The Walt Disney Studios has announced that it has entered into an exclusive multi-year "first look" deal with Stan Lee and his production company POW! Entertainment. The creator of Spider-Man and many other popular comic book superheroes will develop and produce all forms of entertainment. Under the terms of the agreement, Disney gets the first shot at films, TV shows, books and video games.
"As the father of such renowned comic book heroes as Spider-Man, The Hulk, X-Men among others, Stan is considered one of the most creative and inventive forces in the industry today. His innate talent of tapping into the human qualities of his super hero characters has certainly struck a chord with generations of audiences and readers around the world," said Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. "We are honored to be working with someone as formidable as Stan and his production company and welcome them to the Disney family."
Lee seemed to be equally excited about the deal, given the pedigree and recognition the Disney name comes with. "It's like the realization of a dream. Ever since I was a young boy, Disney represented the best and most exciting film fare to me. And now, many decades later, with movies such as their incredible Pirates of the Caribbean spectaculars, Disney is still at the forefront of family entertainment, excelling in live action, animation, TV, theme parks—whatever it takes to bring fun and fantasy to audiences everywhere. I look forward with indescribable enthusiasm to being a part of that world and contributing whatever I can to keep the legend alive and growing," said Lee.
According to Cook, as reported by the AP, the deal was designed to create characters and projects that can become franchises for Disney. And after all these years, if you think the 84-year-old Lee will have difficulty coming up with new ideas and characters, think again.
"I've got millions of them," Lee told the AP. "I have file cabinets filled with ideas for movies and television shows and all sorts of things, and I've been waiting to be associated with someone like Disney so I can start tearing into these things."
Of course, there are certain characters that Lee developed at Pow! Entertainment, such as the superhero stripper "Stripperella," featuring the voice of Pamela Anderson as "Erotica Jones" that won't be appropriate for the Disney audience. That said, Lee isn't concerned at all about the "family image" of Disney tarnishing his reputation or his work. "There is such a big difference between action and violence," Lee said. "I have never been a fan of violence, but I love action and so does Disney."
Bob Chapek, president, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, was apparently "instrumental" in bringing this deal to Disney. He will work closely with Lee on many of his projects.
"Stan is not only loved by fans of the genre, but is one of the most respected and admired figures in the entertainment industry. In fact, it's hard to think of another individual who has created as many memorable and appealing characters. We're thrilled that Stan has decided to make Disney his new home, and feel very fortunate to be collaborating with him on a wide range of new projects for all divisions of our company. His track record is impressive by any measure, and Home Entertainment is sure to benefit from his creations," said Chapek.