If you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then you know that the movies are part of a larger franchise that includes comic books, television shows, and merchandise. But who exactly owns the rights to these films? It’s a question that has been on the minds of fans for years.
Marvel Studios is the production company responsible for the majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Founded in 1993 as Marvel Films, it was later renamed to Marvel Studios in 2005 after being acquired by Disney. As of 2021, Marvel Studios has produced over 20 films in the MCU.
The Walt Disney Company
In 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced its plans to acquire Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. The acquisition was completed in 2010, making Disney the owner of all of Marvel’s intellectual property including characters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor.
While Disney owns the rights to all of Marvel’s intellectual property, there are some characters that have separate agreements with other studios. For example, Spider-Man is currently owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment and appears in their own separate movie universe. However, Sony has collaborated with Disney to bring Spider-Man into the MCU through co-production agreements.
Another example is The Incredible Hulk. Universal Pictures still holds distribution rights for any solo Hulk films but can allow Marvel Studios to use Hulk as a character in team-up movies like The Avengers or Thor: Ragnarok.
Overall, while there are some exceptions with certain characters and distribution rights for older movies such as Spider-Man or The Incredible Hulk; but for all practical purposes – it’s safe to say that The Walt Disney Company now owns all of the rights to everything under the ‘Marvel’ banner including film and television. Marvel Studios, a subsidiary of Disney, is responsible for the production of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and as long as Disney owns Marvel, they will continue to hold the rights to these films.