A few details were released yesterday on Marvel's settlement with Sony (see 'Marvel and Sony Lawsuits Finally Settled'), and it appears that Marvel has taken over both the operations and most of the revenues from the Marvel-Sony joint venture that licenses the Sony movie properties based on Marvel characters.
The joint statement said, 'Marvel will undertake additional responsibilities with respect to Spider-Man Merchandising L.P,' and that Marvel would begin consolidating the joint venture's financials with its own. The statement said that the consolidation of financials would increase Marvel's licensing revenues and operating expenses, beginning in the current quarter.
Normally, a consolidation of financials would imply that Marvel was getting the bulk of the profits from the JV, but there was no indication that Marvel's profitability would be affected by the new deal; Marvel maintained its guidance for the year.
Marvel's hardball tactics have now given it greater control over the licensing of movie merchandise related to its Spider-man franchise, as well as Luke Cage and Ghost Rider, also in the pipe from Sony. It moves Marvel's Hollywood business model a step further away from the more typical structure, in which the movie company controls all of the licensing of the movie property as part of its license of the source material.
It also puts all control over the licensing of Spider-Man, whether based on the movie or comic property, in one place, which should mean a better coordination of the multiple licensing streams for the benefit of the character.