(Published Feb. 21, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Photo by Sany Chua
“Marvel super heroes are relatable because they’re not perfect,” said Simon J. Philips, president of Marvel Entertainment International and CEO of Marvel Animation, during a recent visit to Manila. “I think the Filipino market has embraced them,” he added, citing “Spider-Man 3” and “Iron Man 2” as two of the highest-grossing Marvel films in the Philippines to date.
Philips was in the country to look into possible projects specific to the Philippine market, part of an Asian business trip that included Thailand and Hong Kong. Philips said Marvel Entertainment is focusing on countries in the region with “rapidly expanding economies,” and that the acquisition of Marvel by the Walt Disney Company in 2009 is proving beneficial to this endeavor. Philips gave the Inquirer an interview prior to a press conference at the Manila Peninsula.
How is the cross-promotion with Disney properties working out?
To give you an example of the synergies, the “Thor” trailer premiered in the United States before “Tron.” Marvel utilizes the incredible distribution mechanic that the Walt Disney Company has, to promote our movies. Our characters appeal to a market much different from the average Disney fan. We utilize the distribution where appropriate, [but] it’s not the only way we’re going to promote our movies or animation.
What are your thoughts on Marvel’s recovery from bankruptcy?
I think what changed the course of the company was the licensing. It was the opportunity to take the characters and apply them to T-shirts, toys, video games, and a plethora of different merchandise. All of a sudden, it wasn’t just a comic book company, it was an entertainment company.
How involved is Disney with the creation of Marvel movies?
Marvel Studios was an established maker of movies before the merger with Disney. The Walt Disney Company is saying, “Marvel, you have a competency and a skill in this area, so we’re gonna let you continue doing that.”
What do you expect this Philippine trip to accomplish?
We want to make sure that we’re able to provide everything that the fans may want. And we want to find new fans, to introduce new people to the world of Marvel.