What if… Kevin Feige left Marvel for Scarlett Johansson’s costume and drama at Disney?

Tracking potential ripple effects across Hollywood if Kevin Feige ever left Disney’s Marvel Studios. Emma McIntyre / WireImage

Hell doesn’t have a fury like a despised Hollywood executive.

In 2015, Kevin Feige, big boss of Marvel Studos threatened to leave Marvel because of the growing tensions between him and former Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter. To smooth things over, then CEO Bob Iger restructured the hierarchy so that Feige would report directly to him. Crisis averted. But Hollywood is a constantly swirling storm where the seas rarely stay calm for long.

In a recent What I hear … newsletter from the old Hollywood journalist editor Matthew Belloni, it was reported that Feige had pushed Disney to keep Black Widow as an exclusive theatrical release to avoid alienating Scarlett Johansson. Obviously, this did not happen. Johansson is now suing Disney and the Mouse House castigates her in the press, to attract anger of Women in Film, ReFrame and Time’s Up in the process.

“[Feige is] a corporate man, and not inclined to corporate confrontations or shouting matches. But I am told that he is angry and embarrassed, ”Belloni reports. “He lobbied Disney against the day-and-date plan to Black Widow, preferring exclusivity on the big screen and not wanting to upset his talent.

“It would be like Thanos snaps his fingers and half of Disney’s riches are gone immediately.”

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most successful creation in Hollywood history. Feige is unlikely to leave the empire he built, especially after having been in control of his entire onscreen existence. But just like the next MCU animated series What if…, which explores alternate timelines, it’s fair to wonder what would happen if Feige left his throne.

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Marvel boss Kevin Feige. Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Hollywood disputes are nothing new

High-profile battles between artisans and their bosses have become an age-old fate in Hollywood. Whenever you have a creative who relies on others to provide the financial and marketing resources, you are bound to encounter some level of occasional friction. But you can also see how these relationships become so successful. When all the dynamics work in sync, there is no better formula, especially when the creative side is left on its own after developing a track record of success.

“There are always issues between those who are on the creative side of the ledger and those who are on the financial side,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore told Observer. “Any studio has to weigh the cost-benefit ratio of working with a talent or a head of a creative studio. However, in this case with Feige, he’s so committed to the brand and part of Marvel’s DNA.

“Any studio has to weigh the cost-benefit ratio of working with a talent or a head of a creative studio. However, in this case with Feige, he’s so committed to the brand and part of Marvel’s DNA.

It’s impossible to dispute the MCU’s track record with nearly $ 23 billion at the global box office and a thriving small-screen kingdom on Disney +.

Today, all of Hollywood’s infrastructure and standard operating procedure is undergoing a transformation. The pandemic has upset the traditional business model and accelerated distribution changes. Uncertainty lurks around every frame of footage, every corner of the cinema on the sticky floor, and every vague platitude about the mysterious streaming audience. With so much instability hanging over the industry, every studio that has a successful designer wants to keep them happy and in the fold.

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Tom Hiddleston in Marvel’s Loki.

What if Feige left …

If Feige left Marvel Studios, there would be immediate financial fallout for parent company Disney and skepticism about the future stature of the MCU franchise.

“If Kevin Feige left the Marvel Empire, it would be like Thanos snaps his fingers and half of Disney’s riches disappear immediately. I think it’s an integral part of that part, ”Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, told Observer.

Marvel uses a deep-rooted producer-centric model that maintains this sprawling multimedia shared cinematic universe like a successful tornado of organized chaos. Replacing the stewardship of such a leviathan is possible, but not without immense difficulties and a few raised eyebrows at key connection points in the Hollywood industrial and commercial complex.

“Phase 4 of the MCU has only just begun …”

“Disney stocks would clearly suffer if Feige left,” Steve Birenberg, founder of Northlake Capital Management, told Observer. “Beyond the loss of the most important leader of what is arguably the most important intellectual property of the company, the timing would be bad as Phase 4 of the MCU is just beginning and leaves some sure winners behind. for new characters and stories. I suspect that another executive could run Marvel and still produce a lot of great movies and TV shows, but Wall Street would experience significant new uncertainty and cut Disney shares.

As a type of entertainment strategy recently noted, the media stock has moved away from the bottom line success and towards the potential for future growth. Removing Feige, the engine that powers the MCU’s current and future success, would likely make investors nervous. It’s bad for business, and the ripple effect of the lower share price would impact other areas of the business.

Marvel Black Widow Box Office Disney + Premier Access Explained

Scarlett Johansson sues Disney over exit profit sharing Black Widow Marvel studios

Free agency

Every studio or parent company wants designs under their umbrella that are guaranteed to make money. Now that the apple basket has been turned upside down by the pandemic, standard Hollywood business practices constantly changing, there are going to be a lot of reassessments in the industry. This will be an evolutionary scenario for any creative unhappy with their current situation.

“Anyone of this caliber – not just producers or showrunners – they are empire runners that encompass many screens and the physical world,” Dergarabedian said. “The sky is truly the limit of what I consider to be the first level of successful designs on the market. Feige is a universe on itself. ”

“You know DC / WB would be the next obvious landing spot, and Disney doesn’t want to give its competitors the keys to their magical kingdom.”

There are pros and cons to hitting the open market. For one thing, a splashing free agent is often the shiny, shiny object any studio adores. You can make a lot more money when the demand is high and there is only one of you available. But things can quickly escalate in a new business, and it comes with risk. Blackish The creator ended his nine-figure deal with Netflix halfway because he didn’t want to create the “in the middle” content he claims the streamer asked him to do. “Netflix has become CBS,” he said noted. Ouch.

At the same time, we saw JJ Abrams sign a $ 500 million deal with WarnerMedia, Netflix handing out several nine-figure sums to Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy and the The iron Throne creators. Christopher Nolan’s impending free agency is likely to spark a massive bidding war. ViacomCBS just donated South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone a $ 900 million extension. Feige’s mad scientist services would be a welcome boon to any studio.

“Plus, you know DC / WB would be the next obvious landing spot, and Disney doesn’t want to give its competitors the keys to their magical kingdom,” Bock said. “His free agency would probably be the biggest on record. So for that reason alone, I suspect colder heads will prevail and this will all be swept under the rug very soon. “


Movie Math is a chairside analysis of Hollywood strategies for big news.

What if… Kevin Feige left Marvel because of the drama reported to Disney?


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