It’s a tough job for an old arthropod, but Spiderman might be getting called on to help save Disney theme parks from the most evil (economic) villain of them all: the current recession.
Here’s what we do know: Disney announced a takeover of Marvel today. They’ll pay $4 billion in cash and stock and take control of a small city of characters. Just how many figments of Stan Lee and other great comic-book creators’ imagination will Disney capture for that 30 bucks in cash and .745 a share?
In addition to Spiderman, they will get the Fantastic Four and X-Men. In an unlikely pairing, Iron Man and Minnie Mouse will be living together under the same roof. Disney called it a “treasure trove.” Perhaps.
But here’s what we don’t know: whether the merger will boost Disney theme park attendance, which has been flagging, by drawing in the mortal Peter Parkers of the world and their cash-strapped families. Will Hulk be hanging at the Magic Kingdom, pumping up revenues in Orlando? Or would Disney have been better off concentrating those billions on cutting prices?Disney certainly doesn’t think so. For one, they bought Marvel, proof in the Kodachrome pudding. They are obviously aiming to reach more boys across distribution lines (from parks to licensed products to video) as they already have plenty of inroads with princess- and Hannah Montana-obsessed girls.
Well, calling Captain America!
Disney has also raised park fees recently, by order of as much as 5%, additional proof that they are not concerned.
(To cut down on the costs of a visit, read this.)
Analyst consensus, always a bit of an oxymoron, is predictably split on the day of the merger.