Veteran Hollywood sleuths Kim Masters and Borys Kit poked around the story of Marvel and directors Edgar Wright parting ways on Ant-Man—despite Wright having worked on the idea for eight years—
and back up reports of Marvel’s one-size-fits-all approach:

“Kevin Feige [and his top lieutenants] run Marvel with a singularity of vision, but when you take a true auteur and throw him into the mix, this is what you get,” says a source. “They don’t want you to speak up too much or have too much vision. People who have never worked there don’t understand how they operate, but if you trust them, they have an amazing track record.”
Ant-Man’s tone might have been too quirky for the Marvel universe. Insiders say Marvel feels it already might have gone outside its comfort zone with August’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a space adventure heavy on odd humor and featuring a talking raccoon. In 2011, Sony’s similarly comic The Green Hornet with Seth Rogen failed to launch the franchise for which the studio hoped.

In addition, although Marvel Studios has vowed to keep the original July 17, 2015 start date, key crew members have left the production, which was slated to start next week.

Mike Fleming at Deadline has his own thoughts — and even steals my James Bond analogy! Apparently Wright may move right on to a Kolchak The Night Stalker reboot with Johnny Depp.

The exit of Wright is more surprising, considering he came to Comic-Con several years ago and showed a sample of the shrinking technology that would anchor the film. Then, Wright got Feige’s blessing to postpone the movie while he did The World’s End because Working Title partner Eric Fellner had a life-threatening health matter and Wright felt honor bound to see through the final leg of the Cornetto trilogy. The fact that Wright is so revered among the demo that Ant-Man will have to appeal to shows the confidence that Marvel has in Feige’s vision — and, indeed, the movies under his watch have been so good it’s hard to argue. It seems similar to the hold that producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson wield over the James Bond franchise. How many huge directors have expressed desire to helm a 007 film but were rebuffed or stepped away because the ultimate creative call resides not with any filmmaker but the producers who are the flame keepers of the franchise?


  1. If you’re looking to preserve a brand (and that’s what Marvel is), then this is the right move. If you’re looking to present quality storytelling (and that’s not what Marvel does), this is the wrong move. All the things I hate about Marvel Comics which have caused me to stop reading them for the past several years are being done to the films of Marvel Studios. It’s not surprising, but it’s disappointing and short-sighted. Edgar Wright’s Ant Man would be better than Marvel Studios’ Ant Man. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy will be highly entertaining because that film can start out like Iron Man did with NO connection to anything else. Ant Man is earthbound and will likely tie into the deep history of all of the other characters via Shield or Stark or something. For me, it’s a bad call because I’ve lost the ONLY thing which was making me want to watch Ant Man in the first place. For them, it’s probably a good call.

    Also, whenever I get a stupid smile on my face after watching the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, it quickly fades when I remember that it will have to be shoehorned in to the Avengers sphere of influence at some point. I love James Gunn’s films, and as a Parks and Rec fan, I think Chris Pratt is awesome…the entire cast is great, actually. This is the sort of movie my teenage self would go nuts over and my current adult self would greatly enjoy…if not for Merry Meddling Marvel and their Cursed Continuity. Bif Bam Pow, superhero movies aren’t for film fans anymore; they’re for continuity fetishists.

    I don’t fault Marvel for this move, and I congratulate Edgar Wright with moving on to make more quality films instead of being sucked into the Marvel Studios black hole of creativity. Now I don’t have to pretend to like Ant Man just because he made it.

    Just for reference, I will point out what I have liked from Marvel Studios. Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, the first half of Captain America, most of Thor especially Loki and Kat Dennings, Clark Gregg/Agent Coulson, about half of Agents of Shield (the show, not the cast. It’s a great cast.), Scarlet Johannsen even though I was rooting for Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr in all of the movies, Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, most of Iron Man 2 where it wasn’t obvious they were trying to turn it into The Avengers, and lots of Iron Man 3 even though it’s ruined now by continuity. I wanted to like Thor The Dark World and The Winter Soldier, but they were just okay and suffer from feeling like they’re a small piece of a larger convoluted money-grab.

