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Old 03-06-2021, 11:04 AM   #1
jignat
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Should Laird have sold TMNT to Disney or WB instead of Nick/Viacom?

Do you think Laird should have sold the franchise to Disney or WB instead of Nickelodeon/Viacom?

I sometimes wonder if selling TMNT to Viacom was the best move for Laird more than the franchise itself.

I get that he felt burnout especially after resurrecting the Mirage comic almost 10 years prior and guiding the 2003 show, but sometimes I feel that Nick thinks its just a middling property than can generate some profit rather than trying to make the brand more than just an occasional cartoon/toyline.

If it went to Disney, do you think the franchise would have done better?
turtles were guests in the WB owned Injustice 2 and crossed over with Batman in both print and animation form. IMO the Batman vs TMNT dtv film was better than both Platinum dunes movies (not a high bar to cross)
I feel like WB would have been eager to obtain rights given their streaming service seems to cater to animation fans.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:57 AM   #2
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Did he have an offer from Disney or WB?
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Old 03-06-2021, 12:07 PM   #3
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WB I suppose between those two. Done better with Disney? I fear to think what they'd have become and be trapped as forever. The very thought of them falling into Disney's hands feels like a prison. That company would probably never let them go even if they decided to shelf them and never/rarely ever touch them again. Nick at least I could see letting go of the property someday.


I always liked that they are kind of their own thing and have the freedom to visit other properties. It will be sad when they are owned by someone who no longer allows it.
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Old 03-06-2021, 12:29 PM   #4
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Interesting thought. At the same time Viacom was negotiating to acquire Ninja Turtles, Disney was in talks to buy Marvel. The sales were completed Oct. 2009 for Ninja Turtles, Aug. 2009 for Marvel.

Disney never made an offer for Ninja Turtles. In retrospect it would have been smart, both from how they acquire everything, but also would've actually brought the turtles in-line with Daredevil, who's cheekily supposed to be a part of their origin.

I don't know if Warner Bros. ever made an offer. I did hear from Mirage people that Viacom made the only SERIOUS offer.

By the way, if you're wondering why Viacom: It wasn't just random that they wanted Ninja Turtles. The original airings of the 1987 cartoon were on CBS. Many of the executives who worked at CBS, who saw the old cartoon's success, now run CBS, Nickelodeon and Paramount. To make a funny connection, that's the same reason why Viacom purchased Garfield recently. CBS had the longest relationship with Garfield and Jim Davis.

As for what would have been smart on Peter Laird's side, of course holding out another decade would have been more profitable, and that will continue to be true in the future. Haim Saban sold Power Rangers in 2018 for almost 10 times the Ninja Turtles sale. But that gets into what an owner wants to do. Similarly, George Lucas could have squeezed a few more BILLIONS out of Star Wars if he was selling it today, but hey, is that what Lucas wanted?
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Old 03-06-2021, 01:00 PM   #5
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I think some of you need to realize you can't just sell a property to anyone. If WB or Disney didn't want TMNT, or offered too little money, PL wasn't going to sell to them.

I'm really curious why people think Disney would ever buy TMNT. The TMNT franchise is a blip on the radar compared to Star Wars or Marvel. I don't see why they would have any interest.
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Old 03-06-2021, 02:09 PM   #6
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I could have sworn there was already a thread like this. Anyway, the short answer is no, it's arguably worse.

As questionable as Viacom's approach is, Disney wouldn't be a very good fit and Warner only be slightly better. While Disney could probably make a higher quality movie than Paramount and a better cartoon than Nickelodeon, it is doubtful that they would even care enough to make them on a regular enough basis for the franchise to even be worth it. It would rot in their care. And if you think TMNT is "Kiddy Horseshit" under Nickelodeon, it's nothing compared to what the Disney channel iteration would be.

