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Marvel Licensed Sales Fall In Superhero-less First Quarter

With its weekend Iron Man blockbuster not yet figuring in its financial results, comics giant Marvel has announced a drop in sales for its licensed division down from $119.7 million to $84.6 million - but with licensed game titles like Activision's
Comic book company Marvel Entertainment has announced the results of its first financial quarter, showing total company sales down to $112.6 million from $151.4 million the year prior -- a period which was just previous to the release of Spiderman 3. Profits for the company's first quarter were also down slightly from $46.8 million in Q1 2007 to $45.2 million. Results from Marvel's licensing division -- which includes toys, comic books and video games in aggregate -- were also down from $119.7 million in 2007 to $84.6 million. Despite the results, and buoyed by the company's anticipated performance of some of its forthcoming licensed products for the just released Iron Man film and forthcoming Hulk film, Marvel has raised its guidance for the full fiscal year, now expecting revenues of $370 - $400 million and profits of $104 - $122 million. Its games-related slate for the remainder of the year includes Sega's just debuted Iron Man-related game for multiple platforms, as well as also Sega-published titles based on the release of its next movie, The Incredible Hulk. In addition, the company confirmed Activision's forthcoming October release Spider-Man: Web of Shadows for all major platforms, a 'good side'/'bad side' free-roaming adventure developed by Treyarch and Shaba Games. Marvel said that its Iron Man opening weekend pulled in $100.75 million -- "the 10th best opening weekend ever and the 2nd best non-sequel feature film debut ever - second only to Spider-Man," according to the company, generating an estimated $201 million worldwide. Finally, the company also said that while it does not intend to release a self-produced film in 2009, 2010 will bring the release of Iron Man 2 and Thor, while 2011 will see a double Avengers-related release with The First Avenger: Captain America, followed shortly thereafter by The Avengers. No games have yet been announced to accompany the film launches. Said Marvel chairman Morton Handel on the future of its games and digital entertainment business, "Marvel has been investing in other important areas of growth such as the Internet where, to lead the Company’s newly formed Global Digital Media Group, Marvel recently announced the hiring of Ira Rubenstein. Marvel has a strong foundation to build from, and the Company is adding infrastructure to maximize these opportunities.”

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