Bob Iger Defends Avengers Against Critics
Speaking at WSJ Tech Live, Disney CEO Bob Iger said he “doesn’t get it” when filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola target Marvel films with words like “despicable.”
Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger pushed back forcefully at criticism from acclaimed Hollywood directors Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola about Marvel Studios’ superhero movies, saying it was disrespectful to the people who work on successful films that audiences enjoy.
Talking with Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Matt Murray, Iger said, “It doesn’t bother me, except I’m bothered on behalf of the people who work on those movies.”
However, as the interview went on, it was very clear in the video that Mr. Iger was very bothered by some of the critique.
“[Scoresese and Coppola] don’t see how the audience is reacting to them,” continued Iger. “They’re entitled to their opinions… but when Francis uses the words ‘those films are despicable’ – I’d reserve the word ‘despicable’ for someone who committed mass murder.
“These are movies,” he continued. “To whom is he talking?
“Is he talking to Kevin Feige who runs Marvel or Taika Waititi who directs or Ryan Coogler who directs for us; or Scarlet Johannson or Chad Boseman – I can name a number of people — Robert Downey Jr. — I don’t quite get what they’re trying to criticise us for when we’re making films that people are, obviously enjoying going to because they’re doing so by the millions,” he said.
Iger explained that Disney’s films, and other blockbuster films, give theater companies the opportunity to fill their seats and give lesser known fare a chance in their cineplexes. Furthermore, the always natilly attired Iger, dressed for the interview in a demure, Mr. Rogers-like cardigan, was anything but neighborly when he said, “I think I’ve sounded, maybe, a little more defensive than I wanted to be but I don’t really feel a need to defend what we’re doing.
“First of all, we’re in the business of making money, we’re a profitable business, at the same time at Disney we’re trying to balance that with telling great stories to the world and infusing them with great values.
“I’m puzzled by it and If they want to bitch about movies it’s certainly their right,” added Iger, who continued, saying, “It seems so disrespectful to all the people who work on those films, who are working just as hard as the people who work on their films and are putting their creative souls on the line, just like they are.
“Are you going to tell me that Ryan Coogler, making Black Panther, is doing something that is somehow or other less-than what Marty Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola have ever done on any one of their movies?
“It’s like, come on. There, I said it,” he added.
Then, Iger, looking sheepish, seemed buoyed by the crowd reaction; support, applause and a “we love you guys.”
“Yeah!” said a smiling Iger.
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Headline Photo Credit: The Wall Street Journal