    That’s just how I see it. And I will continue to not pay to see their movies by buying tickets for something else and walking into the Marvel dreck because it’s only really worth watching in the cinema…even though the cinema is just a giant TV now anyway. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with people that do enjoy all the interconnectivity between the films. I just don’t, and I think it makes the films themselves poorer for having to do it.

  2. Yes, this will alienate the fanbase for Edgar Wright who are quite a devout crowd, but as “Scott Pilgrim” showed, they don’t translate into blockbuster box office. I’m not excusing it, but I doubt marvel Studios is losing much sleep over any fallout.

  3. “if you trust them, they have an amazing track record.””

    A successful track record but with a few caveats. The folks who really got the latest Marvel movie boom going were Raimi at Sony and Singer at Fox. Marvel has produced 1 great movie (Iron Man) where the creators had some freedom and two vastly inferior sequels where they didn’t. They’ve produced one very good flick in the Cap sequel and one tremendously fun blockbuster in Avengers. The rest of the Marvel movie lineup has ranged from meh to outright disappointing.


  4. I just visited IMDB and Box Office Mojo to look into Edgar Wright’s track record. Regardless of his abilities behind the camera, audiences have not been paying to see his films in large numbers. His last two movies combined grossed less than $100 million at the global box office. And from what I can tell, they both lost money.

    Without an audience, what does Wright have to offer Marvel? His vision. Unfortunately for Wright’s fans, his vision and Marvel’s did not align. So he’s off the project. This type of thing is not rare.

    Drone wrote: “Edgar Wright’s Ant Man would be better than Marvel Studios’ Ant Man.” There is absolutely no way of knowing this. Talented, beloved directors make sub-par films all the time.

    This turn of events is probably a good thing for Wright. If a Wright directed Ant-Man bombed at the box office, it would have been his third money loser in a row. Such a high profile loss could have meant tough times for his career as a director of feature films.

    All of that is not to say all is great with Marvel. While we’ve enjoyed seeing the characters from our youth executed well on the big screen. I think a lot of us have ignored what was really happening. Marvel Comics is being replicated as a movie studio. That includes not only the good, but the bad and the ugly as well.

  5. Jonathan Black, aside from Scott Pilgrim, all of Edgar Wright’s films have been British. and I believe none of them lost money. IMDB only reports US Box Office. Large numbers of people have been paying to see his movies, and quite frankly Edgar Wright fans probably outnumber Ant Man fans so having Edgar Wright direct the movie was practically the only thing it had going for it. I know his Ant Man would be better than Marvel’s by looking at Marvel Studios’ track record which is weak post Incredible Hulk. And if you want to talk about what a person can have absolutely no way of knowing, let’s bring up your speculation about Edgar Wright’s career based on a cursory glance at his IMDB page leading to your erroneous assertion that he has had three “money losers” in a row. Edgar Wright’s career is far from being in jeopardy, but I’m sure he appreciates your concern. I am confident his Ant Man would’ve been better than Marvel Studios’ version. I never said it would satisfy the expectations of the Marvel and Ant Man fan base.

    It’s all subjective. As I said, good call for some reasons and bad call for others. At least it means I don’t have to bother watching it now. I just hope Marvel Studios never gets X-Men or Spider-Man back because they’d screw those up too.

  6. The financial information I looked at was at Box Office Mojo.com. That website definitely covers international box office receipts and does so by individual country in addition to the aggregate.

  7. Drone, you seem to be reading my thoughts on Wright’s future prospects as negative while I see it as positive. I’ll put it another way. So far the market for his work is modest. Hence, he’d probably be better off working on films with smaller budgets. Smaller risk for financiers should translate into more creative freedom for him and more enjoyable movies for his fans.

