Secret Toy Wars

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There is an unnoticed casualty of the studio wars, toy collectors. It seems Marvel found a way to play nice with Sony, as seen with the Spider-Man “cease fire”, but not with Fox. This happened because Sony wants desperately to keep the rights to Spider-Man and realize they can’t put out a decent movie to keep those rights without help. Fox thinks they don’t have that problem after their “quasi” reboot with X-Men Days of Futures Past.

So a brief history lesson that put us in this mess in the first place. In the mid 90s Marvel wasn’t doing so hot and in order to pump in some capital they started selling away character rights to various studios. Most of those rights have quietly been reverting back to Marvel with studios losing interest or financing to pursue other films to hold up their end of the deal. Later, Sony renegotiated with more favorable terms for Marvel. With Fox on the other hand, it sounds like Marvel Studios wished they could do a Days of Future Past of their own on that deal.

We all know the rumors. The bickering got so bad that Marvel quietly cancels the Fantastic Four comic right before the movie releases. “We can’t be passively promoting movies for studios we have beef with can we?” says Marvel. Not unless there is something in it for them, financially. Did you notice there were no Days of Future Past toys? Just like there will be no Fantastic Four movie related toys releasing this summer either.

When Sony was renegotiating the rights with Marvel, Spider-Man Merchandising, LP was created. This is a limited partnership comprised of Marvel Entertainment, Inc. and Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc., that oversees the licensing and merchandising activities for Columbia Pictures’ Spider-Man feature films and animated series all based on the Marvel character. That’s why we see Spidey on TV and on toy shelves. Marvel and Spider-Man Merchandising have an exclusive deal with Hasbro to produce toys for the global market (minus Japan) through 2017. It is not spoken by Marvel but the between-the-lines story is Marvel Licensing has put a kibosh on toys from Fox movies for whatever reason.

Could you imagine An Age of Apocalypse or Deadpool Marvel Legends line? Yeah, not gonna happen unless they bury the hatchet soon.

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