Given the subject matter, it is possible that Disney would make the TMNT part of the Marvel brand. Which is slightly better in the regard that it would be allowed some level of maturity and the reprints of the comics would be really nice. The problem is that there probably wouldn't be an ongoing TMNT comic book series, just like a five issue mini-series every few years or something. What's arguably even worse than that is that the series likely wouldn't be allowed to have it's own lore anymore. The TMNT would end up being the creations of The High Evolutionary and the Foot would be a recent Hand offshoot or something else like that, they would basically just fade into the shadow of the "important" characters.

With Warner/DC it would basically be the same. Just replace the High Evolutionary with Project Cadmus and The Hand with the League of Assassins, then give it like 500 revisions where the Utroms involvement fluxuate like crazy.
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Old 03-06-2021, 02:27 PM   #7
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ViacomCBS is going to be acquired by a tech giant in the next decade or so most likely so TMNT will have new owners.
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Old 03-06-2021, 02:32 PM   #8
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ViacomCBS is going to be acquired by a tech giant in the next decade or so most likely so TMNT will have new owners.
New owners, same management. Not much will change.
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Old 03-06-2021, 02:42 PM   #9
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Come to think of it, though they're strictly a publisher, I wouldn't mind if IDW were somehow able to own the property and then have control over licensing it out to other companies to handle the movies, series, etc. Might keep it from being locked into one company's vision of them forever.
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Old 03-06-2021, 03:21 PM   #10
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With Warner/DC it would basically be the same. Just replace the High Evolutionary with Project Cadmus and The Hand with the League of Assassins, then give it like 500 revisions where the Utroms involvement fluxuate like crazy.
I'm not too sure about that. If anything I think DC would have been the most likely of the two to keep TMNT as their own separate thing and only cross-over occasionally for sales purposes. They published MOTU for almost a decade and it's not like they had He-Man hanging around with Superman every week. They even had Marlena get stuck on Earth so they could ostensibly have done more cross-overs if they really wanted to, but they only did the one (in-canon; the Injustice cross-over came later but wasn't canon to the main MOTU series).

I mean yeah, gut instinct would be to assume "Oh, so they'd just be part of the DCU with everything else" but going by DC's own publishing history, they've had a lot of projects that were segregated from the main line. I'd be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they'd have the TMNT in their own corner of the Multiverse. Obviously they would do cross-overs but I wouldn't think it would be so very common.

And even if they did stick them in the mainstream DCU... WB is still the only company that wouldn't insist on TMNT forever being "a kids' thing" and nothing but that. And again, their MOTU series is a good example of precedent. The only gripe about their MOTU comics comes from people who wanted/expected them to simply copy the Filmation cartoon, and they made it a strong point to NOT do that, to the degree where some Filmation fans hate it for being "disrespectful" (whereas other fans just correctly see it as letting the property "grow up"). So again, I'd expect that if WB did own the TMNT brand, at the very least the whole "They do nothing but copy the FW cartoon" thing wouldn't be happening to such a constant degree. We'd get other things aimed at the adult fans much more often; that's not a supposition, it's a guarantee.

With Disney, I think it would be both "problems" exacerbated; they'd stick TMNT into the Marvel Universe AND constantly ape the FW cartoon/keep it a "kids' thing". And both of those things would be lousy.

Viacom was arguably the worst-case scenario (aside from the brand dying off completely) given what they've done with it, but if it had to be either Disney or WB, WB is the only option where the older audience had any hope of having their tastes catered to. So I'd have to give them the nod.
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Old 03-06-2021, 04:13 PM   #11
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But quite a lot of the "DC Universe" characters were not created for the DCU to begin with. Captain Marvel, Blue Beetle, Plastic Man and Grifter are all examples of characters DC has acquired throughout the decades and used for the mainline books. Hell, even the "Core characters" weren't always under the same roof. Batman and Superman were published by National, while Hawkman and Green Lantern were published by All-American, those two publishers did not merge until 1946 which means quite a lot of the important Golden Age DC books predate DC as we know it.

