Having already pumped up its box-office market share thanks to its relationship with Marvel Studios, Paramount was guaranteed at least another $115 million Monday when it closed a deal with Disney to transfer worldwide marketing and distribution rights to Marvel’s “The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3” to the Burbank studio.
Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4.24 billion last year, but Marvel’s current cycle of movies had been contracted for release through Paramount via a distribution deal in place when Disney entered the picture.
The Marvel distribution deal was one of Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey’s first major moves after taking over the Melrose Avenue studio in 2005, and Marvel’s comic book-derived tentpoles “Iron Man” and its sequel strategically filled the studio’s pipeline while the new regime readied its own franchises.
Now that Paramount has “Star Trek,” “Transformers” and new takes on “Mission: Impossible” and the Jack Ryan character in the works, it no longer needs the Marvel properties.
“Five years ago, when Paramount and Marvel made our initial deal, both our businesses were in very different places,” Grey said. “Today, this new agreement is the right deal for Paramount, for Marvel and for Disney. We look forward to working together on ‘Thor’ and ‘Captain America,’ and we wish Disney and Marvel the utmost success in what we know will be a very productive and wide-ranging partnership.”