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Marvel Almost Sold Rights To Captain America & Thor

Matt McGloin Posted: 05/06/2016 - 22:44 COMMENT

It's learned back in the Marvel bankruptcy days, that the licenses for Captain America and Thor were almost sold off to other studios.

THR has an article taking a look inside Marvel from the perspective of former Marvel president and chief operating officer David Maisel, who, like a lot of people, you probably haven't heard of. Maisel is behind the upcoming Angry Birds movie.

Among some of the highlights:

Maisel was in part responsible for selling Marvel to Disney at a value of $4 billion.

It's said Maisel was responsible for the Marvel-method of movies, which he borrowed the idea from George Lucas and Star Wars.

Maisel put the stop on selling Captain America to Warner Bros. and Thor to Sony, noting: "If I had gotten there three months, six months later, those deals would have been done," he says. "And there would be no chance to bring all these characters together."

Maisel was behind releasing the direct to DVD Avengers and Iron Man movies as a way of showing people there was a value to the products:  "It allowed me to say to people: 'Look at the value of our IP. Here's someone paying all the money, and we have creative control and get half the profits,' " says Maisel.

Ike Perlmutter (who Kevin Feige recently had booted from being involved with the movies) gave Maisel the go ahead for Iron Man as long as Marvel didn't have to put up a dime.

Maisel is said to have had tensions with Spider-Man producer and former Marvel Studios CEO Avi Arad (Feige also booted Arad from any involvement in the new Tom Holland Spider-Man movies). Arad is said to have left Marvel and sold his stock for around $20 a share (Disney ended up purchasing Marvel for $51 a share).

Regarding the 2008 Iron Man movie, the board of Marvel is said to have been just happy enough to break even on the movie, but more excited for toy sales: "Don't worry. We'll be very happy if this breaks even and we can sell more toys." Iron Man went on to gross $585 million worldwide.

Maisel made a deal with Universal Studios where Marvel would get the rights to the Hulk back, but Universal would be able to distribute any Hulk solo movie (which is why there is no new Hulk movie since). Universal would have no rights and receive nothing if Hulk appeared in other films (i.e. The Avengers happened).

February of 2009 saw Maisel meet with Disney's Bob Iger. Maisel set up a meeting between Iger and Ike Perlmutter. Six month later Marvel was sold to Disney for $4 billion, ten times what Marvel was worth when Maisel started at Marvel.