, and sold in 1986 to New World Pictures.[8] On January 6, 1989, Ronald Perelman's MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings group of companies bought Marvel Entertainment Group from New World for $82.5 million,[9] not including Marvel Productions, which was folded into New World's TV and movie business.[8]

"It is a mini-Disney in terms of intellectual property," said Perelman. "Disney's got much more highly recognized characters and softer characters, whereas our characters are termed action heroes. But at Marvel we are now in the business of the creation and marketing of characters."[1]

Going Public and acquisition

Marvel made an initial public offer of 40% of the stock (ticker symbol NYSE:MRV) on July 15, 1991, giving $40 million from the proceeds to Andrews Group, Marvel's then direct parent corporation within MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings.[9][10]

Marvel Entertainment Group then began expanding with acquisitions and forming new divisions. Marvel purchased the trading card company Fleer on July 24, 1992.[9] On April 30, 1993, Marvel acquired 46% of ToyBiz, for the rights to make Marvel toys.[9] The Andrews Group named Avi Arad of ToyBiz as the president and CEO of the Marvel Films division and of New World Family Filmworks, Inc., a New World Entertainment subsidiary.[11]

In 1993 and 1994, Marvel's holding companies — Marvel Holdings, Inc. and Marvel Parent Holdings, Inc. — were formed between Andrews Group and MEG and issued over half a billion dollars in bonds under the direction of Perelman, secured by Marvel's rising stock, which was passed up in dividends to Perlman's group of companies.[12] Marvel continued making acquisitions with Panini, an Italian sticker-maker on August 4, 1994 for $158.4 million, and SkyBox International on March 8, 1995 for $150 million.[9]

Marvel also purchased Heroes World Distribution, a regional distributor to comic-book shops on Dec. 28, 1994.[9] Marvel's attempt to distribute its products directly led to a decrease in sales and aggravated the losses which Marvel suffered when the comic book bubble[13] popped, the 1994 Major League Baseball strike massacred the profits of the Fleer unit,[14] and Panini, whose revenue depended largely on Disney licensing, was hobbled by poor Disney showings at the box office.[15]

Marvel Studios and bankruptcy

While licensing revenue reached $50 million in 1995, MEG laid off 275 employees on January 4, 1996,[16] as losses for the 1995 year were $48.4 million.[9] On November 12, 1996 Perelman offered to have the Andrews Group purchase additional shares with an issue for $350 million in November 1996 (the "Andrews Plan"), which would have required ToyBiz to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Marvel. Meanwhile, Carl Icahn began buying Marvel's bonds at 20% of their value and moved to block Perelman's plan. The Marvel group of companies filed for bankruptcy on December 27, 1996, but the noteholders, led by Icahn, initially blocked this.[1][9]

In August 1996, Marvel created Marvel Studios, an incorporation of Marvel Films, due to the sale of its film and TV sister company, New World Communications Group, to News Corporation. Filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise money to finance the new corporation, Marvel, Isaac Perlmutter's Zib, Inc. and Avi Arad sold Toy Biz stocks, which Marvel had started and took public in February 1995.[17][18]

Icahn fought to take control of the company from Perelman.[15] The court ruled on February 26, 1997 that Icahn could foreclose on a controlling interest in Marvel shares put up for collateral for the company's bonds.[9] On April 28, 1997, ToyBiz and Marvel agreed to a plan supported by Chase Bank that would merge the two companies, grant then lenders a $250 million loan proceeds, a 5-year, $170 million note, 28% of merged entity's equity and all stock in subsidiaries Fleer/SkyBox and Panini subsidiaries with Marvel shareholders receiving two sets of stock warrants.[19] Finally Icahn took control of Marvel's board and became Marvel's chairman on June 20.[9] Bankruptcy proceedings continued with multi-way arguments among Perelman, Icahn, Toy Biz, and the banks.[1] A plan for reorganization agreed to by Icahn and the MEG's secured creditors fell apart on October 8 with the introduction of the better Toy Biz plan. The Bankruptcy Court on December 24 appointed a trustee to oversee the company.[9]

In June 1997, Marvel formed its Marvel Enterprise division, headed by president and CEO Scott C. Marden, to manage its trading card and sticker businesses, as well as Marvel Interactive, an Internet-entertainment and software-publishing company.[20]

A lawsuit by bond holders and Marvel's litigation trustees was filed in 1997, accusing Perelman and other Marvel Board Directors of diverting $553.5 million in proceeds from 1993 and 1994 notes to other MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings' companies, prior to Marvel's 1996 bankruptcy. The lawsuit asked for $470.8 million in damages. The appellate court ruled that, “None of the proceeds went to Marvel, or were used for Marvel’s benefit”, but instead improperly enriched the directors. While denying any wrongdoing, Perelman agreed in August 2008 to settle for $80 million, which the trustees accepted. The settlement fund, after paying off trustees' and legal fees, administrative expenses and a $2 million loan, had $50 million to distribute to some Marvel Entertainment Group shareholders and unsecured creditors.[12]

