Film News

No One Actually Knows If Marvel Studios Will Significantly Change Now That Kevin Feige Is Free of Ike Perlmutter

It’s tempting to think that everything bad about Marvel Studios has been the fault of the mercurial CEO Ike Perlmutter and everything good is thanks to President of Production and Co-President of the Studio Kevin Feige.  Ergo, now that Feige has successfully wrestled Marvel Studios away from Perlmutter and will only be answerable to Alan Horn at Disney surely this means the Marvel Cinematic Universe will soon see an influx of pricier directors and happier actors with more generous contracts.  The next Edgar Wright to come along won’t be chased away when he’s so close to the finish line, right?  Plus, Feige can make a harder push towards diversity with female and racial minority-led superhero movies, and reach out to repair the film studio’s currently non-existent relationship with Fox.  That’s not to say Marvel Studios will work out a Spider-Man-esque deal to win back the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises.  It’s more that maybe now Marvel Studios employees will simply be allowed to at least attend the premieres of X-Men movies, something which never happened under Perlmutter’s control.

But the truth is we have no real idea what’s going to happen, and neither does anyone in Hollywood.  After breaking the news earlier this week that Disney had decided to re-organize Marvel, The Hollywood Reporter has posted a follow-up piece filling in some more backstory as to how we got from the iron fist of Ike to the free reign of Feige.  It essentially boils down to the fact that due to the remarkable scale and long list of on-screen talent in next year’s Captain America: Civil War the budget has grown throughout production from something in the standard Captain America/Thor solo movie range (Winter Soldier and The Dark World each cost $170m) to Avengers territory (the first cost $220m, Age of Ultron went up to $250m).  Perlmutter and his New York-based committee of executives from the various divisions of Marvel ordered Feige to “scale it down.”  Having finally been pushed too far by his frugal bosses, Feige probably said something close to “fuck” and “that,” threatening to leave Marvel until Disney’s CEO stepped in to authorize a re-organization.

“New York had a big say for a long time, but hasn’t Kevin earned the right to some autonomy? He’s made the company billions. Why is he reporting to a 72-year-old man who doesn’t make movies?” one insider openly asked THR’s Kim Masters.

I bet Feige smiles a lot more now that he no longer has to deal with Perlmutter

What happens next is a mystery.  When I wrote about this earlier in the week, I argued it would be odd for Marvel Studios to change the way it does things after its business model has helped sustain one of if not the greatest runs for a new film studio in modern box office history. It’s been right up there with Pixar, which similarly used to be its own thing before Disney gobbled it up and then promoted John Lasseter to divide his time between Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, much to the chagrin of Pixar employees.  Some speculate Feige is being groomed to eventually become the John Lasseter to Marvel Studios and LucasFilms, but that’s getting way, way, way ahead of everything.  Kathleen Kennedy would certainly have an interesting opinion on such speculation since she’s the current head of LucasFilms.

One top talent agent echoes my argument that as far as dealmaking is concerned, why on Earth would Marvel change, telling THR, “Why would [Marvel Studios] change? It’s proven to be successful, and everyone still wants to be part of the Marvel Universe.”  Another agent merely hopes to be able to negotiate better deals, “I’m secretly hoping that it gets better with this realignment.  They’re cheap, they’re aggressive. It certainly can’t get any worse.”

Put that on the big white board in the Marvel Studios conference room, Feige: “It certainly can’t get any worse.”  You hear that guys?  Agents despise us so much that they can’t imagine things getting any worse.  Let’s stick it to them and change the laws which prohibit us from signing actors to contracts for longer than 7 years.  We have the power to change that law, right?  We’re Marvel mother f’n Studios.  We can do anything we want to now that Ike is out of the picture.  Maniacal laugh!  Maniacal laugh!

Wow, I just turned Feige into a super-villain.  Don’t know why I did that.  Dude’s always seemed like the nicest and coolest guy in Hollywood.

Anyway, to this point Marvel Studios’ dealmaking has been the responsibility of Perlmutter and Alan Fine.  They’re out now, and what Feige and his co-Marvel Studios presidents do from this point forward is anyone’s guess.  There are signs that a less-restricted Feige is already steering the studio in a more progressive direction, such as the way it has amassed an all-star (translation: not cheap) cast for Doctor Strange and the rumor of a new Blade movie centered around the African-American vampire hunter’s daughter.  Plus, all of a sudden Chris Evans, aka Mr. “I’m going to retire as soon as my Marvel contract expires,” is totally cool with extending his contract.

But from this point forward whatever Marvel Studios’ perceived shortcomings might be there won’t be anyone else to blame.  It’ll all be on Feige.  He seems up to the task, though.

Source: THR


  1. Well, there is this saying “Never change a winning team”. But on the other hand, teams which never look for fresh talent and question their own methods don’t win for a long time. I guess we just have to wait and see if they removed problems or if they just shifted then. One thing for sure, this move gives not only Feige more power, it also allows Disney a more direct influence on Marvel studios. I lean towards it being a good thing in the long run (you look how well the animation studios and Pixar are currently doing), but we will have to wait and see. One thing for sure, without Perlmutter in the picture it might be easier to renew some of the contracts and to talk to Fox about certain rights. And we might finally get some Black Widow merchandise.

