Back in 2009 when Disney bought Marvel, a lot of people immediately recognized the awkwardness of one specific business arrangement: that Marvel Studios, their film arm, had signed a six-picture distribution deal with the then-ailing Paramount Pictures. Since then, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 have done fantastically well for the company, and even The Incredible Hulk brought in some good numbers. But the prospect of having two major entities trying to work out co-distribution for the remaining films seemed less than ideal.
Once 2012 rolls around, that is no longer an issue. Deadline reports that Disney has bought out the final two films of Paramount’s deal with Marvel Studios, The Avengers and Iron Man 3, for $115 million, to be paid in two installments alongside the release of each film. If the films perform well, which I have no reason to doubt that they will, Paramount stands to earn even more than this prearranged payment, in addition to a purported 9% Iron Man 3 distribution bonus as a reward for launching such a valuable franchise.
Basically, Paramount gets paid for these major films without having to do any real work to get them out there. I’m sure they’re happy about that! In the meantime, they’ll be busy releasing Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America on May 6 and July 22, 2011, respectively, as well as retaining distribution rights for Iron Man and Iron Man 2 (and presumably The Incredible Hulk).
It seems everyone’s happy about making lots and lots of money off of these valuable properties. Now let’s hope that the rest of the films in the Marvel film universe can live up to the standard set by Iron Man.