Paramount brass baked some goodies into its Marvel deal with Disney
Nearly a year after Disney brokered a deal with Paramount to take over the marketing and distribution of “The Avengers,” the Mouse House is curiously missing from the first marketing materials for the superhero pic.Disney’s logo wasn’t on the teaser poster presented at Comic-Con in San Diego this summer, and the studio also doesn’t appear in the first full trailer that went online Tuesday — just days before New York Comic Con kicks off Thursday. Instead, it’s Paramount that’s prominently displayed alongside Marvel Studios. Knowing Disney wanted to turn “The Avengers” into a franchise and bank on the success of “Iron Man” after buying Marvel for $4 billion, Par’s brass negotiated a deal in which it continues to collect 8% of the B.O. as part of fees it would have earned for distribbing the pic, as it did with the two “Iron Man” pics, “Thor” and “Captain America.” It gets 9% for “Iron Man 3.” At the minimum, it earns $115 million, should they not perform. At the same time, the deal granted Par placement on the marketing materials for both titles, even though Marvel’s films are fully owned by Disney and will be solely distributed and marketed by the Mouse House, Variety learned. Because of the ownership, Disney wants Marvel to get the spotlight, since Marvel = Disney. Still, pay TV rights for “The Avengers” belong to Par’s Epix, not Starz, through which Disney releases its pics. “The Avengers,” which assembles the titular superheroes from the “Iron Man,” “Thor” and “Captain America” pics, bows next May, while “Iron Man 3” is out May 2013. “In completing this agreement, Disney will leverage these two highly anticipated films across the multiple global platforms of the Walt Disney Co.,” studio chairman Rich Ross said Oct. 18, 2010, when the deal was announced. Unfortunately for Disney, moviegoers may think they belong to Paramount. To a point: Whenever “The Avengers” is discussed, it’s Disney that’s managing the superheroes, with the studio bringing the pic’s thesps to its D23 Expo, in Anaheim, Calif., in August, and managing Marvel’s presence at New York Comic-Con this week.