02 May, 2008

Entertainment in the spotlight post Fed with Take-Two and Marvel

While the market initially sold off moderately after the Federal Reserve Interest Rate cut the euphoria was back in full effect Thursday with substantial gains. The buying couldn't hold early Friday though, as American benchmarks drifted lower through mid-day. On the heels of a bullish Thursday, which saw the Nasdaq led gains with over 2% in the green, markets lulled going into the weekend.

It was a week where Entertainment was given the spotlight. One of the biggest video game franchises released its fourth installment, as the global phenomenon known as Grand Theft Auto, went back to its roots of "fake New York" Liberty City and released what is sure to be the biggest video game of all time, in terms of sales of course. Rockstar Games, which is a division of Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO), saw this release also as the biggest in its tenure as a Video Games Maker. Shares of Take-Two are up substantially over recent months due to a buyout offer by Electronic Arts (ERTS). Take-Two has thus far been holding out for..... You guessed it, More Money! But as the first week and month results of GTA IV sales come back, Investors are expecting big things for the company and that franchise going forward.

Shifting entertainment forms now, from Video Games to Films, and its clear it'll be another Comic Book Summer. With no less that 3 major blockbuster films scheduled from now till mid summer based on popular comic book characters. The twist here is that Marvel Entertainment (MVL), after years of seeing the movie business capitalize and profit substantially on successful comic adaptations, isn't standing on the sidelines anymore. Now instead of licensing popular characters to the major movie studios and watching them collect profits from ever rising ticket prices, DVD sales, Rentals, iTunes revenue etc. Marvel put it's hand in the cookie jar and decided to start financing its own movies. And Marvel studios was born. With the first creation being the expected successful movie career of Iron Man.

The company's bold business model change years ago is bound to pay substantial dividends down the road as the worldwide box-office presents Marvel with a untapped resource of revenue. Their attention to the history of their own character creations will likely provide a movie platform that the outside studios could not and should provide years of additional story and movie script ideas. Marvel is set this summer with Iron Man and its second film The Incredible Hulk and if these prove to be as successful as most expect, then Marvel Studios will certainly expand and become a major player in the land of Hollywood.

Disclosure: Author holds no position in any aforementioned companies.

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