Since the announcement of Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige’s move to report to Alan Horn and away from Ike Perlmutter, there’s been talk of little else in the comics movie hot stove league. Now Kim Masters and Borys Kit, two of the best entertainment reporters out there, add a few more fact logs to the speculation bonfire with Marvel’s Civil War: Why Kevin Feige Demanded Emancipation From CEO Ike Perlmutter—and they claim it was difficulties over next year’s Captain America: Civil War, a massive mega-cast film whose budget had begun to balloon—alarming not only Ike but the now-demoted “Creative Committee”—Alan Fine, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley and Bendis, who offered notes and guidance on the movies. Feige’s vision—which has made billions of dollars of Disney—demanded getting a little spendy, and Disney was okay with that.
Insiders say that with Feige breaking free of Perlmutter and the New York side of the company the committee will not be disbanded, but its influence over the Marvel movies will be nominal at best.
The reorganization does not affect Marvel’s television unit, which has enjoyed far less success than the film operation but does have several series on the air, including Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter on ABC and Daredevil on Netflix. The TV arm still reports to Perlmutter and the committee. Publisher Dan Buckley and chief creative officer Joe Quesada are among those who will remain on the committee for continuity purposes as some coordination and cooperation is required for Marvel’s film, TV, comic book and merchandising arms to capitalize on projects and events.
While comics folks may be fretting over whether the Hulk will be grey or green without Marvel continuity watchers okaying every move, in Hollywood, the main speculation over the removal of Ike’s budget watching is points and contracts: on screen talent could now get merchandising royalties, which most now do not, and would have to pay more for using “bridging material” from one film in another. The main frustration in Hollywood seems to have been Marvel’s tough negotiating stance. “I’m secretly hoping that it gets better with this realignment,” one insider told THR. “They’re cheap, they’re aggressive. It certainly can’t get any worse.”
While the Feige side has been spinning things to the movie press, Perlmutter’s side seems to have taken hold at Bleeding Cool, where various stories have been downplaying Feige’s involvement in setting up the movie studio (true—it was Avi Arad’s baby at the start), suggesting that Avengers Age of Ultron was considered a failure at Disney—(something I wrote about right when the movie opened, btw)—and, most dramatically, painting a picture of a profligate Kevin Feige who wasted money on costly reshoots instead of listening to the wise and benevolent Creative Committee. And now, we’re told, Feige has been left to create his own world with no oversight, and perhaps rampage, Ultron-like over the world:
The bigger question, is how did Feige manage to strong-arm Disney into this decision? Because it has left him, far more secure on “Feige Island” with less inconvenient critical voices. If Feige doesn’t answer to Marvel, who does he answer to?
As a former employee to Marvel’s film division said to me “if you want a target on your back, just say no to Kevin.”
So yeah, it’s not too hard to see where all these different versions are coming from.
One thing no one is talking about —because no one cares, I guess—is how this will affect the publishing division. Given Ike’s petty actions regarding the Fantastic Four and the X-men, it’s not hard to see all out war being launched against the movies at the comics—that’ll show ’em!—or how the TV shows will now fit in with the movies, with them being run separately.
I’ve been told that Publishing had probably carved out some kind of bunker where they could withstand any fallout from the split. This does make sense, because the Buckley/Quesada/Alonso/Gabriel team has become very adroit at remaining successful despite mercurial Ike whims. But I do detect a bit of butthurt coming from the Creative Committee side, especially after being thrown under the bus and blamed for every bad decision Marvel Studios has made, from Edgar Wright to Ava DuVerney.
This is definitely a “whose side are you on” thing, and I’d take it all with a gain of salt or maybe a whole salt mine. If you’d like to grab a pick and shovel, here’s the place to sign up.
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.