Marvels' general counsel on state of the business, movies and recent price increases

John Turitzin, Marvel's general counsel and EVP of the executive office, presented at the Cowen & Company 37th Annual Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in New York earlier this week. You can find a link to his presentation, which includes audio and his slides, here (it was at 1:05 p.m. in Holmes 2).

During the presentation, he gave an overview of Marvel -- which he called a "cash machine" -- and the various ways it makes money, from publishing and licensing to the more recently added Marvel Studios division. One of the more interesting portions that's probably most relevant to those of us who buy comics came when a comic fan in the audience asked about the recent cost increase on some of Marvel's titles. You can hear it after the formal presentation ends in the link above.

Note: the person who asked the question and posted about it asked me to remove the reference to his now-deleted write-up, which I have.

A few of the other tidbits I thought were interesting include:

--He talked about the Marvel Studios offices in Manhattan Beach being so close to the production facilities where Iron Man II, and eventually Thor and Captain America, will be shot. They're all within 100 yards of each other, and that makes it easier for the studio to make sure everything's shooting on schedule and so they can monitor the quality.--He referred to the upcoming Avengers movie, which will feature Iron Man, Captain America Hulk and Thor, as an "ensemble buddy movie," which I thought was kind of funny.--During the Q&A portion, someone asked if Avengers is the only movie they have planned for 2012. He said their goal is to have two movies out each year, and they're looking right now at potential concepts for a second movie for 2012. --Someone also asked how they balance out release dates with their own films and the films that are licensed to other studios, noting that 2011 has Spider-Man on May 6, Thor on May 20 and Captain America on July 22. He said the risk that Thor might cannibalize ticket sales for Spider-Man after a couple of weeks of release was outweighed by the marketing benefits of having them released so close together. Considering how fast movies come and go in the summer now, I doubt it's an issue ... hell, Wolverine feels like it came out an eternity ago. Is it out on DVD yet?--Someone asked about Fantastic Four, and if Fox was going to reboot the franchise or let Marvel take it back. He said they haven't talked with Fox about FF specifically, but he did note that after the success of Iron Man, studios see the potential in Marvel properties outside of the bigger franchises. You might remember when Marvel first announced they were doing their own movies, they received some skepticism around it because some felt they didn't have any characters left that had the name recognition of Spider-Man or the X-Men. He said Iron Man showed what could be done with a lesser-known character.

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