Please read the following case and submit your analysis. Students are required to write at least 450 words per case (not 450 words per question of each case). This does not include assigned questions. At the top of the first page, include the word count. I require minimum word counts to give students an idea of how much work is expected. Otherwise, students may do much less than they need to do in order to develop their critical and analytical thinking skills.


Opening Case: Global Branding of Marvel’s Movies

QUESTION 1: Comment on Marvel Studios’ success at global branding. In your opinion, is its success related to the superhero theme of its movies, or could it have had the same level of success with other story lines?

QUESTION 2: Reflect on the role of Marvel Studios parent company, the Walt Disney Company, as a factor in the success of Marvel Studios. Do you think Marvel Studios would have had the same level of success without Disney?

GLOBAL BRANDING OF MARVEL’ S MOVIES

In a global brand move, the post-credits to the original Iron Man movie had SHIELD director Nick Fury visit Tony Stark’s home. Fury told Stark that Iron Man is not “the only superhero in the world” and that he wanted to discuss the “Avenger’s Initiative.”

The Avengers and Iron Man movie franchises have made billions of dollars for Marvel Studios, a television and motion picture studio that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. They have also contributed heavily to making Robert Downey, Jr., one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. Downey was born in 1965 in the United States. He made his movie debut at the age of five when he appeared in his father’s movie titled Pound. The “up-and-down-and-up” career of Downey is also a fascinating global brand story. He is riding high with three incredible multisequel franchises—Iron Man, The Avengers, and Sherlock Holmes. But the focus here is on The Avengers and Iron Man.

Iron Man premiered April 30, 2008, in international markets and a few days later in the United States. Amazingly, the movie had been in development since 1990 at Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and New Line Cinema. Marvel Studios reacquired the rights to the movie in 2006. The basic plot has playboy, philanthropist, and genius Tony Stark (played by Downey) as the “superhero.” Iron Man is a fictional character that first appeared in the Marvel Comics Tales of Suspense in 1963. The character itself was created by Stan Lee. Iron Man 2 was released in 2010, and Iron Man 3 was released in 2013, with plans for additional sequels after more Avengers movies.

The Avengers premiered on April 11, 2012, at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. The film was developed beginning in 2005, is based on the Marvel Comics superhero team with the same name, and was written and directed by Joss Whedon. The Avengers is a superhero team with familiar heroes such as Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and so on. No one really plays the superhero, although Scarlett Johansson’s role as Black Widow was important to the movie franchise; it set the release date back from 2011 to 2012 to accommodate her inclusion. The second installment of the Avengers franchise came out on May 1, 2015, in the United States (The Avengers: Age of Ultron).

While the movie character Iron Man is heavily connected to Downey, he also plays an integral part of Tony Stark in The Avengers. In doing so, the actor has been part of Marvel Studios productions that have brought in more than $1.5 billion (The Avengers) and $1.2 billion (Iron Man 3). Iron Man 1 and Iron Man 2, respectively, made more than $600 million each as well. In total, Downey has starred in six films that have made more than $500 million each at the box office worldwide.

Clearly, the connection between Tony Stark as Iron Man in the Iron Man franchise and in the Avengers franchise is perhaps not needed for the movie plot in The Avengers or its sequel. Marvel Comics has drawn from more than 100 characters for its Avengers superheroes since 1963, but Iron Man was one of the original ones (along with Ant-Man, the Wasp, Thor, and the Hulk). The global branding success of Tony Stark as played by Downey across these two brands is also very advantageous for Marvel Studios’ global branding.

Marvel Studios was originally known as Marvel Films from 1963 to 1996. Given that Marvel Studios is part of the Walt Disney empire, it operates jointly with Walt Disney Studios on distribution and marketing of Iron Man and Avengers movies. Other high-profile projects of Marvel Studios have included the X-Men, Spider-Man, and Captain America franchises, with more to come. Anything embedded in the global branding of the Walt Disney Company has tremendous potential, reach, and longevity.

Walter Elias “Walt” Disney was an American business mogul as well as animator, cartoonist, director, philanthropist, producer, screenwriter, and voice actor who lived from 1901 to 1966. An international icon, he started Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio with his brother, Roy O. Disney, in 1923. The current name of the Walt Disney Company has been around since 1986. Disney has one of the largest and most well-known studios in the world. It also operates numerous related businesses, such as the ABC broadcast TV network, cable TV networks (e.g., Disney Channel, ESPN), publishing, merchandising, theater divisions, theme parks (e.g., Disney World, Disneyland), and much more. Mickey Mouse is the primary symbol of the Walt Disney Company and one of the most globally recognized brands ever!

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Submission Rules:

These case assignments are to be completed individually. Please use your own words when completing the assignments. There is no required format, but you must write in organized paragraphs with complete sentences. Do not use bullet points. Do not use direct quotes. Do not use references.

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