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Thread: Why does Disney completely ignore classic Marvel TV properties?

  1. #1
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    Why does Disney completely ignore classic Marvel TV properties?

    I have never understood why Disney/Marvel refuse to release ANY of their classic live action and animated series.

    That's one thing I have to give DC and Warner Bros. credit for. They've released every single version of Super Friends, '66 Batman, '77 Wonder Woman, the Filmation cartoons...ALL of it. They don't ignore their own history and realize there are still plenty of fans that fondly remember those shows.

    I can't believe there have been SIX Spider-Man films, yet the Nicholas Hammond series, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and even the complete 90's series STILL have yet to see an official U.S. release. That's just insane.

    Then there's The '82 Incredible Hulk cartoon, The '67 and '78 Fantastic Four cartoons, the '78 Spider-Woman cartoon...all largely forgotten.

    The lack of merchandising for these shows is just as baffling. We've seen a slew of '66 Batman and Lynda Carter Wonder Woman merchandise...Mattel even released a figure of John Wesley Shipp from the 1990 Flash TV series.
    Where is the Marvel stuff? Can you imagine a series of '67 Spider-Man animated retro figures? A Reb Brown Captain America stunt cycle? A massive Lou Ferrigno Hulk statue?

    They are literally leaving money on the table...and more than that, they're disrespecting Marvel's history.

  2. #2
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    It's mostly....partly....because of how Stan splintered the rights over the decades.

    The MSH/Friendly Spidey stuff should now be all in-house at Disney. My guess, is if it doesn't pop up on the Disney streaming service, then legal is claiming they don't have clear rights for domestic distribution. Because even if Disney didn't want to gamble on a stateside DVD release, I'm sure smaller companies have approached for them.

    Universal owns Boxby/Ferrigno Hulk. Outright. They're not doing anything with it because it doesn't benefit them and only helps Marvel.

    Spider-Man TV rights are a mess. Stan sold them to CBS and Goodman productions. It's a lot like Batman '66. Cap and Strange are at CBS...now that I think about it, this must have something to do with the CBS/Columbia fissure.

    Anything produce at HB will only see light of day is Disney buys it outright. So, FF '67, '78, Thing Ring. WB wanted to release this stuff in '05 with the movie, and Marvel/Fox killed it. After that, WB vaulted it.

    Here's a nice Wiki quote about DePatie–Freleng Enterprises. They started with Spider-Woman, sold themselves to Marvel which begat the 80's toons, which then became 90's Marvel...

    Inflation, the increasing costs of producing theatrical cartoons, and the pressures of producing TV series caused the quality of DFE's output to drop in the mid-to-late 1970s. In 1981, Freleng and DePatie sold DFE Films to Marvel Comics, and Freleng returned to Warner Bros. Animation, which Warner Bros. had re-opened the previous year, to produce a series of feature films featuring vintage Warner cartoons with new connecting footage. DePatie made the transition to become the head of Marvel Productions, as DFE was renamed.

    Although Marvel produced mainly superhero cartoons and animated series based on licensed toy lines (including Hasbro properties), it continued to produce new productions starring the Pink Panther (a special for television Pink at First Sight and motion picture titles for Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Animation would later make a 1993 revival show of the Pink Panther as a joint venture between MGM, Mirisch-Geoffrey-DePatie-Freleng and United Artists, a decade after DFE's merger with Marvel and Mirisch/UA's merger into MGM.

    In the 1990s, Marvel sold its animation catalog to Saban Entertainment. In 2001, Saban, Fox Family and Fox Kids were sold to The Walt Disney Company, with the Dr. Seuss material and all other licensed properties belonging to their respective owners. Disney also bought Marvel Comics in 2009, bringing DFE's libraries of all-original and Marvel Comics-based cartoons full circle under one roof; all of these properties are now distributed by Disney–ABC Domestic Television. (At the present time, however, the copyrights for both The Houndcats and The Barkleys appear not to have been renewed, and are therefore in the public domain.)

    While the television catalog has often changed hands over the years, the theatrical cartoons continue to be owned by their original distributors: United Artists (via its current corporate parent, MGM) for The Mirisch Company cartoon library and Warner Bros. for the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons.

    The Hasbro cartoons belong to Hasbro, and the Dr. Seuss cartoons belong to Warner Bros.
    So Royalties are owed to DePatie–Freleng, just as they would be owed to all the 70's live-action. And there's a reason the 60's MSH credits are always chopped off. The return of DVD isn't what it used to be, and streaming payouts are messy.

    Blame Perfect Film and Chemical. Marvel still hasn't recovered from when they bought them from Goodman. Stan has said his biggest regret was not stopping that, and he's right.

  3. #3
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    ^There's all of that, and then there's the fact that Disney doesn't do much with YEARS of their own material. They make so much money on stuff they are already actively marketing, that, unlike other companies with IPs, they don't have to go into their "vaults" and release much. Oh, a few things filter out in the Disney Movie Club here and there, but there is a metric ton of Disney-created film and TV material that is just unavailable and has been for decades, ever since the Disney Channel abandoned anything made before 2000, if it wasn't an "animated classic".

    Look at Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow/The Scarecrow of Romeny Marsh. They released a VERY limited DVD set over 10 years ago, and have never bothered to re-releases it, despite it selling for $400 on ebay. The demand is there...but they don't need the money from THAT. It doesn't feed into their other avenues of revenue, like the parks, toys, etc.

    Heck, even the Disney shorts, with Mickey, Donald, etc., which the company was founded on, aren't easy to come by. They aren't available in continually-in-print box sets or on any streaming service.

    I can only hope that when Disney FINALLY launches their streaming service, some of this old material (maybe even some of the Marvel toons) will be on there.

    Chris
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earth 2 Chris View Post
    Heck, even the Disney shorts, with Mickey, Donald, etc., which the company was founded on, aren't easy to come by. They aren't available in continually-in-print box sets or on any streaming service.
    Chris
    I know, right? Isn't that insane?

    Disney knows how to make money. I think they could buy back rights and release all of these things if they thought there was a huge market for them, but I don't think there is, sadly. And there always seems to be a focus on new properties, not old. I wonder if they think old stuff could potentially cause brand confusion for 'average' consumers, or even hurt the brand if someone buys something, thinking it will be a modern style product, and then finds it "lame".
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