Bob Iger wants to talk movies with Martin Scorsese over a glass of wine. The Disney CEO and chairman was asked about the vaunted director’s recent comments taking down the Marvel franchise, which ignited a ferocious debate about the artistic merit of such movies.
“I don’t think he’s ever seen a Marvel film,” Iger told the BBC in a radio interview, after being read Scorsese’s words. “Anyone who has seen a Marvel movie could not in all truth make that statement.” He added that he does not have a personal relationship with Scorsese, but would enjoy a chat. “I’d like to have a glass of wine with him,” he said. “I like Martin Scorsese – he’s a talented man.”
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Iger defended the Marvel oeuvre. “Marvel is making movies – that’s what Martin Scorsese makes. And they are good movies, good directors and good writers and good actors, good cinematographers, and good costume designers, and good sound engineers, and good editors….These are talented, talented people putting their hard work and talent into making films that entertain people in theaters around the world….They have a good two-hour experience. They come out feeling happy or better about themselves.”
The wide-ranging BBC interview spanned Iger’s career and upbringing, Disney’s deal for Fox, and Disney Plus. About “Star Wars,” he said too many films were made and released in a short period. (The latest film, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” comes out next month.) “I have not said they were disappointing in any way,” Iger said. “I have not said that I am disappointed in performance. I just think there’s something so special about ‘Star Wars’ film and less is more.”
He touted “Star Wars” and other programming on the soon-to-launch Disney Plus streaming service, and defended having put Disney fare on Netflix, which has helped the streamer to become the global SVOD frontrunner. “The first thing we did was an output deal for our movies, and they stepped up and paid us well, well, well above what was the then-going market value,” Iger said. “It was an enormously profitable deal at a time when we had no the ability to launch our own Netflix-like service. We didn’t have the technology, and we didn’t have enough content.”
Iger also talked about Disney’s deal for a raft of 21st Century Fox assets and why Rupert Murdoch sold. “He’d looked at what was going on in the world of media and all the disruption, and he didn’t believe that the hand that they had was as strong as it needed to be,” Iger said. “He didn’t have a solution, and selling was a solution because he could get, at that time, a good piece for it.”
Will there be more mega-deals on Iger’s watch? “Given the fact we have only recently made a big one and we are still absorbing that, and given the fact that I don’t have that much time left in this role, I think it’s probably unlikely another big one occurs,” he said.
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