Disney CEO Defends Marvel Movies After Scorsese And Coppola Criticize Them

"If they want to bitch about movies, it's certainly their right."


A lot of people have a lot to say about Marvel movies in the wake of the negative comments about them from Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, has now weighed in on the drama with a take of his own.

Speaking at the WSJ Tech Live event in Laguna Beach, the CEO responded specifically to how Coppola said Marvel movies are "despicable." Iger said "despicable" is a word he reserves for mass murderers, adding that saying such a thing about Marvel movies is disrespectful to the many people who work on them.

"I reserve the word 'despicable' for someone who committed mass murder," Iger said. "These are movies."

Scorsese and Coppola also are failing to understand how the Marvel movie audience is reacting to and appreciating the MCU films, Iger said.

"It doesn't bother me, except I am bothered on behalf of the people who work on those movies," Iger said. "I don't take it personally. [Scorsese and Coppola] don't see how the audience is reacting to [Marvel movies], first of all. They're entitled to their opinions."

"Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese are two people I hold in the highest regard in terms of the films they've made, the films I've liked, the films we've all watched. When Francis [says] those films are despicable, to whom is he talking? Is he talking to Kevin Feige who runs Marvel or is he Taika Waititi who directs or Ryan Coogler who directs for us or Scarlett Johansson or Chad Boseman? I could name a number of people, Robert Downey Jr. So I don't quite get what you're trying to criticize use for when we're making films that people are obviously enjoying going to because they're doing so by the millions."

Iger went on to say when any big movie performs well at the box office, a studio can reinvest that money into funding smaller movies that also can find an audience, even if it isn't as big. He added that Disney's movie-making teams are putting their heart and soul into their films, just like those who work on Scorsese and Coppola's movies. He also said that Black Panther director Ryan Coogler achieved something with his movie that Scorsese and Coppola never have.

"I don't feel a need to defend what we're doing," Iger said. "We're in the business of making money; we're a profitable business. We're trying to balance that with telling great stories to the world and infusing them with great values and supporting an employee base of well over 200,000 people around the world with great care and frankly respect.

"So I just don't ... I'm puzzled by it. If they want to bitch about movies, it's certainly their right. It seems so disrespectful to all the people who work on those films, who are working just as hard as the people who work on [Scorsese and Coppola's films]. Putting their creative souls on the line just like [Scorsese and Coppola are]. You're telling me Ryan Coogler making Black Panther is doing something that is somehow or another less than what Marty Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola have ever done, on any one of their movies? C'mon. There, I said it."

The WSJ's video upload of Iger's speech cuts out the part where he spoke about how he reserves the word "despicable" for mass murderers, but he did say it, according to people who were in the audience.

Scorsese, the Oscar-winning director behind Goodfellas, The Departed, Taxi Driver, and The Wolf of Wall Street, made waves when he said Marvel movies are "not cinema." Coppola, the five-time Oscar winning director behind The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, backed up Scorsese's comments and went further, saying Marvel movies are "despicable."

Scorsese and Coppola are two of the most esteemed directors in the history of cinema, and they have every right to share their thoughts on the film business, according to Iron Man director Jon Favreau.

Just because Scorsese and Coppola do not seem to enjoy superhero movies, Marvel, DC, and other will of course continue to make them and fans won't stop enjoying them.

"Like westerns and gangster movies (and before that, just MOVIES), not everyone will be able to appreciate them, even some geniuses. And that's okay," Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn said.

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