Ike Perlmutter, wearing dark glasses, visits President Donald Trump in December 2016 at Mar-a-Lago.Jonathan Ernst (Reuters)
Trouble in the Marvel universe.
The internal battles within Disney have ended this Wednesday with the fall of Isaac Perlmutter, a key businessman in the transition that made a comic book company one of the most valuable brands in Hollywood.
Perlmutter, known in the industry as Ike, has been fired as part of the entertainment giant's decision to cut 7,000 jobs in the coming weeks.
The division that Ike headed, Marvel Entertainment, has been left almost without managers after the dismissal today of other senior positions and will be absorbed by Disney, the company reported in a statement.
Marvel's success has been based on making the most of its universe.
Perlmutter's departure appears to be motivated by a reckoning.
The executive, one of Disney's largest shareholders, has a long and troubled relationship with Bob Iger, who in November became CEO again to help the company weather the crisis.
Both personally negotiated the arrival of Marvel at Mickey Mouse's house, in an operation that closed in 2009 for 4,000 million dollars.
Perlmutter himself, who had been in charge of reviving Marvel on the verge of bankruptcy, took 1,500 million with that transaction.
The relationship between the two had deteriorated for years.
In 2015, Iger removed him from the leadership of Marvel Studios, a position that was left in the hands of Kevin Feige, the creative mind responsible for the web of characters and stories in the audiovisual.
Feige was the instigator of that fall, since he had asked Iger for more freedom, after proving that the world he had projected, based on the designs of Stan Lee, had become the goose that laid the golden eggs at the box office. .
With the maneuver, Perlmutter was left without decision-making power in film and television productions.
“He was not happy.
And I think that annoyance has persisted since then," Iger said in an interview with CNBC in February.
Perlmutter didn't back down, instead continuing to voice his opinion on the projects.
With a reputation for being stingy in the industry, the businessman criticized the multimillion-dollar investments that Disney was making to produce films like
Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness.
Ike supported an old friend and associate, Nelson Peltz, in a campaign that called for a change of course and a policy of austerity in spending.
The goal was to get Peltz a seat on the board of directors.
Perlmutter has called different Disney executives at least six times since last summer to support the move.
This effort ended Iger's plan to cut $5.5 billion in spending.
Much of the savings will be in content.
In his book
The Big Picture
, journalist Ben Fritz describes Perlmutter's keen nose for business.
The businessman of Israeli origin is a veteran of the Six Day War.
He came to the United States in 1967 at the age of 24 and with $250 in his pocket.
He made his fortune by buying businesses on the verge of bankruptcy and transforming them thanks to a draconian policy of savings and cuts.
He did it with supermarket chains and toy manufacturers like Coleco, which made Cabbage Patch dolls.
One of the businesses that Perlmutter rescued was Toy Biz, a company that signed a deal in the 1990s to make Marvel toys.
The comic book publisher was close to bankruptcy in the middle of that decade due to a debt of more than 700 million dollars.
Perlmutter, allied with the powerful investor Carl Icahn and Ron Perelman, supported by banks and investment funds, saved it from closure with the idea of putting it at the service of film studios.
The first test was
, a character whose rights were sold to Sony for just $10 million per film plus 5% of box office profits.
The Marvel universe laid its first stone.
Perlmutter became the de facto head honcho of the studios, where he immediately imprinted his style of austerity.
With the exception of Robert Downey Jr., the early stars of the Marvel universe received small salaries by Hollywood standards.
Chris Hemsworth won $150,000 for the first Thor movie, and Chris Evans earned $1 million for playing Captain America in
Captain America: The First Avenger.
, from 2011. The protagonists were offered an extra depending on the result at the box office.
This Wednesday, Ike Perlmutter ends his tenure at Disney along with Vice President Rob Steffens and Counselor John Turitzin, who have also been fired from him.
Dan Buckley remains as the sole president of Marvel Entertainment and will take care of the comic book publisher.
He will report to Kevin Feige, the head of the powerful Hollywood studio.
Thus it has become clear who has won the pulse.