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Which Filming Studio Owns The Rights To Which Superhero Character?

Regardless if you’re a comic book fan or not, chances are you may have heard of a superhero character getting their own film, courtesy of a filming studio. For non-fans, this can get extremely confusing, as superheroes are, in essence, people who save lives. Why do different companies have to own different superheroes?

Curiosity about superhero films in the future may have been put to the spotlight courtesy of activities of big studios today. One might recall Disney’s recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox television and film studio properties in a whopping $52-billion deal, which more or less means the potential introduction of more superheroes to the landmark Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before you go crazy about all this information, however, it may be time to consolidate just which filming studio owns the rights to which superhero character. This guide will help you do that.

Why Are There Different Studios For Superheroes In The First Place?

Perhaps the reason for different studios owning the rights to different superheroes is because of the fact that superheroes were made by different competing publishers way back in the 1960s. Since the arrival of Superman to DC Comics and the Fantastic Four in Marvel Comics, creators have sprung to a “phase” where superheroes and comics compete for the attention of readers. With the growth of film as a medium through the years, some studios started to tap into bringing superheroes into the big screen as a means to attract viewers.

Which Studio Owns What?

Given the information above, it’s time to get to know which filming studio owns the rights to which superhero character. Do remember that the information below doesn’t mention all superheroes out there, as there are hundreds of superheroes that have been created through the years. In general, however:

  • Warner Bros. is perhaps one of the first giants of the superhero films industry. In general, Warner Bros. owns the rights to all DC characters, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman. Villains and superheroes related to the latter six will more or less be under the banner of Warner Bros.
  • The CW while they don’t have films, they do have superhero TV series. Characters like Supergirl, The Flash,  Green Arrow, and other superheroes and villains related to them star in their respective series and often “crossover,” given they’re in the same universe.
  • Marvel Studios is perhaps one of the largest studios out there, exclusively for Marvel characters. In the general Marvel Studios landscape, Marvel Studios is in charge of superheroes such as the Avengers, which includes mainstays Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, and the Hulk. Since Disney purchased Marvel Studios in 2009, the rights also fall under the Disney banner.
  • Netflix, as in the streaming giant, has a couple of Marvel properties, including Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist. Technically, Marvel Studios still owns the rights to these characters and produces the shows, with Netflix acting as the distributor.
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment, with its Miami film studio and studios in other locations, own the rights to Spider-Man and all related characters. They struck a deal with Marvel Studios back in 2015 which allows Marvel to use Spider-Man and some related characters in their Avengers films in return for producing the solo Spider-Man films.
  • 20th Century Fox, in speaking of collaboration, owns the rights to the X-Men, Deadpool, and the Fantastic Four. Their films aren’t set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though they were recently acquired by Marvel’s parent company, Disney, so they may come to the MCU in future.

The list above is by no means a complete list, but hopefully it helped provide insight as to the kind of division studios have when it comes to ownership of superhero rights. Which superheroes do you like the most?

Raul Rodriguez is the owner and operator of the largest television & film studio in South Florida known as M3 Studios. It was all a dream and in 2003 Raul turned that dream to a reality and started with one film studio, the facility now has 7 Sound Stages, 3 CYC Walls, Green Screens, 6 editing bays, and over 122,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art studio space that include full-service production staff and equipment, editing suites, office/conference rooms you name it. Anything you need to complete a creative project. Raul loves film and entertainment so much that he even stunt coordinates on the side for fun. If you would like to see more about the studio follow their Instagram account @M3StudiosMiami its always fun to see behind the scenes of movie magic.

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Raul Rodriguez

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