Avengers Poster Controversy Unveiled?!

A mysterious element of the teaser Avengers poster is uncovered and explained!

As I've said before, I love listening to movie podcasts. Let me throw out just a quick, teeny tiny PLUG! -- The Hollywood Saloon (http://www.hollywoodsaloon.com/), The Midnight Movie Cowboys (http://www.midnightmoviecowboys.com/), and Nowhere in Mulberry (http://nimpodcast.blogspot.com/) -- and there we go, that wasn't so painful was it? My last major report - on the future of Marvel in Disneyland - was picked up by /Film (which I was so happy and pleased with). This time, I got another exclusive from Jim Hill of the Magical Definition Podcast (http://www.magicaldefinition.com/) on something that bugged me during Comic-Con 2011.

You see, when Marvel released the first poster of The Avengers, I was like, "Oh. It's just the A. How... unadventurous." But upon further inspection, I found something that should not be there which was... THE PARAMOUNT LOGO. *cue dramatic music*

"Excuse me? I was under the impression that Disney had paid Paramount Pictures $115 million for the distribution and marketing rights for The Avengers and Iron Man 3. Why should Paramount have any say into the poster?"

Here's what Jim had to say:

"Well, you have to understand that if you remember the terms of this deal that Disney put money on the table - I think the equivalent of [$115] million - to be able to release both The Avengers and Iron Man 3 as Disney films. Now there's probably language somewhere in the deal because - yes the way things work in Hollywood - to the effect of, 'Okay, we did the development, we got this going forward, it's our name on at least the initial posters.' Whether or not Disney can come to terms with Paramount....

I think it's more a case of... Disney will march forward and put its name on the front of this stuff. But right now, it's more a question of making sure these things are in continuity. More to the point, that they hang onto the audience that's already out there, that's excited about the Paramount Iron Man films. Again, when you consider the number of characters that have appeared in previous Marvel Entertainment/Marvel Studios productions that have been released by Paramount.... I know it's a silly reason, but you can still go over to the board at Marvel.com and just read about how so many diehard Marvel fans just hate the idea that Mickey's got his mitts on the Marvel characters.

There's a belief in house at Disney - in fact, that's one of the reasons why they're moving as slowly as they are with these characters - they still kind of have to win over the affections of the Marvel fans and 'The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes' series on Disney XD helps some. Likewise, the conversations about maybe 'The Hulk' series that's gonna pop up on ABC... there's something that came out of the TV Critics meetings this past week. That, for example, a Marvel superhero of some sort - they haven't revealed who just yet - is gonna turn up on an episode of 'Castle' on ABC this fall. So, the cross-pollenization is going on. The problem is that Disney recognizes that it's gonna take longer to win over the affections of the Marvel fans than perhaps they wanted. They're willing to spend the time and the money.

Again, I would suggest that it's either language that was pre-existing in the contract, a belief at Disney that you're gonna preserve continuity between these projects - remember, you think about how many of these Marvel Studios productions have ended with little scenes; the great sene at the end of The Incredible Hulk where it's William Hurt's General sitting [and Tony Stark walks in]. Likewise, the little scene that's at the end of Iron Man 2, where they find Thor's hammer. They've been working very hard... They want this to work.

But, you only get one chance to make a first impression. With the Marvel properties, the money has begun to funnel in but the big, big payoff has yet to show up and they're hoping that's happening with Avengers. If it means that the posters have to go out with the Paramount logo, I would bet that it'll be interesting to see what the opening credits of this thing are between the Marvel Studios logo, between the Paramount logo, between the Disney logo. But let's be honest here, how many times have you been to a film where there were how many different opening logos go by before the title sequences actually gets under way? That's just the age we live in. Hell, even at Disney - Pirates of the Caribbean, you sit through your Jerry Bruckheimer logo, then you sit through the [Disney] castle. That's just the nature of the beast. Now, again, I don't think it's a misprint, I don't think it's a conspiracy. Probably just the way the contract is written. It'll be interesting to see when there's an Iron Man 4 or there's an Avengers 2, what that goes out on. Whether or not, even at that point, because Paramount originated these projects, they'll still be able to put their mark on it."

Once again, I'd like to thank my podcasting friend Jim Hill for solving this Marvel-ous mystery. Excelsior!

Zack Parks
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