Marvel Enterprises has sued the Walt Disney Co. and ABC Family (formerly Fox Family) for at least $16 million, which it claims it is owed on the cartoons it licensed to Fox Family, which Disney acquired in 2001, reports VARIETY. As part of the suit filed July 15, 2004 in L.A. Superior Court, Marvel argues that Disney improperly accounted for profits on animated series THE INCREDIBLE HULK, X-MEN AND SPIDER-MAN and failed to promote the shows. In the complaint, Disney claims the toons lose money, but will not provide proper accounting.
In addition, Marvel also claims that Disney's purchase of Fox Family for $5.2 billion has left no money to develop the Marvel properties; that it improperly continued the sweetheart deals put in place by Fox; and that it buried Marvel's shows choosing to promote its own properties. As well, Marvel says that Disney will not allow Marvel to audit records on Disney's release of the SPIDER-MAN series on DVD, which coincided with the release of Columbia's SPIDER-MAN theatrical film.
Marvel attorney Carole Handler said, "This intellectual property is extremely valuable to Marvel, and Marvel intends to see that it is properly compensated for the real value of its property."
Under the 1992 deal with Fox Children's Network, Marvel agreed to produce animated programming, which was produced by Saban Ent. Then under a 1996 agreement, Fox secured U.S. distribution and Saban retained worldwide rights. When Disney bought Fox Family, it obtained all distribution rights.
In the past Marvel hasn't been shy to bring suit. It recently settled a suit with Sony regarding the merchandising of the SPIDER-MAN and MEN IN BLACK films.