Bob Iger wants a sit-down to make peace with Martin Scorsese — a sentence which vaguely suggests the mob world of Scorsese’s The Irishman and Goodfellas. (One could almost imagine the pair as dons of the film sphere: Iger the Disney Mafia kingpin, Scorsese the head of the Art-House Family. Anyway.)
Speaking to Time magazine after being named its Businessperson of the Year for 2019, the Disney CEO again addressed Scorsese’s criticisms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and said he is arranging to meet with the filmmaker. This extended brouhaha began in October, when the legendary director said Marvel movies are “not cinema” and compared them to theme parks, criticisms he reiterated multiple times, including in a New York Times op-ed.
“Many films today are perfect products manufactured for immediate consumption. Many of them are well made by teams of talented individuals. All the same, they lack something essential to cinema: the unifying vision of an individual artist,” Scorsese wrote in the Times, adding that the dominance of franchise films at the multiplex (in which, of course, Disney has played a major part) “is brutal and inhospitable to art.”
Speaking to Time, Iger largely brushed off the comments, calling them “nasty” and “not fair to the people who are making the movies.” “If Marty Scorsese wants to be in the business of taking artistic risk, all power to him,” he added. “It doesn’t mean that what we’re doing isn’t art.”
Then, the article noted: “Iger says his people and Marty’s people are arranging a get-together.”
One can only assume the director’s Marvel comments would come up at such a get-together, so at the very least the two will potentially have a chance to meet face-to-face and clear the air. Perhaps Iger will offer Scorsese a chance to produce a gritty Thanos origin story that riffs on one of his classic films? (Seems crazy, we know. Where would anyone get an idea like that?)
The Time article, incidentally, also sheds some light on the dearth of currently available Baby Yoda merchandise in the marketplace. Iger apparently decided to delay merchandising until after Disney+ had launched and The Mandalorian premiered along with it, so as not to spoil the premiere episode’s big reveal. He also compared seeing the cuddly creature for the first time to “when he was running ABC’s prime-time TV division and 16-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio showed up on Growing Pains.” We’ll let you make of that what you will.