Walt Disney Pictures is spending $115 million to become the worldwide marketer and distributor for the upcoming Marvel Studios productions Iron Man 3 and The Avengers. Paramount Pictures will remain the distributor for the 2011 releases Thor (May 6th) and Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22nd). This is expected news as I had heard that Disney has been trying to take over marketing and distribution for the whole catalog of upcoming titles. I heard that at one point, Disney was “this close” to handling the worldwide marketing for Iron Man 2. This also confirms that Disney is hoping to have Iron Man 3 on screens in either 2012 or 2013. Read the full press release after the jump.

BURBANK, Calif. – October 18, 2010 – The Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures and Marvel Studios announced they have reached an agreement under which Paramount will transfer its worldwide marketing and distribution rights to Disney for Marvel Studios’ The Avengers and Iron Man 3. Paramount will remain the worldwide distributor of the upcoming films, Thor and Captain America, as well as the previously released Iron Man and Iron Man 2.

Under terms of the new deal, Disney will pay Paramount $115 million for the transfer of the distribution rights to Iron Man 3 and The Avengers to be paid on the theatrical release dates. These monies will serve as a minimum guarantee against the distribution fees.

“In completing this agreement, Disney will now assume worldwide marketing and distribution of The Avengers and Iron Man 3 and leverage these two highly-anticipated films across the multiple global platforms of The Walt Disney Company,” said Rich Ross, Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. “We appreciate the tremendous momentum that Paramount established with these iconic Marvel characters and look forward to propelling the brand even further in the coming years.”

“Five years ago, when Paramount and Marvel made our initial deal, both our businesses were in very different places,” said Brad Grey, Chairman & CEO of Paramount Pictures. “We are grateful for the partnership we have had with the terrific Marvel team over these years and proud of the work we have done together. Today, this new agreement is the right deal for Paramount, for Marvel and for Disney. We look forward to working together on Thor and Captain America, and we wish Disney and Marvel the utmost success, in what we know will be a very productive and wide-ranging partnership.”

“Paramount has been a wonderful partner in helping Marvel Studios bring our characters to the big screen,” said Alan Fine, Office of the President, Marvel Worldwide, Inc. “This agreement makes sense now that Marvel is part of The Walt Disney Company.”

Paramount will release Marvel Entertainment’s Thor and Captain America worldwide beginning on May 6 and July 22 of 2011, respectively. The Avengers will be licensed to Epix under Paramount’s existing pay television arrangement.

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