And... Master of the Universe, what little I understand about it, just wouldn't make sense as part of the DC. Feel free to correct me, but I'm pretty sure nearly all iterations of that franchise take place on some High Fantasy planet and the characters usually don't leave. And probably more importantly, isn't it either Mattel or Dreamworks who actually owns it? Not WB? So what exactly would be the point of having characters they don't own exist in a world they would harldy ever interact with on a larger scale?

With TMNT, if WB is indeed the owner, it would be quite different. TMNT takes place on earth and the subject matter fits quite neatly into typical American superhero comics, because TMNT is at it's core a typical American superhero comic, it just happens to star characters who can only loosely be called superheroes themselves. The fact that the Mirage Studios comics, the Image comics, the 2003 show and (most noteworthy for this argument) the animated adaptation of the Batman crossover did mind presenting them as existing in a world populated by typical American superheroes, does indicate there wouldn't be much pressure against putting them into a typical superhero world.
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Old 03-06-2021, 04:41 PM   #12
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You're correct, but you may have missed the point I addressed earlier where they purposely left a door open for more MOTU/DCU cross-overs by having Adam's mother Marlena get stranded on her home planet of Earth - which in this version was the DCU Earth - but they only ever did the one.

If they had WANTED to feature MOTU as being a more prominent part of the larger DCU, they easily could have, is my point. The fact that they only did it once (technically twice, but again "Injustice" wasn't canon to either side) speaks to their restraint, I feel. Just because the MOTU story takes place on a completely different planet doesn't mean they couldn't have made it an integrated part of the DCU if they'd so chosen; after all, the Green Lantern Corps is a thing. The DCU literally spans the entire universe, after all.

My point was, even though they DID technically make Eternia part of the mainstream DCU by having He-Man's mother be from DC Earth, they never really dwelled on or acknowledged that fact too much. They knew that MOTU would work better as its own separate thing. They could have easily had Superman drop by to help He-Man stop Hordak, or had a Green Lantern that was from Eternia or whatever, but they resisted any temptation to do those things. The only thing stopping them was the fact that they recognized MOTU works best on its own.

So again, I don't *know* that they'd take the same approach to TMNT, but they've established that they have a lot of "Earths" in their Multiverse and so I wouldn't be completely shocked if they gave the TMNT an Earth that wasn't so DCU-centric. They've already showcased Earths that didn't have Superman, or a Justice League, or any of those other things. So it's not completely unprecedented that they could give the TMNT their own Earth as well.

Again, though... even if the TMNT did get integrated into the DCU, I wouldn't love it but I'd be happy that everything wasn't FW Kiddie Town like it is now, or would be under Disney. So even as "the lesser of two evils" WB would still be the best option, objectively.
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Old 03-06-2021, 04:58 PM   #13
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Not Disney. Never. WB? Better.
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Old 03-06-2021, 05:29 PM   #14
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Please, no Disney. If they ever get their hands on TMNT then I won't even bother with the Turtles anymore. I hardly do anymore already because Nicks/Viacoms vision and direction for the property doesn't appeal to me. I doubt Disney would make TMNT any less childish than Nick does.

WB? Eh, I'd be open to the idea. If I could go back in time and prevent the Nick sale from ever being made and make WB buy the TMNT property instead, I'd do it. Sure, we'll never know if it would have worked out well or not, but knowing how Disney operates and handles its properties, do you really think TMNT would be in good hands with them? Also, Disney are already an evil empire monopoly. I don't care much about Star Wars and I certainly don't care about Marvel, but it's kinda sad how both belong to Disney nowadays. And The Simpsons are also under Disney's sphere of influence as well. So, please, don't let the TMNT get grabbed by Disney's claws.
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Old 03-06-2021, 05:33 PM   #15
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You're correct, but you may have missed the point I addressed earlier where they purposely left a door open for more MOTU/DCU cross-overs by having Adam's mother Marlena get stranded on her home planet of Earth - which in this version was the DCU Earth - but they only ever did the one.