On February 18, 1998, Marvel and co-owner Universal Studios Hollywood opened Marvel Mania Restaurant near Universal Studios in California,[21] as well as Planet Hollywood. However, Planet Hollywood had financial problems due to expanding too quickly, and closed Marvel Mania.[22]

Another Toy Biz reorganization plan supported by the most creditors is submitted to the court on February 13, 1998. New York Stock Exchange stops trading of Marvel stock on April 17.[9] Toy Biz owners Ike Perlmutter and Avi Arad, with the banks on their side, snatched Marvel from Perelman and Icahn, in order to protect their own financial interests.[15] Retailer and columnist Chuck Rozanski estimated that Perelman made $200 to $400 million from Marvel,[23] while Forbes magazine believes he made nothing;[24] and the judge in the Marvel bankruptcy trial estimated that Perelman made $280 million plus various tax advantages.[15] The judge ousted Icahn as Marvel's chairman in December 1997, naming a trustee to run Marvel while discussion continued between the various factions.[1]

Marvel Enterprises

ToyBiz and Marvel Entertainment Group were merged into Marvel Enterprises to bring it out of bankruptcy in June 1998.[1] In February 1999, Fleer/Skybox was sold to a corporation owned by Alex and Roger Grass, a father and son, for US$30 million.[25]

Later, the rights to names like "Spider-Man" were being challenged. Toy Biz hired an attorney to review its license agreement. Los Angeles patent attorney Carole E. Handler found a legal loophole in the licensing of the Marvel name and was successful in reclaiming Marvel Enterprises' movie rights to its character Spider-Man.[26][27][28]

Marvel Enterprise organized itself into four major units, Marvel Studios, Toy Biz, Licensing and Publishing, while in November 1999 adding Marvel Characters Group to manage Marvel's IP and oversee marketing.[29]

In 2003, Bill Stine purchased back Quest Aerospace, a 1995 Toy Biz acquisition, from Marvel.[30] In summer 2003, Marvel places an offer for Artisan Entertainment.[31] A new unit, Marvel International, was set up in London under a president, Bruno Maglione, to extend the company's operation and presence in major overseas markets in November 2003.[32] In December 2003, Marvel Entertainment acquired Cover Concepts from Hearst Communications, Inc.[33] In November 2004, Marvel consolidated its children's sleepwear-apparel licensing business with American Marketing Enterprises, Inc.[34]

In November 2004, the corporation sued South Korea-based NCSoft Corp. and San Jose, California-based Cryptic Studios Inc. over possible trademark infringement in their City of Heroes massive multiplayer online game.[35] Marvel settled a film-royalties lawsuit in April 2005 with its former editor-in-chief and publisher, Stan Lee, paying him $10 million and negotiating an end to his royalties.[36]

Marvel Entertainment

In September 2005, Marvel Enterprises changed its name to Marvel Entertainment to reflect the corporation's expansion into financing its own movie slate.[37]

In 2007, several Stan Lee Media related groups filed lawsuits against Marvel Entertainment for $1 billion and for Lee's Marvel creations in multiple states most of which have been dismissed.[38] Additionally, a lawsuit over ownership of the character Ghost Rider was filed on March 30, 2007, by Gary Friedrich and Gary Friedrich Enterprises, Inc.[39]

Disney subsidiary (2009-present)

On August 31, 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced a deal to acquire Marvel Entertainment for $4.24 billion, with Marvel shareholders to receive $30 and approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each share of Marvel they own.[40] The voting occurred on December 31, 2009 and the merger was approved.[2][41] The acquisition of Marvel was finalized hours after the shareholder vote, therefore giving Disney full ownership of Marvel Entertainment.[42] The company was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange under its ticker symbol (MVL), due to the closing of the deal.

On June 2, 2010 Marvel announced that it promoted Joe Quesada to Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment.[43] In June 2010, Marvel set up a television division headed by Jeph Loeb as executive vice president.[44] Three months later, Smith & Tinker licensed from Marvel the character rights for a superhero digital collectible game for Facebook and Apple's mobile platform.[45] On October 1, 2010, Marvel moved its offices to a 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) suite at 135 W. 50th Street, New York City, New York, under a nine-year sublease contract.[46]

Stan Lee Media's lawsuit against Marvel was dismissed again in February 2011.[38]

In March 2013, Feld Entertainment agreed with Marvel to produce a Marvel Character-based live arena show. Marvel was also launching a new pop culture and lifestyle web show, “Earth’s Mightiest Show”.[47] On August 22, 2013, Marvel Entertainment announced that it was working with Hero Ventures on The Marvel Experience, a traveling production/attraction.[48] In April 2014, Hong Kong Disneyland announced the construction of Iron Man Experience, the first Marvel ride at any Disney theme park. It will be built on a location in the park's Tomorrowland.[49]

On September 16, 2009,[50] the Jack Kirby estate served notices of termination to Walt Disney Studios, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Sony Pictures to attempt to gain control of various Silver Age Marvel characters.[51][52] Marvel sought to invalidate those claims.[53][54] In mid-March 2010 Kirby's estate "sued Marvel to terminate copyrights and gain profits from [Kirby's] comic creations."[55] In July 2011, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a summary judgment in favor of Marvel,[50][56] which was affirmed in August 2013 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.[57] The Kirby estate filed a petition on March 21, 2014 for a review of the case by the Supreme Court of the United States,[58][59] but a settlement was reached on September 26, 2014 and the family requested that the petition be dismissed.[60]


The company's operating units, as of 2015, include:



Intellectual property holding companies




Office of the Chief Executive



See subsidiaries' articles for their executives.




