With how successful Marvel President Kevin Feige has been, this comes as a real shock!
Of the many properties which Disney has acquired over the years, the two most successful have been Pixar and Marvel. While Pixar holds the title for ratings, with titles like Toy Story (1995) still having 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, Marvel takes the trophy when it comes to the box office. Avengers: Endgame (2019) still holds the second slot for the highest-grossing movie of all time, and other Marvel Studios productions aren’t far behind. So, why was fire the man behind it?
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In 2015, the Marvel Cinematic Universe had just begun to find real footing. The Avengers (2012) had just been released three years prior; Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) had both breathed new life into the franchise, and things were progressing. There were even new heroes about to be introduced in Ant-Man (2015) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). While it was far from where it is today, the wheels were rolling, and it seemed like the studio was on fire!
Sometimes it takes friction to make fire. A report from The Direct covers some comments made by Disney CEO Bob Iger that reveal that Marvel president Kevin Feige almost lost his job that very year. According to Iger, after Marvel had been acquired by Disney, former Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter began voicing his opinion that Feige should be dismissed; fortunately for Feige and for Marvel fans, Bob Iger recognized his potential and stepped in:
“In 2015, he was intent on firing Kevin Feige, who was running Marvel Studios, or the movie making, at the time, and I thought that was a mistake, and stepped in to prevent that from happening. I think Kevin is an incredibly, incredibly talented executive. The Marvel track record speaks for itself, and so I moved the movie-making operation of Marvel out from under Ike into the movie studio.”
While Iger refused to comment on whether or not this spurred some bad blood between Perlmutter, himself, and Feige, he did mention that there was some “unhappiness” that continues to this day. This could also explain why the former CEO of Marvel threw his weight behind the now-defunct campaign to put Nelson Peltz on the Disney board of directors. Iger explains the two had a working relationship for years, and with Nelson’s noted antipathy towards Iger, it would make sense to have someone jilted like Perlmutter in his corner.
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In any case, it turned out Iger’s intervention to keep Feige around was an extremely wise decision. Just four short years later, Marvel Studios would release the second highest-grossing movie of all time. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had and continues to have a large and endeared fanbase, passionate about the characters and stories told by the studio, due in large part to the guidance of Marvel President Kevin Feige.
What do you think about Feige almost getting fired? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!