Okay, now this Marvel Studios drama is just getting ridiculous. The latest rumor alleges that Avengers: Age of Ultron was considered a “failure” by Disney, and this is why Marvel Studios was taken over by Disney. Or at least that’s what’s being told to Bleeding Cool.
According to the rumor, Avengers: Age of Ultron didn’t make as much money as The Avengers and didn’t get as many positive reviews, and therefore Disney felt that clearly the ship was listing and needed righting. I’m sure Bleeding Cool is just reporting what somebody’s saying to them, but it doesn’t exactly hold up under scrutiny.
Let’s start with what matters in Hollywood: The money. The Avengers, it is true, made about $200 million more than Age of Ultron. Then again, that’s comparing $1.6 billion to $1.4 billion, even if the sequel made more money overseas than in the U.S., and thus slightly less came back to Disney coffers. Furthermore, Age of Ultron only cost about $30 million more than the original. Making twice your budget, as a rule of thumb, means your movie breaks even; Disney likely made a fortune off Age of Ultron. This isn’t even getting into the almost ridiculous amount of product placement in the movie. Perhaps the movie didn’t move quite as much merchandise; a quick poke around the Internet found no credible numbers either way. Still, Disney’s going to make a mint off just the movie and its home video release, so we can’t assume the money is an issue.
Next, let’s talk about reviews. Anybody who has ever spent any time hanging around a movie theater knows Hollywood studios could not care less about the reviews of summer blockbusters, but let’s say for the sake of argument that Disney has decided recently that reviews are important. A quick look at Metacritic shows there’s a vast gulf of… three points between the two movies. Granted, it doesn’t do as well at Rotten Tomatoes, which has the first movie at 92 percent from critics and 91 percent from audiences and the second at 74 percent and 86 percent. But that’s hardly Batman and Robin level tanking with the critics.
One suspects the issue is less to do with the money or reviews and more to do with the risks Marvel didn’t take. As the movie has come out and inexplicable blame has started flying, it’s become clear that Joss Whedon and Marvel butted heads over the movie. Worse, they were butting heads over parts that needed to be cut.
Combine that with the equally messy creative struggles over Ant-Man and that movie’s good-not-great performance, and it’s credible Disney saw a problem they needed to fix before it went off the rails. But choosing to fix that problem by essentially firing everyone except Kevin Feige? Yeah, no. Disney already had a power play ready to go; they just saw a good time to use it.
(Via Bleeding Cool)