  8. I would seriously caution that Kim Masters and Borys Kit do not have any particular insight into the situation. I still distinctly remember a roundtable with Masters and a few other L.A. critics who were studiously parsing the tea-leaves about Disney’s plans to take, in their words, “an obscure british television show, The Avengers” and make it into a film.

  9. Hey Drone you are right Scott Pilgrim vs the world was the only movie to lose money (assuming no money whatsoever was spent on advertising). It was also his only Movie not completely centered around Simon Pegg and Nick Frost which had budgets around 20 million. All Edgar Wright movies combined have yet to total 100 million and except for Hot Fuzz made about the same or a few million more foreign… Ant-Man is more popular then Edgar Wright and the movies budget is going to be higher then all his others combined. Thats fine if you like him but its likely changing directors will be good for the film

  10. Let’s see the finished product. The creative differences in the film could have spilled over into a disjointed film. The point of Marvel is building the larger universe over time. Likely over time it will allow a better chance for Wright to make the type of films he wants, but we are deluded if we feel Marvel is only studio to do this. This is the system that Hollywood is, formula, and comic book movies are formula for the most part. Yet they made Guardians and it appears from its trailers to be more original or at least offbeat. Here is hoping it finds an audience.

  11. “The financial information I looked at was at Box Office Mojo.com. That website definitely covers international box office receipts and does so by individual country in addition to the aggregate.”

    Then you must have trouble understanding it because the only one that lost money was Scott Pilgrim.

  12. “Ant-Man is more popular then Edgar Wright and the movies budget is going to be higher then all his others combined. Thats fine if you like him but its likely changing directors will be good for the film”

    I don’t think so. I’d still say Edgar Wright is more popular than Ant Man. I know several Edgar Wright fanatics and zero people that even know who Ant Man is. That’s not to say my anecdotal evidence is paramount to the truth…but I think more people pay to see a $10 Edgar Wright movie than would buy a $3 Ant Man comic. Thus Edgar Wright >Ant Man.

    At his lowest, Shaun of the Dead made 30 million dollars. Based on an inflated $10 ticket price, that’s 3 million people. I seriously doubt Ant Man has even one million fans.

    I shall belabor the point that the move is good for some reasons and bad for some reasons. They went with obedience over quality. That’s Marvel’s track record in comics and now in film. They are free to do so. I think it’s a shitty move to a guy who has been faithful to the project for years when NOBODY else cared just so you can feed the Continuity Creature, but it’s not the first shitty move and it won’t be the last.

  13. I hear mostly everyone complaining about the continuity creature. However I feel that it is what makes the films great and why most people like them. I know as Comic Book fan, I rather have continuity just as in the comic books. I see the films as a alternate universe of reality and all the superheros exist in that same reality. I do not want to see a billion reboots which seems to be what happened with Superman and others. If there is no commercial value then all you get is one movie made and a bunch of pretentious film buffs say how wonderful the movie was that everyone else thought was lame. As comic book fan I hate it when they try to change the characters or story too much like the next Fantastic Four movie. These are comic book movies and are not supposed to be works of Art. It’s a “soap opera” for action junkies and should appeal too the masses. If you want to make a awesome, artistic movie then make something Original and don’t try to change someone else’s idea.

  14. There’s been nine MCU-films and at least one of them was completely wrecked because of continuity (Iron Man 2), while others waste a lot of time on fiddling or out-right retconning the previous movie to fit with the entire universe (Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 & the Avengers).

    People grow old. They finish their contracts and decide not to come back. The audience’s taste changes. Reboots and retcons are inevitable especially in a medium dependent on people being in front of a camera. Fuck continuity, if it makes a movie worse.

    The brand is plenty solid – it’s time to try and expand it, and that requires risks, which Marvel are hesitant to do now, that they’ve made as much money as they have. That said, personally, I’d much rather see an original Edgar Wright-movie than a movie about the lesser Ant-man.

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