Avi Arad Deserves More Credit Than Kevin Feige For MARVEL Cinematic Universe?
Before 2005, Marvel was generating income from comic books, toys, and license deals with Hollywood studios that adapted their comics into films. But after witnessing studios mishandling their properties, as with The Punisher, Daredevil, and Elektra, the company decided to become a presence in Hollywood. To do so, they needed funds. That is when they struck a deal with Merril Lynch. They received $525 million, but had to use the film right's of 10 Marvel characters as collateral: Captain America, The Avengers, Nick Fury, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Cloak & Dagger, Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, Power Pack, and Shang-Chi. Paramount was also included in the deal, and was structured in such a way that "Marvel would pick up the first 5% of gross as a producer's fee, then Paramount would recoup distribution costs and its fees, and then Marvel would keep the rest." For the first time Marvel had complete creative control and quickly went to work on their first live-action film, Iron Man. Its success led to the birth of the Marvel cinematic universe. So, who is responsible for setting things into motion?
The man that produced The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Avi Arad, was irked by a recent article published by Bloomberg's Business Week which pinned a lot of Marvel's cinematic success on Kevin Feige. He's responded with a letter detailing his contributions.
Last month, Devin Leonard of businessweek.com, wrote an article: "The Pow! Bang! Bam! Plan to Save Marvel, Starring B-List Heroes." In it, Devin placed most of the credit for the Marvel cinematic universe succeeding upon the shoulder's of Kevin Feige, who is currently the president of Marvel Studios. Though, the piece has irked Avi Arad, who held corporate positions as Chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel and a Marvel director, until he resigned in 2006. Here's the part of the article in which Avi Arad has taken particular exception to.
Finally, Marvel decided to create its own studio. In 2005 it put up as collateral the film rights to characters it still controlled, such as Captain America and Nick Fury, and got $525 million in financing from Merrill Lynch. Arad, who had doubts about the strategy, resigned the following year. Feige was named studio chief in 2007. He was 33 years old, and he was in charge of Hollywood’s first major independent movie studio since DreamWorks.
Avi Arad disagrees with that assertion and has sent out an email in response (via Daily Mars ), hoping to cast a light upon this matter.
“Good morning Devin. As usual you manage to disappoint me with your false statements. I am sure you were told by Marvel that I resigned over the self-financing strategy. It is about time for a reporter like you to do your homework and check the facts. It will sound arrogant to you, but I single handedly put together the Marvel slate. Read it carefully and you will notice the natural progression of the character’s design to get to where we are today. You should reach out to Merill Lynch and Ambac Insurance and to our international partners that came on board based on my track record. Our financial partners counted on my reputation. I had to work very hard to convert the doubters. They trusted me and without Iron Man this article would have not been written. Iron Man was not even in the original slate. I knew that we needed it so I set out to get it back from Newline and the rest is history. Our financing would have never happened without me reaching out to Brad Grey to make a distribution deal that will give you a corporate guarantee. Other people in Marvel worked for many months with Universal and could not reach a deal. I got tired of waiting and went to Brad. The deal was done in days, successful for both companies. The big presentation to financial institutions and insurance companies took place on the Paramount lot. I was the presenter and it worked. Does this sound to you like someone who disagreed with the strategy to make our own movies? I have forgiven Kevin for following orders and taking the credit, but he had no choice. Shame on you for kowtowing to your business gods. I have given up on journalistic integrity. You called me to talk about Kevin and I gave you the most true and glowing account on someone that I love and respect. Share your notes otherwise you just wasted my time. I will share this letter with other papers and your management to demonstrate the unprofessional self-serving work this reporter demonstrated.” - Avi Arad
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