      1. Yeah, I know. I just updated the article with that additional bit of news. I imagine this is going to turn into a recurring story. The Marvel Studios divorce with Ike Perlmutter has been so widely covered at this point that it seems inevitable that whenever any of the Marvel actors are on a press tour for a new movie (as Evans currently is for Before We Go, Hemsworth soon will be for In the Heart of the Sea) someone somewhere is going to ask them about their contract status, and like Evans they might come off more optimistic about it now.

      2. Well…I am happy about it. Captain America and Black Widow (and naturally Peggy, but she is sadly stuck in the past) are the characters I would be the most broken up about loosing.

      3. I was not/am not looking forward to seeing Captain American killed off. Tony Stark is funny, Thor is honorable and old-world, Hulk is the conflicted muscle, Ant-Man is the everyman atoning for his past, Black Widow is the extraordinary also atoning for her past, Hawkeye is the everyman who recognizes how crazy it is being an Avenger, Falcon and War Machine are loyal side-kicks, and Vision and Scarlet Witch are a little new to have a complete read on. Captain America seems like the heart of that group, or if not the heart then at least the moral compass. It would be/will be kind of hard to see any of them killed off, especially for those who’ve been around the longest, but even though there’s the comic book precedent for it Captain America is the one whose death I’d mourn the most. I can’t imagine the Marvel Cinematic Universe without him at this point. Although I might mourn Loki’s death, when or if it happens, even harder just because I love Tom Hiddleston so much in that role 🙂

      4. I fully expect Marvel to keep Hiddleston as long as possible and after that deages the character so that we get child-loki for a while.

        The thing is that there are so many flawed heroes out there. It is just so refreshing to have one who doesn’t constantly moped.

      5. That is the funny thing about Loki in the comics. He changes his form all the time. Last I looked, he had reverted to being a young man in maybe his late teens/twenties. Not too long before that, he was in Sif’s body and stuck her soul away in the body of a comatose woman. Doesn’t he also change into a horse sometimes? Gotta love him.

        Agreed about Captain America. There is something so refreshing about how old-fashioned he is.

      6. Don’t read too much into me using the expression “old-fashioned.” That was simply my way of trying to confirm my agreement with your statement, “The thing is that there are so many flawed heroes out there. It is just so refreshing to have one who doesn’t constantly moped.”

      7. I know…it is still sad that he has become the exception instead of the rule. But then the straightforward hero is difficult to pull off well.

  2. A Great read! I have heard a deal was worked out with Fox that is more or less a trade-off. Marvel Studios will help Fox get back on track and in return Marvel will receive rights to Spidey! I can’t wait!

    1. Just to clarify, did you mean to say Sony instead of Fox? Fox has the film rights to Fantastic Four and X-Men, and Sony has the rights to Spider-Man. Marvel and Sony are indeed sharing Spider-Man now, although Sony retains the rights and the lionshare of the film profits. Kevin Feige is Executive Producer of the new Spider-Man movie along with former Sony chief Amy Pascal, and Sony still has a lot of say in what happens in that movie, although they’d be foolish not to defer to Feige’s wisdom. The tradeoff is that Marvel can use Spider-Man in any of its movies, which it’s already leveraged since the new Spider-Man and possibly Aunt May will debut in Captain America: Civil War next May.

      Fox is holding on to X-Men and has multiple of those films in development, with two in post-production – Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse. Fantastic Four, on the other hand, just bombed, and though a sequel is due in 2017 the feeling is that Fox would be insane to move forward. No one can remember an outright box office bomb blindly moving forward with a sequel. Some have tried, but it always falls apart before the cameras start rolling. As such, the hope is that maybe Feige can negotiate a deal to bring Fantastic Four back to Marvel, much like the Sony/Spider-Man deal they have now. However, fox and marvel aren’t saying much about that right now, nor would you really expect them to, not while FF is still making its way through foreign theaters.

      1. No biggie. Honestly, I just wanted to clarify because I had a brief moment of, “Wait, is she saying that Marvel got Fantastic Four back from Fox? Wow. How did I miss that?”

      2. I didn’t even notice that I did that! But alas, I’m just happy we might get to see Spidey as early as CA: Civil War. I’ve been waiting to longgggg!

      3. In the comments section of another article on this site, a friend/reader told me how much he wanted Marvel to adapt Civil War because he wanted to see Spider-Man’s story in that in live-action. When he said that, Amazing Spider-Man 2 hadn’t even come out yet. Sony was still planning the Venom and Sinister Six and rumored female-led Spidey movies. So, I told my friend with complete confidence that the Civil War thing was a nice idea, but it would just never ever happen, at least not with Spider-Man in it.

        After the Sony/Marvel partnership was announced, I went back and re-read those comments to remind myself of how totally wrong I was, and how you never can know for sure what the heck is going to happen with movie deals in Hollywood. It’s going to be so dang cool to see Spider-Man actually interacting with the Robert Downey, Jr. Iron Man and Chris Evans Captain America.

      4. You know I foolishly expected that Spider-Man was going to fly into the first Avengers because I didn’t know about the whole studio conflicts. But now I’m full confident it wi happen!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: