MarvelBlog News for November 28th, 2022
This week: we’ve got a seismic shift behind the scenes at Marvel. How much will it impact the MCU?
Plus, we’ve got a glowing box office update in the latest MarvelBlog News!
Everything Old Is New Again
On August 31st, 2009, The Walt Disney Company permanently placed its stamp on the comic book industry.
On that date, Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion. And as I’ve said often since then, on that date, you couldn’t find anyone on Wall Street who liked the deal for Disney.
At the time, The Dark Knight had dwarfed the box office of the still-successful Iron Man. The DC project earned more than $420 million more.
The perception was that DC controlled the more iconic comic book characters.
However, Disney couldn’t touch those since Warner Bros. had effectively owned them since 1970, arguably even 1967.
Disney’s then-CEO, Bob Iger, gambled on the idea that he could integrate the various Marvel brands into a cohesive unit.
Analysts scoffed at the price so much that when George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney several years later, he wouldn’t complete the transaction unless he got more than Disney had paid for Marvel.
As this Reuters article from that day explicitly states, Disney had one goal with its purchase. It needed to indoctrinate a generation of male fans.
While many of Disney’s breakout hits from the 1990s and early 2000s appealed to women, the company hadn’t held the interest of boys.
Iger aimed to change that by cutting a $4 billion check for Marvel. Obviously, that strategy succeeded beyond Iger’s most ambitious hopes.
The MCU recently crossed the $28 billion mark in collective box office. In other words, Iger’s investment has paid for itself multiple times via box office alone.
That’s why all Marvel lovers should pay attention to the shocking turn of events this past week at Disney.
The Board of Directors fired Iger’s replacement, Bob Chapek, as CEO. And the Board replaced him with…Bob Iger.
What Does This Mean for the MCU?
That’s the multi-billion-dollar question here. Fair or not, fans will look back at the Bob Chapek regime with frustration.
While criticisms of the MCU content during his tenure aren’t completely fair, here’s the list of titles:
- Black Widow
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (which is technically Sony)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
- Thor: Love & Thunder
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
- What If…?
- Moon Knight
I could also include Werewolf by Night and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, both of which are excellent.
Still, the reality is that Marvel projects struggled to get off the ground during the pandemic. Many fans deem Phase Four the worst one thus far.
I find those criticisms a bit over the top, and Chapek should get a pass for Black Widow and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, both of which suffered from terrible timing.
Overall, the perception of Marvel is that it’s in a creative slump, though. What’s the most lingering criticism of Chapek? He wasn’t a creative type.
Meanwhile, Iger has proven time and again that he cares about storytelling. In fact, within 24 hours of his return, he reset the company’s infrastructure.
Chapek had previously streamlined the business side of the company to give financial control to an insular group of people.
Iger undid that move, giving budget control back to the people who create Disney stories.
In other words, the next time Kevin Feige wants to make a movie/television show, he’ll speak with another creative, not someone in finance.
For this reason, we can expect storytelling improvements soon. In fact, we may witness a creative renaissance due to the changes at the top.
The Wakanda Forever Update
We learned several things about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever this week, one of which I consider a total lie.
One of the producers of the project discussed the choice of a new Black Panther and swore that Marvel never moved off this decision.
In other words, they locked on one target soon after Chadwick Boseman’s death and never wavered from that opinion.
If you’ve seen the movie, you know why that’s probably not true. Similarly, one of the performers in the film has confirmed that their final scene is canon.
Marvel does have a new ruler of Wakanda, and it’s the one who appeared in the ritual at the end. So, we have a new Avenger AND new Wakandan royalty.
The other interesting takeaway is that Namor could never get any sort of standalone prequel or sequel. You can read the messy licensing details here.
As for the box office, Wakanda Forever has undeniably exceeded expectations with $45.9 million this past weekend and $64 million during the Thanksgiving holiday.
The film sits at $367 million after 17 days in theaters.
Since the Thanksgiving holiday just ended, a box office quirk here is that Black Panther 2 will likely go into sharp decline now, though.
People who wanted to see a movie this past week had every opportunity to do so. The next two weeks at the box office will be frosty at best, at least domestically.
Overall, Black Panther 2 has earned $675.6 million worldwide. For comparison, The Batman managed $771 million, while Thor: Love and Thunder finished with $761 million.
Wakanda Forever should beat both of those totals. The question is whether it’ll reach Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ $955 million or possibly even a billion.
We probably won’t know the answer for another two or three weeks, but this film’s a blockbuster.