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Disney CEO fires back at Coppola and Scorsese’s anti-Marvel comments

Marvel movies

Well, I have to confess. I didn’t think the news cycle emanating from legendary director Martin Scorsese’s fuddy-duddy criticism that Marvel movies aren’t ‘cinema’ would last as long as it has, partly because it’s of the “Sheesh, kids today” variety and so clearly a bit elitist. But then everybody started piling on. Actors like Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr., along with Marvel directors James Gunn and Joss Whedon and others all rushed to the defense of the superhero movie genre in general and to Marvel specifically. But then venerable Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola saw Scorsese’s comments and decided to up the ante, blasting Marvel films as “despicable.”

Not to be outdone, Disney CEO Bob Iger — the executive whose media company owns Marvel — has now come out swinging himself, rushing to the defense of his company’s Marvel division and lamenting that the two director’s anti-Marvel comments are “disrespectful” (We’ll have to wait and see if this finally puts the issue to bed or not).

“Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese are 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,” Iger said in response to a question about this Tuesday night at a Wall Street Journal conference in Laguna Beach. “But when Francis uses the words ‘those films are despicable,’ I’d reserve the word ‘despicable’ for someone who had committed mass murder.”

Disney, you’ll recall, is a little less than three weeks away now from launching its new streaming service Disney+ which will among other things be the streaming home for Marvel movies as well as new Marvel-themed TV shows that Disney has commissioned.

“If they want to bitch about movies it’s certainly their right,” Iger continued, fired up about what he sees as an unfair challenge to the juggernaut that Marvel movies have become at the box office (with Avengers: Endgame now the biggest box office success of all time). “It seems so disrespectful to all the people who work on those films who are working just as hard as the people who are working on their films and are putting their creative souls on the line just like they are.”

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Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.