For any animation created before 1992, see Marvel Productions. For any animation created after 2008, see Marvel Animation.
Year(s) Series Production Distributor Original
Marvel Films Animation
1992–1997 X-Men[20] Saban Entertainment Fox Kids
1994–1998 Spider-Man: The Animated Series Marvel Films Animation/Saban New World Communications
1994–1996 Fantastic Four New World Animation & Wang Films New World Communications The Marvel Action Hour
Iron Man New World Animation
1996–1997 The Incredible Hulk New World Animation Saban Entertainment UPN
Marvel Studios Animation
1998 Silver Surfer Saban Entertainment Fox Kids
1999–2001 Spider-Man Unlimited
1999–2000 The Avengers: United They Stand
2000-2003 X-Men: Evolution Film Roman Warner Bros. Television Distribution Kids' WB
2006-2007 Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes Moonscoop MoonScoop Group
Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network


For any live action television series created after 2009, see Marvel Television.
Series Aired Production Distributor Original
Mutant X October 6, 2001 – May 17, 2004 Fireworks Entertainment
Tribune Entertainment
Marvel Studios
Marvel Enterprise
CanWest Global Communications
Blade: The Series June 28, 2006 – September 13, 2006 Phantom Four
New Line Television
Marvel Entertainment Spike


Year Film Directed by Written by Production by Budget Gross
1998 Blade Stephen Norrington David S. Goyer New Line Cinema $40 million $131.2 million
2000 X-Men Bryan Singer Story by Tom DeSanto & Bryan Singer
Screenplay by David Hayter
20th Century Fox $75 million $296.3 million
2002 Blade II Guillermo del Toro David S. Goyer New Line Cinema $54 million $155 million
Spider-Man Sam Raimi David Koepp Columbia Pictures $139 million $821.7 million
2003 Daredevil Mark Steven Johnson 20th Century Fox $78 million $179.2 million
X2 Bryan Singer Story by Zak Penn and David Hayter & Bryan Singer
Screenplay by Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris and David Hayter
$110 million $407.7 million
Hulk Ang Lee Story by James Schamus
Screenplay by John Turman and Michael France and James Schamus
Universal Pictures $137 million $245.4 million
2004 The Punisher Jonathan Hensleigh Jonathan Hensleigh and Michael France Lionsgate Films / Artisan Entertainment $33 million $54.7 million
Spider-Man 2 Sam Raimi Story by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar and Michael Chabon
Screenplay by Alvin Sargent
Columbia Pictures $200 million $783.8 million
Blade: Trinity David S. Goyer New Line Cinema $65 million $128.9 million
2005 Elektra Rob Bowman Zak Penn and Stuart Zicherman & Raven Metzner 20th Century Fox $43 million $56.7 million
Man-Thing Brett Leonard Han Rodionoff Lionsgate Films / Artisan Entertainment $30 million $1.1 million
Fantastic Four Tim Story Mark Frost and Michael France 20th Century Fox $100 million $330.6 million
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Brett Ratner Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn 20th Century Fox $210 million $459.4 million
2007 Ghost Rider Mark Steven Johnson Columbia Pictures $110 million $228.7 million
Spider-Man 3 Sam Raimi Screenplay by Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent
Story by Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi
$258 million $890.9 million
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Tim Story Screenplay by Don Payne and Mark Frost
Story by John Turman and Mark Frost
20th Century Fox $130 million $289 million
2008 Punisher: War Zone Lexi Alexander Nick Santora and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway Lionsgate Films $35 million $10.1 million
2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine Gavin Hood David Benioff and Skip Woods 20th Century Fox $150 million $373.1 million
2011 X-Men: First Class Matthew Vaughn Screenplay by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn
Story by Sheldon Turner and Bryan Singer
$140–$160 million $353.6 million
2012 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor Screenplay by Scott M. Gimple and Seth Hoffman & David S. Goyer
Story by David S. Goyer
Columbia Pictures $57 million $132.6 million
The Amazing Spider-Man Marc Webb Screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Alvin Sargent & Steve Kloves
Story by James Vanderbilt
$230 million $757.9 million
2013 The Wolverine James Mangold Christopher McQuarrie and Mark Bomback 20th Century Fox $120 million $414.8 million
2014 X-Men: Days of Future Past Bryan Singer Screenplay by Simon Kinberg
Story by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman & Simon Kinberg
$200 million $747.9 million
2015 Fantastic Four Josh Trank Jeremy Slater, Seth Grahame-Smith, T.S. Nowlin & Simon Kinberg $120 million $168 million
2016 Deadpool Tim Miller Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick $58 million $782.3 million
X-Men: Apocalypse Bryan Singer Simon Kinberg, Dan Harris, and Michael Dougherty $178 million $534.5 million

See also


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