“Is this another Pixar?”: Steve Jobs Single Handedly Convinced Marvel to Make a Deal with Disney Despite Having Never Read a Comic Book

Steve Jobs, who had reportedly never touched a comic book in his life, proved instrumental in securing a historic deal between Marvel and Disney.

Steve Jobs Single Handedly Convinced Marvel to Make a Deal with Disney Despite Having Never Read a Comic Book

SUMMARY

  • Marvel Entertainment was purchased by The Walt Disney Company in 2009 for $4 billion.
  • The deal was only made possible due to the assistance of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
  • This acquisition changed Marvel and Disney forever, bringing unprecedented success for both parties.
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Unbelievable as it may seem, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs—who had never even touched a comic book—played a significant part in Disney’s historic 2009 acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. Several elements are often examined while tracking the origin, growth, and contemporary domination of superhero franchises in Hollywood. Various unexpected names frequently emerge as key players in bringing forth deals to fruition that change the industry forever.

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Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs
Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs (Credit: Apple via YouTube)

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For Marvel Studios’ future, one of these ‘key players’ would be Steve Jobs. Jobs’ assistance in convincing Marvel Entertainment’s then-CEO Ike Perlmutter of the benefits of Bob Iger’s proposed acquisition ultimately proved lucrative for both parties. The details chronicling the transaction and how it came to be has been best illustrated in the book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios.

Steve Jobs Helped Facilitate Disney’s Acquisition Of Marvel Entertainment

The acquisition changed Marvel forever!
The acquisition changed Marvel forever!

The 2008 Iron Man film was Marvel Studios’ first in-house production. Its commercial triumphs showcased the strength of developing a to-be franchise. But for Marvel alone, it was challenging to procure financing. They were compelled to meet the criterion of raising a third of their budget by selling off international distribution rights to produce such grandiose spectacles. According to the New York Times, the company planned to self-finance that third.

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The process would be seamless with Disney’s power and capital support.

Disney’s prioritization for “growth” would underscore the deal. But at first, Marvel Entertainment’s then-CEO Isaac Perlmutter showed hesitance about okaying the sale. As per Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Gavin Edwards-penned MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, Iger tried coaxing Perlmutter to change his mind. However, the latter’s resistance to the acquisition was yet to dissipate.

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Although several attempts on Iger’s part (including a fancy dinner invitation) dealt cracks on Perlmutter’s resolute disposition, it was Steve Jobs whose finishing move would single-handedly seal the deal.

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Steve Jobs Vouched For Disney CEO Bob Iger

Disney CEO Bob Iger
Disney CEO Bob Iger. (Credit: Jimmy Kimmel Live)

Jobs acquired Lucasfilm, Ltd.’s computer graphics division in 1986. He later renamed it Pixar Animation Studios. Until Disney bought Pixar in 2006, Jobs was the company’s majority shareholder (50.1%). The former CEO of Apple soon became the largest individual shareholder (7%) at Disney. He also joined the company’s board of directors.

This step allowed Steve Jobs to put the bitter Disney-Pixar relationship under former CEO Michael Eisner’s leadership behind him. With Bob Iger, he could turn over a new leaf.

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When it came time for Jobs to vouch for Iger during Disney’s acquisition of Marvel, the former was ready. In a Vanity Fair excerpt from The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Iger’s book, the media business executive revealed how his conversation with the late inventor went:

“We were interested in acquiring Marvel, so I met with Steve and walked him through the business. He claimed to have never read a comic book in his life. […] So I brought an encyclopedia of Marvel characters […] to show him what we would be buying. He spent about 10 seconds looking at it […] and said, ‘Is this one important to you? Do you really want it? Is it another Pixar?'”

Bob Iger reaffirmed the significance of the acquisition, and Steve Jobs was more than happy to vouch for his good friend. The latter contacted Marvel Entertainment’s then-CEO, Ike Perlmutter, and persuaded him to approve the deal by emphasizing the Pixar acquisition’s advantages.

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Jobs triumphed in finally convincing Perlmutter—a move that would soon change everything.

How Disney’s Acquisition Of Marvel Proved A Game-changer

Marvel
Marvel

Disney paid $4 billion to acquire the studio. On December 31, 2009, the merger was approved. The deal proved beneficial for both parties. Perlmutter secured $800 million in cash and $590 million in Disney stock. Following the takeover, he continued to serve as Marvel Entertainment’s CEO. He was sacked and laid off from his position only this year.

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Following the sale, MCU would grow to become an industry cash cow, with projects earning millions upon millions of dollars. Marvel Studios has accumulated $29.6 billion in box office revenue worldwide, making it a formidable force in Hollywood with 33 films and counting. Bringing a multiverse of profitable intellectual property under them has allowed Disney to turn Marvel into a merchandising powerhouse.

Marvel Studios' timeline guidebook confirms Earth-616 designation for MCU
Marvel Studios has become an industry powerhouse.

Read more: Overhyped Superhero Actors Who Were One-Hit Wonders!

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The acquisition has also broadened Disney’s target demographic’s age range. Marvel is undoubtedly an essential component in the success of Disney’s expansive media portfolio. According to Wealthy Education, since acquiring Marvel in 2009, the Walt Disney Company’s stock has reportedly increased by more than 500%.

In summary, Steve Jobs’ persuasion abilities led to a chain reaction that has revolutionized the contemporary film business and superhero franchises.

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Though Marvel Studios currently faces obstacles, given that its most recent projects have not been able to hold the interest of viewers and the box office, it remains to be seen if the Disney subsidiary can get back on its feet.

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Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 500 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.