If the Marvel Cinematic Universe were a building, it'd be the Burj Khalifa. If it were a mountain, it'd be Mount Everest. If it were an animal, it'd be a blue whale. If it were a planet, it'd be Jupiter. Basically, I'm sure you get the point: It's massive.
Such is the allure of Marvel's crème de la crème, both solo movies and ensemble flicks have a huge sway at the box office, and balances the challenge of pleasing fans and critics alike. As a result, Marvel studios has built a reputation for being exemplars when it comes to the superhero genre.
It Could've Been So Different
But, not so long ago, before the MCU was launched with Iron Man in 2008, Marvel wasn't shy about casting off their creative efforts for parts; Spider-Man slung his way to Sony (before recently returning in joint ownership), Charles Xavier and crew absconded to Fox, hell, even Iron Man was at New Line Cinema for a while.
Swoosh forward to 2016, and we're about to embark on Captain America: Civil War, another highly anticipated and gleefully reviewed ensemble film. The titular American hero — played by Chris Evans — is a huge draw for the MCU. However, things could've been far different had Marvel producer, Steve Maisel, not stepped in at the right time.
A Universe Without Captain America Or Thor?
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Maisel shed some light on the companies strategy a few years back. It turns out, prior to the MCU forming and snowballing into a global powerhouse, Marvel was close to selling off the rights for both Captain America and Thor (portrayed by Chris Hemsworth). Maisel said:
"If I had gotten there three months, six months later, those deals would have been done. And there would be no chance to bring all these characters together."
Maisel was also instrumental in shaking up the way Marvel worked, moving from a latent, small-time studio used to selling on its properties, to a company taking control of its narrative and crafting a huge, fictional universe like we know today.
With the deal already on the table, Maisel had to convince Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter, the Marvel CEO, that moving down a different pathway was worthwhile, and would bring more money in the long run. He added:
"Ike will challenge your argument and your logic in a tough way sometimes, but he will listen, and eventually I convinced him to support what I needed to do to at least try to make a studio."
A Multi-Billion Dollar Franchise
Fortunately, Maisel did enough to convince others that creative control was the right way to go, and the rest, as they say, is history. Since Iron Man opened the brave new world of the shared universe, Marvel's 12 released movies have grossed over $9 billion.
Had they sold off the rights to Cap and Thor, the MCU would've missed out on Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013). And that's not to mention Civil War or the character's contribution to the Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
Captain America: Civil War is released TODAY (May 6)!
Who is your favorite MCU superhero?
Source: The Hollywood Reporter