Disney sees ‘Avengers’ as next ‘Cars’ or ‘Toy Story’

After its $1.5-billion take at the global box office, Walt Disney Co. is hoping to make its super-hero property “Avengers” its next major multi-media franchise alongside “Cars,” 'Toy Story’ and its princesses.

The Burbank media giant’s chief financial officer Jay Rasulo made the declaration Thursday at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference for its analysts and clients.

An “Avengers” merchandise push will start this holiday season and continue next summer, Rasulo said, noting it would outshadow any merchandise initiatives tied to other Marvel brands, including “Thor” and “Captain America.”

“We’re really going to put the weight and the breadth of the Walt Disney Company behind something like ‘Avengers,’ which had enough depth of content, enough characters, enough continuity in a story that could continue into future films, that this is where we wanted to make our big investment of time, organization and money,” he explained.


Rasulo also noted that Disney’s social games unit Playdom made an “Avengers” social video game and that an animated series is in the works for the Disney XD cable channel. In addition, a live action series about the super-spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. from the “Avengers” movie is in development at Disney’s ABC network.

“This is the ‘Disney machine,’ as some of our colleagues call it, that allows us to invest the money to create IP and then get the returns out of it,” Rasulo said. “And I would say the ‘Avengers’ is just another great example along with Princesses, ‘Cars,’ ‘Toy Story.’ It’s just a next one in that line that our company will broadly use across all of our businesses.”


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