The dominance of Marvel Studios relies not only on the involvement of superstar producer Kevin Feige, but also the investment of the Walt Disney Company, which forked over a ton of money in order to acquire the lucrative intellectual property from the dominant superhero publisher in the world. But all of this wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for a certain mastermind of a powerful technology company, a man who has since inspired countless biographies and live-action adaptations. It should be stated, here and now, that Apple genius Steve Jobs helped lead Disney to their eventual takeover of Marvel Entertainment, which has also aided their ascent to the top of the box office.
Disney Chairman Bob Iger recently spoke with Vanity Fair about Jobs' influence, revealing that the late Apple innovator as a major factor in the decision to spend money on purchasing Marvel Entertainment.
"In 2009, after our very successful acquisition of Pixar, we were interested in acquiring Marvel, so I met with Steve and walked him through the business," Iger explained. "He claimed to have never read a comic book in his life ('I hate them more than I hate video games,' he told me), so I brought an encyclopedia of Marvel characters with me to explain the universe to him and show him what we would be buying. He spent about 10 seconds looking at it, then pushed it aside and said, 'Is this one important to you? Do you really want it? Is it another Pixar?'"
And while Iger was confident in the property, he wasn't sure if it was worth the investment.
"When it came to the Marvel question, I told him that I wasn't sure if it was another Pixar, but they had great talent at the company, and the content was so rich that if we held the IP, it would put some real distance between us and everyone else," Iger said. "I asked him if he'd be willing to reach out to Ike Perlmutter, Marvel's CEO and controlling shareholder, and vouch for me. Later, after we'd closed the deal, Ike told me that he'd still had his doubts and the call from Steve made a big difference. 'He said you were true to your word,' Ike said. I was grateful that Steve was willing to do it as a friend, really, more than as the most influential member of our board. Every once in a while, I would say to him, 'I have to ask you this, you're our largest shareholder,' and he would always respond, 'You can't think of me as that. That's insulting. I'm just a good friend.'"