Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is not only one of the most important creatives in the Disney fold, but arguably in all of Hollywood. Yet, things could have gone in a very different direction, as Feige nearly left Marvel several years back due to clashes with Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter. Luckily, Disney CEO Bob Iger intervened and got the ship moving in the right direction.
Bob Iger recently released a new book called The Ride of a Lifetime, documenting his experience as Disney's CEO. One part of the book details this clash between Kevin Feige and another executive before the Marvel hierarchy was restructured. As Iger tells it, Feige was clashing with the New York office over both Black Panther and Captain Marvel, an unnamed executive, believed to be Ike Perlmutter, doubted those movies could be legitimate hits around the time that Captain America: Civil War was being developed. Here's how Iger explains it in the book.
"Kevin is one of the most talented film executives in the business, but my sense was that the strained relationship with New York was threatening his continued success. I knew I had to intervene, and so in May 2015, I made the decision to split Marvel's movie-making unit off from the rest of Marvel and bring it under Alan Horn and the Walt Disney Studios. Kevin would now report directly to Alan, and would benefit from his experience, and the tensions that had built up between him and the New York office would be alleviated."
As it turns out, that proved to be the right call. Since 2015, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has exploded in popularity. Both Black Panther and Captain Marvel were massive hits at the box office, grossing more than $1 billion globally. Black Panther also scored a Best Picture Oscar nomination and won Marvel Studios its first Academy Awards.
Meanwhile, eight of the ten highest-grossing entries in the MCU came after 2015, with this year's Avengers: Endgame overtaking James Cameron's Avatar to become the biggest movie ever. While there are near countless filmmakers and individuals owed credit for these accomplishments, Kevin Feige is the captain of the ship and is certainly owed a great deal of credit. Would any of this have been the same without him? Or would some other studio be benefiting from his proven genius?
The future is bright for the MCU. Despite the recent loss of Spider-Man, who is now back in Sony's hands fully, the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises are in Kevin Feige's hands, thanks to the Fox merger. We're also seeing more diversity in the MCU, with movies like Eternals and Thor: Love and Thunder, both of which will feature LGBTQ characters. Plus, Black Widow is finally getting a sorely deserved solo movie. Bob Iger, fortunately, has the vision to understand keeping Feige was essential. The Ride of a Lifetime is available now through Penguin Random House.