Marvel Entertainment is an entertainment company founded in June 1998 and based in New York City, formed by the merger of Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc. and ToyBiz. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, and is mainly known for its comic books by Marvel Comics, as well as its forays into movies with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment for US$4 billion; it has been a limited liability company (LLC) since then. For financial reporting purposes, Marvel is primarily reported as part of Disney’s Consumer Products segment ever since Marvel Studios’ reorganization from Marvel Entertainment into Walt Disney Studios.
Over the years, Marvel Entertainment has entered into several partnerships and negotiations with other companies across a variety of businesses. As of 2019, Marvel has film licensing agreements with Sony Pictures (for Spider-Man films) and Universal Pictures, and theme park licensing agreements with IMG Worlds of Adventure and Universal Parks & Resorts (for specific Marvel character rights at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Japan). Aside from their contract with Universal Parks & Resorts, Marvel’s characters and properties have also appeared at Disney Parks.
In the late 1970s through the 1990s, Marvel Entertainment Group (MEG) sold options to studios to produce films based on Marvel Comics characters. MEG was purchased by New World Entertainment in November 1986 and moved to produce films based on the Marvel characters.
Avi Arad of ToyBiz, who had a deal with Marvel Entertainment Group, was named President and CEO of Marvel Films division and of New World Family Filmworks, Inc., a New World Entertainment subsidiary. Marvel Productions became New World Animation by 1993 as Marvel would start up Marvel Films including Marvel Films Animation. Marvel Films Animation shared Tom Tataranowicz with New World Animation as head of development and production. New World Animation (The Incredible Hulk), Saban (X-Men) and Marvel Films Animation (Spider-Man) each produced a Marvel series for television for the 1996–1997 season, and by the end of 1993, Arad and 20th Century Fox struck a deal to make a film based on the X-Men.
New World Animation and Marvel Films Animation were sold along with the rest of New World by Andrews Group to News Corporation/Fox as announced in August 1996. As part of the deal, Marvel licensed the rights to Captain America, Daredevil and Silver Surfer to be on Fox Kids Network and produced by Saban. New World Animation continued producing a second season of The Incredible Hulk for UPN.
In August 1996, Marvel created Marvel Studios, an incorporation of Marvel Films, due to the sale of New World Communications Group, Inc., Marvel’s fellow Andrews Group subsidiary in film and television stations, to News Corporation/Fox. Filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise money to finance the new corporation, Marvel, Isaac Perlmutter’s Zib, Inc. and Avi Arad sold Toy Biz stocks, which Marvel had started and took public in February 1995.