Superhero stories are incredibly important to studios these days, and Netflix just lost a source of theirs when Disney announced it would be ending its deal with the streaming service to create its own streaming platform. While it’s possible Netflix might be able to strike a new deal to hold onto just the Marvel stuff, it’s already got a backup plan by purchasing Millarworld, the first ever company-wide acquisition for the streaming giant.
A new report from THR highlights what Netflix hopes to get out of the deal. While an exact number hasn’t been revealed, it’s assumed that the company paid $30-50 million to get Millarworld, and really what they want is creator Mark Millar and his brand. It’s worth noting that Netflix won’t own titles that have already gone to other studios like Wanted, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman, but there are certain titles they have their eye on.
According to THR, “Netflix can mine Millar properties like Reborn, a drama that suggests that the afterlife brings you into a war alongside those you knew when you were alive, and MPH, about speedy teens in rundown Detroit. The crown jewel may be Jupiter’s Legacy — featuring multigenerational hero stories — which could lend itself to cinematic universe treatment.”
The issue here is whether or not a collection of Millarworld properties can be as successful as Marvel. Keep in mind that it’s not simply a matter of “People will devour any comic book resource,” and in Netflix’s business model, everything is fodder for the content machine. Whereas Marvel can spend years hyping up the release of an upcoming movie and that’s their brand, it will be interesting to see if Millarworld gets that same kind of freedom with their titles or if they’re just going to get dumped alongside #RealityHigh and Our Souls at Night.
That’s not to say that Millarworld titles can’t be successful and that Netflix can’t build their own interconnected superhero universe that will rival Marvel’s. However, it’s not as easy as simply buying a bunch of titles, and it would be naïve to equate Millarworld, a company that’s been around since 2004, with Marvel, a comic company that helped define the industry. That being said, it’s not like Iron Man or Thor were top-tier characters when Marvel struck out on its own, and it will be interesting to see what kind of success Netflix will have with Millarworld.