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'Spider-Man 3' Drives Marvel Earnings

"We can now control our own destiny," says David Maisel, executive vice president of Marvel Entertainment. He joined CNBC's Sue Herera on "Power Lunch" to explain how the comic-book publisher grew into a "multi-pronged" entertainment giant, spanning from Broadway to Dubai -- and, of course, Hollywood.

Marvel's first-quarter earnings more than doubled over the year-ago period, thanks in part to Sony merchandise licensing fees related to Spider-Man 3. The sequel took in $148 million in domestic box office receipts over its opening weekend -- a Hollywood record.

And the superhero film potential has Maisel, who sits as chairman of Marvel Studios, "very excited." He said that 2007 has proven the company's strengths -- paving the way for next year, when Marvel will launch "two of our own films, financing ourselves and managing ourselves."

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The chairman said that 2008's The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man will feature A-list actors including Edward Norton and Gwyneth Paltrow -- and the studio will "achieve full financial upside."

Like The Walt Disney Co., Marvel is creating character-based video games (partnering with Sega), is developing a film-based Broadway show, and is building a "billion-dollar" theme park in Dubai, slated to open in 2011. But Maisel assured investors that despite these ambitious plans, Marvel is still ruled by "fiscal conservatism."

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  • Sue Herera is a founding member of CNBC, helping to launch the network in 1989. She is co-anchor of "Power Lunch."

  • "Power Lunch" & “Nightly Business Report” Co-Anchor

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Kenny Polcari