Avi Arad: 'I Single-Handedly Put Together the Marvel Slate'



Avi Arad feels that he’s not getting enough credit for the success of Marvel Studios.

Following a profile of current Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige in Bloomberg Businessweek last month, Arad — currently working with Sony on its own Marvel franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man — wrote an email to complain about the way in which he was portrayed in the piece.

“I am sure you were told by Marvel that I resigned over the self-financing strategy,” Arad wrote to the profile’s author, Devin Leonard, in an email he then released publicly. “It is about time for a reporter like you to do your homework and check the facts. It will sound arrogant to you, but I single-handedly put together the Marvel slate. Read it carefully and you will notice the natural progression of the character’s design to get to where we are today.”

Arad went on to report that Marvel’s financing “would never have happened without me reaching out to [Paramount Studios CEO and Chairman] Brad Grey to make a distribution deal that will give you a corporate guarantee… The big presentation to financial institutions and insurance companies took place on the Paramount lot. I was the presenter and it worked. Does this sound to you like someone who disagreed with the strategy to make our own movies?”

The producer berated Leonard for what he called “unprofessional self-serving work,” although he pointed out that he has “forgiven Kevin for following orders and taking the credit, but he had no choice.” Because nothing says forgiveness like sharing emails berating others who share what the forgiven has to say about a particular matter, obviously.

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This is the full email btw.

Good morning Devin. As usual you manage to disappoint me with your false statements. I am sure you were told by Marvel that I resigned over the self-financing strategy. It is about time for a reporter like you to do your homework and check the facts. It will sound arrogant to you, but I single handedly put together the Marvel slate. Read it carefully and you will notice the natural progression of the character's design to get to where we are today. You should reach out to Merill Lynch and Ambac Insurance and to our international partners that came on board based on my track record. Our financial partners counted on my reputation. I had to work very hard to convert the doubters. They trusted me and without Iron Man this article would have not been written. Iron Man was not even in the original slate. I knew that we needed it so I set out to get it back from Newline and the rest is history. Our financing would have never happened without me reaching out to Brad Grey to make a distribution deal that will give you a corporate guarantee. Other people in Marvel worked for many months with Universal and could not reach a deal. I got tired of waiting and went to Brad. The deal was done in days, successful for both companies. The big presentation to financial institutions and insurance companies took place on the Paramount lot. I was the presenter and it worked. Does this sound to you like someone who disagreed with the strategy to make our own movies? I have forgiven Kevin for following orders and taking the credit, but he had no choice. Shame on you for kowtowing to your business gods. I have given up on journalistic integrity. You called me to talk about Kevin and I gave you the most true and glowing account on someone that I love and respect. Share your notes otherwise you just wasted my time. I will share this letter with other papers and your management to demonstrate the unprofessional self-serving work this reporter demonstrated.

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