Marvel to Wall Street: Great but not marvelous... yet.


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If anyone has had a great summer at the box office, it’s Marvel Entertainment and by extension its production shingle Marvel Studios, the iconic comic-book brand behind ‘Iron Man’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk,’ right?

Not so fast.

After releasing its revised revenue and profit forecasts for 2008, it seems Wall Street is, at best, cautiously optimistic about Marvel’s most recent returns.

Although today Marvel reported a 60% jump in second-quarter profit, due largely to a bump in revenue from licensing of merchandise tied to ‘Iron Man’ and others in Marvel’s large cast of characters, the company’s new 2008 earnings forecast -- a range of $1.55 to $1.75 a share -- was below analysts’ consensus estimate of $1.90.

So how does that translate for us casual comic-book-to-movie fans? According to Tom Petruno and the financial wizards over at Los Angeles Times’ Money & Co., Marvel is warning investors they have to be patient. The company’s expected domestic payoff from the films, including DVD sales, won’t come until 2009.


More on Marvel and Wall Street after the jump....

Earlier this spring, we took a closer look at Marvel Studios, headquartered in Playa Vista, and the talent behind the big screen Marvel brand:

Marvel is on a missionBUILDING a superhero from scratch is noisy and hazardous. ‘Let’s find a place where it’s quieter!’ The man shouting was Kevin Feige, president of production for Marvel Studios, the Hollywood start-up that takes flight on May 2 with its first film, ‘Iron Man.’ Feige was walking, carefully, through one of the film’s massive Playa Vista sets where a whirling metal saw was kicking up a cascade of bright orange sparks. Once in a quieter corridor, Feige gushed about its special effects, but then said the greatest asset of the film is a hero with weakness hard-wired into his psyche. ‘That’s what makes Marvel characters special, they are people who become heroes but also have flaws and they struggle with them,’ he said. ‘Look, the costumes can easily be the stars of these movies if you let them be . . . you have to flesh out the character. They battle bad guys, but they also battle these things within themselves.’ Launching a major movie production company right now seems like a dicey venture. But the Marvel formula has been a spectacular success for other studios the last eight years. The self-doubting Spider-Man, the bickering Fantastic Four, the misunderstood X-Men and all the other Marvel misfits have racked up a stunning $5 billion in worldwide box office, most of that for Sony and Fox. Marvel now wants its own spot at the table. After four years of planning and winning over Wall Street, ‘Iron Man’ is the first step in the company’s quest to go from intellectual-property fount to a stand-alone Hollywood player that can greenlight big-time popcorn movies.Complete story here.

-- Sheigh Crabtree