How A Risky Investment In Marvel Studios Made Billions For Walt Disney | Forbes

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For Disney CEO Bob Chapek, this weekend’s debut of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a roll of the dice. It’s the first Marvel film to open on the normally anemic Labor Day weekend and its central character, a kung fu master in the mold of ‘70s martial arts icon Bruce Lee, is little-known. Its exclusive theatrical release, which Chapek himself called an “interesting experiment,” comes as Covid cases continue to spike.

The Chinese government has yet to approve the film for distribution in the world’s largest movie market, raising the stakes for Chapek. But Disney has built up quite a bit of wiggle room with its control of the 80-year-old comic-book publisher that writer Stan Lee and illustrator Jack Kirby put on the map: Purchased in 2009 for just $4 billion, Forbes estimates the company is now worth almost $53 billion, or about 16% of Disney’s market value.

Not a bad return on an investment that few said would ever pay off.

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