Marvel Studios: Then and Now; also, What’s Up with the Thor Movie?

You would be forgiven for thinking that Marvel Comics is rolling in the dough, with their creations dominating the box office with goliaths like “The X-Men”, “Fantastic Four”, and “Spider-Man” films. You would be forgiven for thinking this, but you would be very wrong. Forbes has an excellent article about how Marvel Comics is barely getting by on its highly successful characters, taking in measly percentages of the pie when movie studios Fox and Sony are cleaning up.

The article throws out some stunning numbers, much of it about just how little Marvel Studios makes in comparison to their studio counterparts. And they should be embarrassed, because the numbers are just ridiculous. For instance: While Sony cleared over $3 billion from ticket sales, DVDs, and TV for the last two “Spider-Man” movies (including the $151.1 “Spider-Man 3” has taken in so far in its first weekend), Marvel has made a combined $62 million from the franchise. And when the “Fantastic Four” movie surprised everyone by gobbling up $624 million, Marvel’s take was a measly $13 million. It doesn’t get any better. While Fox Studios has taken in over $2 billion and change for the three “X-Men” films, Marvel hobbled off with $26 million. What is going on here?

In the article, Forbes details the life and times of a troubled studio that, for all intents and purpose, got bamboozled over the years through a combination of bad luck, bad timing, and just plain bad management. It’s a fantastic read for anyone who has always wondered how Marvel ended up with crappy movies like the Punisher and Captain America in the ’80s, and the Fantastic Four of the early ’90s, while DC was dominating with the Batman and Superman franchises. Click here to read the article now.

But nevermind all that business dealing and backend stuff. This isn’t the Wall Street Journal or Entertainment Weekly. We just care about the cool stuff here, namely what’s going on with the Marvel Comics characters trying to make their way to the big screen.

Which brings us to “Thor”, the only upcoming Marvel Comics character the article talks about besides “Iron Man” and the upcoming “Incredible Hulk” sequel/prequel/whatever.

The script for the live-action “Thor” movie is currently being written by Mark Protosevich (“I am Legend”, “The Cell”), who says about his version of the Norse God: “We’re not talking about a New Agey interpretation of gods here. We are talking about vengeful gods, interfering gods.”

Sounds…vengeful. has “Thor” listed as a possible 2009 movie, with no creative names attached.

Of course, if the upcoming “Iron Man” and “Incredible Hulk” movies tank, then the chances of “Thor” coming to the big screen would seem in doubt.