If they had WANTED to feature MOTU as being a more prominent part of the larger DCU, they easily could have, is my point. The fact that they only did it once (technically twice, but again "Injustice" wasn't canon to either side) speaks to their restraint, I feel. Just because the MOTU story takes place on a completely different planet doesn't mean they couldn't have made it an integrated part of the DCU if they'd so chosen; after all, the Green Lantern Corps is a thing. The DCU literally spans the entire universe, after all.

My point was, even though they DID technically make Eternia part of the mainstream DCU by having He-Man's mother be from DC Earth, they never really dwelled on or acknowledged that fact too much. They knew that MOTU would work better as its own separate thing. They could have easily had Superman drop by to help He-Man stop Hordak, or had a Green Lantern that was from Eternia or whatever, but they resisted any temptation to do those things. The only thing stopping them was the fact that they recognized MOTU works best on its own.

So again, I don't *know* that they'd take the same approach to TMNT, but they've established that they have a lot of "Earths" in their Multiverse and so I wouldn't be completely shocked if they gave the TMNT an Earth that wasn't so DCU-centric. They've already showcased Earths that didn't have Superman, or a Justice League, or any of those other things. So it's not completely unprecedented that they could give the TMNT their own Earth as well.

Again, though... even if the TMNT did get integrated into the DCU, I wouldn't love it but I'd be happy that everything wasn't FW Kiddie Town like it is now, or would be under Disney. So even as "the lesser of two evils" WB would still be the best option, objectively.
Sure, but would they be so inclined to minimize the crossovers if they didn't merely license the characters? Captain Marvel wasn't part of the DCU until around the time character was outright purchased and the Wildstorm characters, while DC did own them, were not included until after Wildstorm was officially dissolved.

It's like the whole Ghostbusters/TMNT crossover. Sure it is canon and it has had som impact on the main story, but the references to the events are super vague. The Ghostbusters are just called "Ghost Guys" at one point and Venkman is only ever referenced as "A Psychologist", it just seems like it's designed to be easy to retcon, like the "Ghost Guys" could just be some run in with ghosts that has the same effect and the "Psychologist" can literally be anyone. It's obvious that it's kept vague in case the license to Ghostbusters is ever revoked. Even Bobby admits as much.

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3. Yeah, exactly, just makes things easier on our end. If we lost the Ghostbusters license before the TMNT one, this way we could continue to reprint the TMNT story without having to consult Sony.
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Old 03-06-2021, 06:12 PM   #16
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I mean, we wouldn't know until it happened, right?

Speculative stuff aside, I'm choosing to stick only to The Facts As We Know Them. Which are:

- WB has a long history of presenting popular licensed characters with products that have a large "net" of appeal, ranging from young children to adults and everyone in between.

- DC as a publisher has always shown a similar "something for everyone" approach to presenting their characters, whether they be Superman, Batman, He-Man, or whoever. They put out books for kids AND books for adults, and even books that are "canon" with popular animated series and live-action films based on those characters.

If WB/DC had the TMNT license, a lot of people's gripes from ALL sides would be addressed, and it's the best chance at ALL the various fan groups being catered to. People who hate all the constant FW influence would get comics and animated movies that were more "PG-13/R" and have nothing to do with the cartoons. But the people who DO like more kiddie fare would almost certainly still get products aimed at them, as well. They would probably even find a way to do a comic book, or even an animated movie, that was set up as a "sequel" to the FW cartoon, for people who want and would support such a thing (you know they exist). They're doing comics based on the Keaton Batman and Reeves Superman movies; one could reasonably expect a comic book "sequel" to the 1990s films as well. There would also be a lot less complication in getting a live-action movie made (although what that movie would turn out to be and whether it would be "good" or not is entirely up in the air; I'm just saying, if WB had bought TMNT in 2009 we'd be on our fifth TMNT movie by now, probably).

