Disney boss Robert Iger has fired back at directors Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola after the Oscar winners dissed Marvel’s blockbuster franchise films as “theme park” movies and “despicable.”
“I’m puzzled by it. If they want to bitch about movies, it’s certainly their right,” Iger said in a conversation with Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Matt Murray during a WSJ. Magazine at WSJ Tech Live talk on Tuesday in California.
Iger then pushed back more forcefully at the directors’ comments by saying: “It seems so disrespectful to all the people that work on those [Marvel] films who are working just as hard as the people who work on their films. … Are you telling me Ryan Coogler making ‘Black Panther’ is somehow doing something that is less than what Marty Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola has ever done on any one of their movies?”
Iger capped off his comments by adding, “There I said it.”
Scorsese kicked off the controversy recently when he said in an Empire Magazine interview of the superhero movies, “I don’t see them … that’s not cinema,” and compared the films to theme parks.
After a number of the Marvel films’ directors and writers, including James Gunn and Joss Whedon, criticized Scorsese’s comments, Coppola came to the “Raging Bull” director’s defense at a French film awards ceremony and said publicly, “When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration,” and, “Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”
Said Iger on Tuesday, “I reserve the word ‘despicable’ for someone who committed mass murder. These are movies … I don’t get what they’re trying to criticize us for when we are making films that people obviously are enjoying.”
He added that the film business has “relatively thin margins” and that such successful superhero movies allow the industry to distribute and exhibit other types of films, like the ones Scorsese and Coppola support, to play theaters.
Also speaking at WSJ. Magazine at WSJ Tech Live were Naomi Campbell and Demi Moore, who with Iger are on three separate October covers of WSJ. Magazine.
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