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Variety On Disney, Marvel And Stage 'SPIDER-MAN'

Variety reports on the announcement yesterday of The Walt Disney Co. buying Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock. That move will now bring such iconic characters as Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse, Goofy and WALL-E.

They cover the subject of the upcoming Broadway musical "SPIDER-MAN, Turn Off the Dark" and the web of confusion regarding its current status.

The paper states that "the news that Disney will acquire Marvel in a $4 billion deal prompted speculative chatter along Broadway on Monday, with one hypothetical situation imagining the Mouse's legit division, Disney Theatrical Prods., swinging in to rescue "Spider-Man" from its much-publicized fiscal uncertainty. At the moment, this seems unlikely for a number of reasons."

To read the full report click here.

Disney will acquire the rights to over 5,000 Marvel characters. Many of them, including Spidey The Fantastic Four and the X-Men, were co-created by the comic book legend Stan Lee.

As we reported earlier weeks ago, the upcoming Broadway musical "SPIDER-MAN, Turn Off the Dark" has become caught up in the web of it's massive budget. On August 6th, Variety revealed that "the extensive work being done to prepare for the technically demanding show, both in the shop constructing the physical production and in the theater where "SPIDER-MAN" is due to open, is said to have stopped this week." No date for resuming any production work has been announced at this time. This new development is something to watch in relation to the musical and its future.

Disney CEO Robert Iger remarked that Marvel's comic books, TV shows, movies and video games amounted to "a treasure trove of content." Iger announced that the deal would bring benefits like the ones Disney got from buying "Toy Story" creator Pixar Animation Studios Inc. for $7.4 billion in stock in 2006.

"The acquisition of Marvel offers us a similar opportunity to advance our strategy," Iger stated, and "to build a business that is stronger than the sum of its parts."

Iger said being in the Disney camp would mean better global distribution for Marvel and better relationships with retailers to sell its products. DC Comics, another comic book giant, has been under the wings of a major studio since 1969, when Warner Bros. bought the home of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Marvel Chairman Mort Handel called Disney "a perfect home for our great collection of characters."
One point of the deal is to help Disney appeal to young men who have flocked to theaters to see Marvel superheroes such as Iron Man in recent years. That contrasts with Disney's recent successes among young women with such fare as "Hannah Montana" and the Jonas Brothers.

Marvel earned a net profit of $206 million in its last fiscal year, up 47 percent from a year earlier, on revenue of $676 million.

Drawing from over 40 years of Marvel comic books for inspiration, SPIDER-MAN spins a new take on the mythic tale of a young man propelled from a modest rowhouse in Queens to the sky-scraping spire of the Chrysler Building, the bustling offices of the Daily Bugle, through the dizzying canyons of Manhattan, to new vistas never before seen. 

SPIDER-MAN features music and lyrics by 22-time Grammy® Award-winners Bono and The Edge of U2 with direction by Tony® Award-winner Julie Taymor (The Tempest, Across The Universe, The Lion King). SPIDER-MAN is written by Julie Taymor and Glen Berger (Underneath The Lintel). The principal creative and design team for SPIDER-MAN includes Daniel Ezralow, Choreographer (Across the Universe, The Green Bird); George Tsypin, Sets (The Magic Flute, The Little Mermaid); Eiko Ishioka, Costumes (Academy Award® for Bram Stoker's Dracula, Tony Award® nomination for M. Butterfly, the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics); Donald Holder, Lighting (Tony® Awards for The Lion King, South Pacific); Jonathan Deans, Sound (Fosse, The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil, Young Frankenstein); and Teese Gohl, Musical Supervisor (Across the Universe, Frida).

SPIDER-MAN is produced by HELLO Entertainment/David GarfinkleMartin McCallumMarvel Entertainment/David Maisel, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Jeremiah Harris, in association with Omneity Entertainment/Richard Weinberg, Jeffrey B. Hecktman, the Mayerson/Gould/Hauser/Tysoe Group, Patricia Lambrecht and Jam Theatricals/S2BN Entertainment.

SPIDER-MAN is now expected to begin preview performances Thursday, February 25, 2010 at the Hilton Theatre with a new official opening date to be announced shortly. (The opening date was previously February 18, 2010). Tickets for the eagerly anticipated SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark are now on sale exclusively for American Express® cardmembers at, by calling 1-800-745-3000, or at all Ticketmaster outlets. 

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