How much did Disney pay for Marvel?

Image via Disney+

The Marvel Cinematic Universe remains the highest-grossing film franchise of all time. With ever-popular titles ranging from Avengers: Endgame to Black Panther, Marvel’s success shows no signs of slowing. But in 2009 things did not look so rosy for the MCU. Despite the release of the first Iron Man movie in 2008, the company was having serious trouble financing projects. Then Disney stepped in, buying the franchise for $4 billion.

$4 billion might sound like a hefty price tag, but for Disney, the investment has certainly paid off. Last year, Forbes estimated the MCU was worth $53 billion, meaning Disney had a return on their investment of roughly 1375% – a decent profit by anyone’s standards. But it very nearly wasn’t the case. Former Disney CEO Bob Iger wrote that some execs were originally worried that buying the MCU would damage the company’s family-friendly reputation. Thankfully, Iger managed to convince everyone that the move was a sound one.

Disney continued acquiring superhero franchises left right and center. In March 2019 the company purchased 21st Century Fox for a staggering $71.3 billion, allowing them to take ownership of X-Men and the Fantastic Four. In September of the same year, Disney struck a deal to share the rights to Spider-Man with Sony.

The company also owns Lucasfilm, ABC, ESPN, and Pixar, among many others, so Disney certainly has the money to keep the MCU going strong for years to come.

Despite successes, DC still lags far behind the MCU in terms of profit. Perhaps Disney will buy them out soon, and their superhero monopoly will be complete.