3 years ago1,000+ Views

There's been a shift in power at Marvel studios, and Age of Ultron might have been the tipping point.

Though the film grossed just over a billion dollars (foreign and domestic), it seems that behind closed doors, Disney has been critical of the release. The reviews for the film were less positive than those for the first Avengers movie, and it seems that not enough people went back for a repeat viewing to satisfy the company. From out here, it looks like the film was ridiculously successful. But after watching the restructuring drama at Marvel studios, that might not be the case.
What does any of this have to do with the ousting of Ike Perlmutter?

After working with Perlmutter for years, Feige no longer has to answer to him.

And it sounds like Feige was able to leverage the "failure" of Age of Ultron to his advantage, convincing Disney Executives to give him control of the Marvel films (Perlmutter will still be in charge of the comics and TV series).
"People, basically, didn’t go back for seconds. And as a result, at Disney, it has been dubbed a failure. Which enabled Kevin Feige to use it leverage to push out Isaac Perlmutter, without whom there wouldn’t even be a Marvel Studios. And forced the disbanding of the Marvel Creative Committee a few months ago."

Money has always been an issue.

Perlmutter was famous for cutting corners wherever he could. And the extensive reshoots on Age of Ultron couldn't have been cheap. There are rumors spreading around that said reshoots would not have been necessary had Feige taken the suggestions of the Marvel Creative Committe, a group that has also been disbanded during the power shift.
Full disclosure, I heard rumours long before the release of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, that extensive and expensive re-shoots on the movie could have been avoided if Feige had been receptive to notes. I couldn’t get verification at the time, but, in retrospect, the tea leaves seem to have fallen into place. Could it be that Feige doesn’t want visible second guessing used by the powers that be at Disney – especially when it’s right? Could those notes have saved millions of dollars?

It's not secret that there were problems behind the scenes on Age of Ultron.

Director Joss Whedon blamed the studio for their heavy restrictions on his creative vision. It sounds like Feige is placing the blame on Perlmutter. While neither Perlmutter nor the members of the Creative Committee have commented yet, the pattern here indicates that they'll blame someone else entirely. Why doesn't anyone want to take credit for this movie? All right, maybe it didn't make quite the obscene amount of money projected. And I'll be the first to say that I didn't like it. But by any standard but Marvel's, the movie was ridiculously successful financially. It wasn't their best work, but was it really terrible enough to cause so much drama?

Could it be the fans?

We know Marvel is playing the long game. They have no intention of letting the superhero trend fall out of favor any time soon, and they probably have plans to counteract audience fatigue. Which means that even though the movie did well financially, their reputation might not have come out unscathed. It wasn't just a few well-established reviewers who weren't totally thrilled with the film. Some of the fans were downright pissed.

Your fans are always your harshest critics.

They know what you're capable of, they have the highest expectations, and they'll be the most disappointed if you don't live up to them because they have the most to lose. The financial investment is nothing in comparison to the extremely personal emotional investment fans have. Sure, lots of fans liked the movie. But we could all see where it was rough around the edges. We could all tell there was friction between Whedon and the Studio, long before either one came forward. We pointed out that Black Widow's characterization was completely wrong, long before the actress playing her voiced confusion about the script. We might have loved the fight scenes and the amazing CGI, but none of that was enough to distract us from the somewhat convoluted story or the lack of character development (not just within this movie, but within the cinematic universe as a whole).

So yes, Age of Ultron was a failure.

It failed to live up to the expectations fans had, and it failed to appeal to them in the ways that matter. The question now is: What are Feige and Disney planning on doing about it?
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@tardisdragon7 @shannonl5 I don't watch Agent Carter, but I still agree with the points being made here. especially the fact that kids are more likely to watch the Avengers than Agent Carter. Marvel should do better by having more representation in their more marketed medias. They should recognize where the fans are coming from and what they want/deserve to see. I'm glad to hear that there is representation in at least one of their projects, but with it being the TV spot and not the multi-billion dollar film series, it's not even close to enough. Wasn't there a threat of cancellation for Agent Carter?
@tardisdragon7 @VinMcCarthy you raised a very good point re agent carter. It's on tv, in an unpopular time slot. There was very little investment in it and so fewer people saw it. And yes, it wasn't clear whether or not it would be renewed for a second season. But it was! Thank goodness. You brought up a good point about Star Wars. The same is true of the recent ones- the only prominent female character is Padme. And both Star Wars and The Avengers have a HUGE following among kids. They're also both owned by Disney. There was an article on the Mary Sue a few months ago saying that Disney acquired both franchises to corner the market on boys, since they dominated the girls' market with the Disney princess line. The assumption now is that Disney isn't marketing either franchise to girls because they don't want to compete with themselves by marketing against the princess line. Which of course plays into the tired expectations being placed on kids at a young age. I don't want to go on a rant about that and derail this great convo but I think that's a contributing factor to what we're seeing here.
@shannonl5 @VinMcCarthy Exactly! I grew up late 90s to early 2000s, and I was practically raised on Star Wars, Disney, and the beginning of Marvel's movie empire. Since I can remember Disney has dominated the princess market, there seems to be no other competition. So I can understand why they would feel the need to buy two male-marketed franchises. That's just smart business sense, and I applaud them on it. However, when SEVERAL female fans and even one of the stars of your movies (Mark Ruffalo sent a tweet asking for Black Widow merchandise because his daughters wanted some) are asking for more female merchandise and representation, I think that's a sign that you should do it. Besides, the idea that they don't want to compete with themselves is idiotic. I would rather compete with my own company than another one. I don't see Black Widow and Scarlet Witch merchandise causing a decrease in Disney princess merchandise sales. In fact, I think Disney would make more money, considering the amount of requests for this particular merchandise, and the fact that not every girl is a Disney princess fan. By adding Black Widow and Scarlet Witch merchandise, they would have a better chance of capturing (for lack of a better word) the few who aren't princess fans, not to mention those who are both princess and Avengers fans, who may buy twice the merchandise if they had twice the options.
For sure @tardisdragon7 I definitely think it's not a good tactic. It's also foolish because honestly, The Avengers are a little more grown-up, while the Princesses aren't as much. I'm sure there are plenty of adults that still love the princesses, and plenty of young kids that love the Avengers, but in terms of marketing the age demographics for the two are very different. I wonder if Disney is basing this tactic off Pirates of the Caribbean? It was their first foray into the PG-13 world and the most popular character across the board was Jack Sparrow. Personally I think that had to do with the charismatic actor playing the character and the fact that his costume lent itself better to merchandise, but there could have been other factors at play as well. I do think it is a little bit ridiculous that Disney isn't branching out more. There's obviously a demand! At this point they're so powerful, it feels like it doesn't even matter if there's not a market for something- they can MAKE a market for it because they have so much industry power. But internally there isn't as much effort being made. Perlmutter was actually one of the strongest voices against female-driven media, and right now it seems like the parts of Marvel he's in control of (the comics and the tv shows) are actually more progressive than the films. They're much smaller markets, so I suppose they're viewed as less risky, but it's still a shame. And I think it goes to show that the voices at the top don't care about the impression they're leaving unless they think it will change how much money they're making. And right now, it doesn't seem to be. Unless of course they realize that one of the key failures of AoU was the lack of good character development- across the board but particularly for Natasha and Wanda.
@DigitalJediX this is another really good talk the community had! Age of Ultron seemed to do really well, but rumor has it that Disney execs weren't happy with the reception. Do you think that's why Whedon isn't returning?