Ike Perlmutter is not being painted in the best of lights in the recent book, MCU: The Reign of Marvel, with the book revealing some of the deepest behind-the-scenes information about the billion-dollar franchise. The businessman has especially received the short end of the stick, with his true intentions, priorities, and behaviors in the early years of Marvel being revealed for the whole world to see. On top of the book revealing the facts that he did not want to cater to a female audience and focus his attention on male superheroes, as he did not believe that female superheroes were something people wanted to see, another piece of information has come afloat.
This one has to do with him and Marvel Studios itself, more specifically, the measures that they would take to save money. While every company goes through this phase at some point, it is concerning to find out just how far out into the MCU, these practices were happening.
Marvel Was Desperate To Save Money
At the start of any company’s journey to success, it is expected that they would be cautious about their spending to a ridiculous extent. One would expect that the same was the case for Marvel Studios, however, with how much success it gained after the release of Robert Downey Jr’s 2008 Iron Man, it would have never had to look back at these types of ways. This was not the case in actuality, as was revealed in MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios. It mentioned that these cost-cutting methods became something that it was well-known for.
“They were cheap. They were very cheap,” James Gunn remembered. When he first went to the Marvel Studios offices for a meeting about Guardians of the Galaxy, he couldn’t believe that he was in the headquarters of a studio making billion-dollar movies. “I was sitting in an office that seemed to be constructed of cardboard and scotch tape.””
James Gunn revealed that when he was having a meeting with the studio to talk about Guardians of the Galaxy, a film that was released in 2014, he noticed how cheap Marvel was simply based on the office he was sitting in, which he described to look like it was being held together by cardboard and tape. Chris Fenton, a distributor, revealed a similar instance, where he noticed that the reception of their office in New York had no seating arrangements, so he was led into a conference room.
“Chris Fenton visited the office, he described it, more tactfully, as “unassuming and a bit disheveled.” The reception area had no seats, so Fenton was told to wait in a conference room furnished with a large table and a dozen chairs. “None of them matched,” he observed. Fenton sat down in one chair, which collapsed underneath him. “Shit,” the receptionist said, “I forgot to warn you about the chairs.””
Here, he revealed that all of the chairs on the table were mismatched. When he tried to sit down, the chair broke on him, to which, he was told by the receptionist that she forgot to tell him about the chairs and the fact that they were not stable, perhaps only there for show.
Ike Perlmutter Enforeced These
These were measures taken by Marvel Studios collectively, however, they were enforced by the then-CEO himself, Ike Perlmutter, who was extremely vigilant about this. He would try to save the company money in any way possible, which most of the time, came at the cost of their employees and their livelihoods. One specific instance was mentioned in the book, where a top executive at Marvel asked the CEO for a new pencil, to which he was told that he could not have one as he had two inches left of his old one.
“One top Marvel executive remembered being berated by Perlmutter over his writing implement: “Why do you need a new pencil?” the CEO demanded. “There’s two inches left on that one!” Perlmutter, at least, held himself to the same standards. “He used to do this thing in our office that people would laugh at,” Avi Arad said. “If there was some used paper or a memo lying around, he would rip it into eight pieces and he would have a new memo pad.”
Another instance was reiterated which mentioned the fact that these ridiculous standards were something that Perlmutter held himself to as well. This was reinforced with an example. It was revealed that if the CEO of Marvel Studios found a piece of scrap paper lying around, he would tear it into eight pieces and fashion himself a new notepad from that.
Avi Arad, the film producer behind projects like The Amazing Spider-Man film series, Venom, Kraven the Hunter, and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man trilogy, stated that this was something that was used to make fun of Perlmutter quite frequently.