Iron Man DVD Lifts Marvel Earnings

Marvel Entertainment reported stronger than expected profits for 2008, fueled in large part by strong sales of the Iron Man DVD.

Net sales for the company were $224 million, up from $109.3 million for the fourth quarter. That powered the year’s net sales to $676 million, up from $485 in 2007.

Results were up for all the company’s major divisions, licensing, publishing and film production.

The company is looking to animation to play a big role in building its brands in 2009. Marvel pointed in particular to the success of Wolverine and the X-Men, currently airing the first 26 of a planned 52 episodes on Nicktoons, and the upcoming Iron Man: Armored Adventures series, due to air in the second quarter also on Nicktoons.

Marvel also has 8 half-hour episodes of a Black Panther animated series set to air on BET in the second quarter and is self producing two new series, Super Hero Squad and The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, with Film Roman for premieres in late 2009 and 2011 respectively.

The company also has set February 2010 for the premiere of the long-awaited Broadway musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, directed by Julie Taymor and featuring music by Bono and The Edge of U2.