Yet at Florida's theme parks, even the $4 billion deal won't allow Walt Disney World to snatch some of the best-known Marvel superstars -- including Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk -- from rival Universal Orlando.
``Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal's Islands of Adventure and the Marvel characters are a beloved and important part of the Universal Orlando experience. They will remain so,'' said Tom Schroder, a Universal spokesman.
Universal's contracts gives it exclusive U.S. rights east of the Mississippi River for theme-park attractions built around those characters, notably Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, X-Men and Dr. Doom. Islands of Adventure has an entire theme-park area, Marvel Super Hero Island, dedicated to Marvel characters.
The agreements governing two of Universal's hugely popular rides, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk roller coaster, appear to be virtually perpetual deals.
``Marvel characters have already proven to be strong in terms of theme park attraction, and we believe there are a lot of opportunities around the world, not in every one of our parks because there are some existing agreements that we obviously have to honor,'' Disney Co. President Bob Iger said.