For years, Marvel, which Disney bought for $4 billion in 2009, has been the dominant force in films about masked vigilantes. The race will get tighter next year, when DC Comics and its parent company Warner Bros. kick off an ambitious slate of roughly two movies a year featuring the likes of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
Iger thinks that the goodwill Marvel has generated from hits like “The Avengers,” “Iron Man” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” will allow it to continue to thrive in a space that’s getting a lot tighter.
“We’re Marvel,” Iger told journalists at the Allen & Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. “We’ve done a great job of building the Marvel brand, which we think when it’s on a movie really makes a difference. We’re seeing signs of that.”
He also expressed confidence in upcoming Marvel films such as “Ant-Man” and “Doctor Strange.”
“We like the Marvel slate that we have coming up,” said Iger. “We think they’re unique in many ways and have no concerns [about competition] whatsoever.”
Iger was mum about plans for another key entertainment franchise that Disney holds in its intellectual property stockpile — “Star Wars.” He declined to comment about the possibility that Disney’s parks operations would unveil a “Star Wars Land,” similar to its planned “Avatar”-themed resort, beyond saying, “We’re going to increase the presence of ‘Star Wars’ in our parks.”
He was also mum about J.J. Abrams’ upcoming seventh “Star Wars” film, “The Force Awakens,” only offering up that “excitement remains the same” and the film will have a presence at Comic-Con.
Looking ahead, Iger said that he planned to unveil new details about Shanghai Disney, the company’s first park in Mainland China, in the coming weeks.
“We’re building something that’s every bit Disney and distinctly Chinese,” he said. “We’re definitely building Disney Land in China, but we’re obviously respectful of the Chinese culture.”
Disney has fielded a number of box office hits in recent months, including “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and Pixar’s “Inside Out,” the story of the emotional life of a pre-teen girl. Asked which of the warring emotions from “Inside Out” he most embodied, Iger said, “You don’t run these companies without having a little bit of everything, but I’ll tell you these days at Disney we have a lot of Joy.”