Who Owns Marvel?

Iron Man

Marvel‘s characters have been leading the charge in Superhero cinema since the X-Men launched in 2000. Despite the rights to many of their characters being shared between different studios, Marvel Studios has been able to forge one of the most extensive and beloved universes in cinema.

Previous to this, the company was struggling. Comic book sales began to dwindle in the mid-’90s, and Marvel was forced to auction off the rights to many of its characters. While many of the first buyers of these characters either never released a film, or had limited success in doing so, Marvel itself only earned a small portion of its overall earnings—even when Spider-Man become a box office hit.

Its solution was to begin producing films based around characters whose rights they hadn’t sold, planning to build a universe of its own—the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel’s first entry into their MCU was in 2008 with Iron Man and since then we’ve seen plenty of its characters bought to the big screen. With other studios still using its characters, it may be confusing to fans as to who actually owns Marvel.

Who owns Marvel?

In 2009, Walt Disney Pictures made a historic acquisition of Marvel Studios for over $4 billion. This move allowed the studio to continue constructing its universe and assisted them financially in making the films the best they could possibly be.

Disney’s purchase also has allowed Marvel to get back the rights to some of its characters who were previously licensed out to other studios. Most notably, Disney acquired 20th Century Fox in 2019 for a reported amount of $71.3 billion. This deal included the rights to the X-Men, Fantastic 4, and Deadpool characters, among others.

Bringing many of Marvel’s characters back together onscreen has seemingly been a priority for Disney who was also able to negotiate a deal into using everyone’s favorite web-slinging hero, Spider-Man, within the MCU films.

Despite his inclusion in the MCU, part of the Spider-Man deal with Sony is that the character will still be a part of the Sony Universe of Marvel Characters, which the studio has begun with Venom and plans to grow in its upcoming films.

Ultimately, Disney’s decision to purchase Marvel would appear to have been a huge success not only for the two companies but also for comic book fans who’ve had the chance to see their favorite characters come to life on the big screen.