Not to mention that if TMNT was a WB/DC property, the toy situation would be a lot more acceptable. They'd probably sh*tcan Playmates and whoever had the DC license at any given time would also most likely have the TMNT license - in this case McFarlane, before them Mattel - and the thought of what kind of toys we'd get under a "TMNT Multiverse" line is enough to make one drool. FW, the live-action movies, Mirage, Archie, 4Kids, and more... all on the table for action figures. When you look at what Mattel (and DC Direct) did with their DC lines over the years, and what McFarlane is doing right now, it's hard not to be jealous and wish that TMNT got that kind of treatment. As a WB/DC property, they would.

So again, sure there's a lot of What Ifs but just based on how WB has and continues to do business with regard to this sort of thing... I can't see any serious downside. Like okay, yeah, IF they put TMNT into the DC comics universe that would be annoying, but ALL the other stuff that would come from it would be well worth that minor annoyance, in my opinion.

And it would be MUCH better than the situation as it stands right now, which is downright intolerable. At present, we have a cool toyline aimed at collectors that most people can't buy, and a comic that people either love or can't stand (but has very little resemblance to what TMNT "ought" to be, regardless). Just about anything is better than Right Now.
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Old 03-06-2021, 07:07 PM   #17
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As for what would have been smart on Peter Laird's side, of course holding out another decade would have been more profitable.
Disagree. Peter was running the TMNT into the ground. He was lucky to get the offer he did.
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:10 PM   #18
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Seems like the 2007 movie was the big gamble that Laird threw everything at... if the movie had been a smash hit, then the TMNT brand proves it is still immensely valuable. After that, maybe Laird continues to helm the ship for a while or maybe he decides to "sell high" and make a bundle from a big company like WB.

But, of course, the film turned out to be only a modest success, not enough of a smash to guarantee another costly sequel. I think the 25th Anniversary Celebration/Cross-Country Tour was Laird's "Plan B," spend a lot of cash on it to ensure that the brand got enough visibility to make sure it could still command a respectable buyout price to whichever company thought it would be a good fit, which turned out to be Nickelodeon.

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By the way, if you're wondering why Viacom: It wasn't just random that they wanted Ninja Turtles. The original airings of the 1987 cartoon were on CBS. Many of the executives who worked at CBS, who saw the old cartoon's success, now run CBS, Nickelodeon and Paramount. To make a funny connection, that's the same reason why Viacom purchased Garfield recently. CBS had the longest relationship with Garfield and Jim Davis.

Nice tibit, Ross! I had never thought about the CBS-connection with the old cartoon had any bearing on the 2009 acquisition, but that's very interesting that Viacom was motivated to acquire both TMNT and Garfield when those are the two shows I most associated with the early 1990s CBS Saturday Morning block!
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:21 PM   #19
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Seems like the 2007 movie was the big gamble that Laird threw everything at...
I don't think Laird invested one dollar into producing the Imagi movie. There was no risk involved whatsoever. Not for him, anyway.

To be fair, 2007 TMNT was the very best "pitch" for a fourth movie that we've ever been led to believe existed up until that point. I'm not a big fan of the movie we got at all, but every other incarnation of the fourth movie that nearly happened sounded and looked god awful in comparison.

In fact, the only potential TMNT movie beyond the 1990 one that's ever sounded like it had any chance whatsoever at being really good was the Frank Fusco script that was about to happen just before the Nick sale (Nick decided it was "too dark").

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But, of course, the film turned out to be only a modest success, not enough of a smash to guarantee another costly sequel.
Not really even that. What little money it did make against the production budget was probably blown out by the marketing one. If it actually netted any money at all it would be in the 5-6 million dollar range.

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If WB/DC had the TMNT license, a lot of people's gripes from ALL sides would be addressed, and it's the best chance at ALL the various fan groups being catered to.
Maybe, maybe not. For me, I'd vote for whatever gives the highest odds of TMNT ending up in the hands of guys like the Marvel Netflix peeps who worked on the first two seasons of "Daredevil."
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:23 PM   #20
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Disagree. Peter was running the TMNT into the ground. He was lucky to get the offer he did.
TMNT (the 2007 movie) was actually quite successful and it was only two year before he sold the property.
I mean
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Budget $34 million
Box office $95.6 million
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