When The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment last year, changes were bound to come — Paramount Pictures, for one, would not be the chief distributor of Marvel's films following the release of "Iron Man 3." But that timetable has changed, and the length of Paramount's relationship with Marvel has been cut even shorter.
Disney, Paramount and Marvel Studios have announced that Paramount will transfer its worldwide marketing and distribution rights for "The Avengers" and "Iron Man 3" to Disney. Disney will pay Paramount $115 million for the transfer, which serves as "a minimum guarantee against the distribution fees," according to a press release.
“In completing this agreement, Disney will now assume worldwide marketing and distribution of 'The Avengers' and 'Iron Man 3' and leverage these two highly-anticipated films across the multiple global platforms of The Walt Disney Company,” said Rich Ross, Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, in the press release. “We appreciate the tremendous momentum that Paramount established with these iconic Marvel characters and look forward to propelling the brand even further in the coming years.”
“Five years ago, when Paramount and Marvel made our initial deal, both our businesses were in very different places,” added Brad Grey, Chairman & CEO of Paramount Pictures. “We are grateful for the partnership we have had with the terrific Marvel team over these years and proud of the work we have done together. Today, this new agreement is the right deal for Paramount, for Marvel and for Disney. We look forward to working together on 'Thor' and 'Captain America,' and we wish Disney and Marvel the utmost success, in what we know will be a very productive and wide-ranging partnership.”
With Disney able to reach such an agreement with Paramount prior to the conclusion of their existing deal, it causes one to wonder if it's possible that Sony and 20th Century Fox could follow suit with similar deals, relinquishing their rights over franchises such as "Spider-Man," "Fantastic Four" and "X-Men" to the House of Mouse. That's an issue for another day, of course — for now, it's the end of an era for Paramount, the production company responsible for distributing "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2" and "The Incredible Hulk."
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