A few details of Ike Perlmutter’s moves within the Disney hierarchy leak out in thisprofile in the LA Times, by brave writer Dawn C. Chmielewski who gets, naturally, zero cooperation from Disney, Marvel, or Perlmutter. Ike is, of course, Marvel’s legendarily cheap—and successful—CEO, who has begun to make his influence felt inside the Magic Kingdom, as shown by the rumors of some epic battles that Chmielewski’s uncovered:
With great box-office strength comes great influence. Although he does not hold a board seat, Perlmutter is in regular contact with Iger and has played a role in executive changes at Disney Consumer Products, according to Disney insiders who were not authorized to speak publicly.
[snip] But according to people inside the Burbank conglomerate, Perlmutter backed a shake-up in the consumer products group that led to the film studio’s distribution head, Bob Chapek, replacing retail veteran Andy Mooney. Mooney and Perlmutter were said to have clashed over the approach to merchandising Marvel characters. The change cleared the way for the Marvel executive to inject the Disney’s merchandise licensing group with his cost-cutting sensibilities.
Perlmutter personally oversaw marketing costs for “Iron Man” and other Marvel films, scrutinizing every cent spent on vendors and promotions and bringing an uncommon vigilance to expenses, say people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly. And agents consider Marvel one of the toughest places to make a deal for talent.
The ousted Mooney is a long-time Disney vet who came up with the massive worldwide smash Disney Princesses…so no resting on laurels at the Mouse House as we all know. The Consumer Products division oversees publishing, so it sounds like the Perlmutter cost cutting theories could be extended to that division as well…perhaps part of licensed publishing’s move from NY to LA, to save on real estate costs. The revamped West Coast team is expected to be very involved in comics, however.
Ironically, we recently lunched with someone who had dealt—quite amicably—with Ike in the past and we were both amazed that given his power and position, he could remain so far below the radar. This Times piece is the closest you can get to someone who is legally able to carry a firearm in at least one state. Ike’s ability to remain obscure is incredible. An example? Although the piece quotes a book that calls him “lanky”, we’re always heard Ike was quite on the short side. People don’t even know how tall the guy is.
As the article makes clear, Ike has been incredibly successful at everything he does. In fact the biggest casualty of his methods could be Marvel’s book publishing program, which has languished far behind where it should be, given the A+ rating for its amazing backlist of treasured stories. With Disney Consumer Products going over to Ike’s way, don’t expect that to change any time soon.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.