Ok so we’ve all heard at this point that Marvel Studios CEO Kevin Feige is now reporting directly to Disney Studios CEO instead of Marvel’s CEO. On the surface it just looks like a typical business movie. Disney wants to tighten the reign on their movie property. Makes sense right?
But then we start seeing things like "Disney considers Age of Ultron a failure" (a movie that has made 1.4 billion dollars by the way), or "Feige is happy to get out from under Ike Perlmutter", saying he was trying to be too controlling. So basically it’s already turning into a he said she said situation.
But what does really mean for Marvel films in the long run? Are we going to see major changes in how they are made? Are they going to suffer? Or get better? As the consumer we really want to know these things. Well, all I can do is speculate, so take this with a grain of salt, but let’s look at this objectively.
While Marvel is in complete control of their films they are maintaining creative control over every aspect. Specifically things like how the characters are represented on the big screen. Assuring that the stories pay homage to their comic book roots without being a slave to them. And in general assuring a movie is being made that truly represents the comic book world these books are born from.
Now let’s take a look when comic book company doesn’t have any creative control over the film being made. Hmm we end up with movies like the most recent Fantastic Four where none of the charters were true to their comic book counterparts. X3 where characters had their powers swapped or changed for no apparent reason other than the director’s whim. Oh and Batman and Robin, ‘nuff said. Look I am not saying Marvel will put out a Batman and Robin style movie, I’m just pointing out the worst case scenarios when the people who work with the characters the most (the comic book writers and artists) aren’t involved with the film.
And I know Fiege is a fanboy and he’s still in charge. But is he a fanboy of Marvel, or of the universe he created? Marvel every once in a while does a creative summit. Where all the top Marvel minds get together and plan out the stories for the upcoming comics. Well Brian Michael Bendis has recently revealed that at the last couple of these retreats they had some of the movie writers join them and they all consulted on the scripts that were being worked on. This I am sure was being done to assure the tone of the movies fit with the comics. But now that Disney is taking more control will they still let this happen? Or will they see this as an issue and put a stop to it. I personally feel that these summits are what assure a cohesive voice in the MCU. I hope this doesn’t change.
Look I know it’s also easy to say, the movies are working Disney does not have to get too involved, just let them be. Sounds so wonderful, but them making a move like this is a sign they are getting involved. They are already sinking their claws into the comic book side of things, we just aren’t hearing about it as much, because it isn’t as big of news. But I have several friends that work for Marvel. When Disney first took over they were all like, it’s fine, Disney doesn’t get involved, they let us do our own thing and leave us alone. And starting last year I kept hearing it’s starting to not be fun to work over at Marvel. And one of the biggest thing is Disney is starting to make editorial decisions on some of the comic book art. I know of one story in particular where a cover artist had his idea sent back to him twice because Disney didn’t like what he had done for the cover. That’s not a company being hands off, especially in a business they really don’t know and aren’t in, not at the level of Marvel anyway.
So now they are aligning themselves to be more involved with the Marvel movies. A business they are already in. It took 6 years, but now they seem to want control. Did they really think AoU was a failure and they feel they need to take tighter control to avoid another failure like that? Seems silly, but sometimes heads of business do silly things.
Also we need to keep in mind that Disney bought Marvel for a specific reason. Does anyone remember what that is? They wanted the young male demographic. You can’t argue that for the longest time they’ve ruled the young girl demographic with the Disney Princess thing, but boys didn’t have an interest in Disney. So they bought 2 of the biggest franchises in the world to gain control of this demographic. Maybe they aren’t yet seeing the return on the investment they were looking for. I can enjoy the Marvel movies as much as the next 40 year old comic book fan, but I’m not who Disney wants to appeal to. Think of Young Justice vs Teen Titan Go. Yes obviously Young Justice appeals to the true comic book fan, but it doesn’t sell toys. So it got cancelled and Teen Titans Go took its place. A childish silly show that does appeal to the core demographic that buys toys. So maybe AoU didn’t attract the demographic Disney wanted to, so that’s why they considered it a failure. Again that’s just a maybe.
So these are just things as I see it right now, again we need to wait for the dust to settle and see where this goes. Hopefully it doesn’t change much and we’ll all continue to enjoy the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For more about me and the comic book industry check out my podcast Super Hero Speak. Click here for the latest episode live from Philly Pod Fest 2015: http://media.blubrry.com/superherospeak/superherospeak.com/wp/PodCasts/SHSEp120.mp3