Oh, what a tangled web Spider-Man weaves. Thanks largely to the multibillion-dollar success of Marvel’s characters on the big screen, Disney is buying the fabled comic book company for $4 billion in cash and stock. The Mouse House says Marvel characters will soon be appearing at its theme parks, but that isn’t the half of it.

Marvel’s characters — and there are about 5,000 of them — will also be funneled into Disney’s film, television and merchandising businesses.

It will be interesting to see how Disney wedges Marvel’s edgier content (compared with the likes of Goofy, anyway) into its ecosystem. Chain-smoking Marvel front man Stan Lee isn’t exactly Uncle Walt. The company may adapt its film strategy, where more adult titles are quarantined under the Touchstone and Miramax brands.

If not, the conglomerate may decide to dull Wolverine’s claws, or go a different direction and make the world of Disney a little less wonderful.

According to a report in The New York Times, Disney is going after the hearts and minds of little boys. That’s where Marvel comes in. Seems “Hannah Montana” wasn’t winning over that demographic. — PS

New York Times:

Disney sees a deep opportunity to immediately patch the Marvel characters into its other businesses, however. Marvel characters will be added to Disney’s theme parks, while consumer products will be a huge component, particularly internationally where Marvel has made fewer inroads.

Marvel’s intellectual property tends to be more popular with boys — an area where Disney could use the help. While the likes of “Hannah Montana” and the blockbuster Princesses merchandising line have solidified Disney’s hold on little girls, franchises for boys have recently been harder to come by. Disney XD, a new cable channel aimed at boys, could be an immediate home for Marvel characters.

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