UPDATED: Avi Arad, the former chairman/CEO of Marvel Studios (which he founded) has responded harshly to last month’s BusinessWeek‘s cover story profiling Marvel president Kevin Feige. In an email, first obtained by Latino-Review, Arad takes issue with the report about Feige titled “The Man Who Saved Marvel” which states that Arad resigned from Marvel in 2006 over a disagreement about a $525M self-financing deal with Merrill Lynch. Arad, one of the producers on Sony/Marvel’s big weekend opener The Amazing Spider-Man 2, is now running his own production company, Arad Prods. He still produces Marvel titles.
Arad told Deadline: “We had a list of titles, but the slate didn’t have Iron Man or Hulk, and I had a very tough time getting Iron Man back from New Line, but we got it back. I always loved Iron Man. I left because I wanted to leave. It was nothing other than it was time to go. The company was growing and I didn’t like committees and I was 60 and was doing well as it was. I took a walk and thought, ‘I’m too old for this.’ And I thought if I keep nothing but Spider-Man, I will continue with Marvel, but I can do other things. I wanted to do other things … and I am now. The company is in good hands with Kevin who doing a great job.” His anger over the insinuations in the article written by staff writer Devin Leonard are very clear.
BusinessWeek spokeswoman Rachel Nagler told Deadline: “Devin Leonard did receive this email from Avi Arad, and an email exchange followed between them. We stand by the reporting in our story.” Here, in his own words, is Arad’s email (paragraphs have been added to make it easier to read):
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.