Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is grateful to rival Warner Bros and its hit film, Wonder Woman, for breaking down the barriers ahead of Marvel's upcoming release of Captain Marvel, the first female-led superhero film the studio will have produced in 2019.
Prior to Wonder Woman's success, Marvel seemed to be having a tough time getting a superhero movie starring a woman in the lead role off the ground, despite its enormous budget and prolific output of male-led superhero productions.
In an interview at Mashable, while Feige noted that plans for Captain Marvel were already in place before Wonder Woman hit theaters, he also talked about what Wonder Woman has done to help Marvel's efforts toward shattering the glass ceiling in the skeptical eyes of the public and the press:
"What it does do is go, 'Oh, thank God.'
Because what the question would have been on this junket before that is, 'Do you think people want to see a female superhero movie? Do you think audiences are ready to go see a big … Are you nervous about Captain Marvel being a big, the first female hero?'
And I would always say no, because there hasn't been a good one in a long time. There were, you know, 15 years ago, a bunch of bad ones. Did they fail because they were female lead movies? No. They failed because they were not good movies.
I don't have to say that anymore. Thanks to Wonder Woman. Because it just blows that fallacy out of the water."
Those films Feige is talking about are the same ones outlined by his intra-company rival, Marvel Chairman Ike Perlmutter, who famously wrote in a leaked email to Sony in 2015:
As we discussed on the phone, below are just a few examples. There are more.
1. Electra (Marvel) – Very bad idea and the end result was very, very bad. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=elektra.htm
2. Catwoman (WB/DC) – Catwoman was one of the most important female character within the Batmanfranchise. This film was a disaster. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=catwoman.htm
3. Supergirl – (DC) Supergirl was one of the most important female super hero in Superman franchise. This Movie came out in 1984 and did $14 million total domestic with opening weekend of $5.5 million. Again, another disaster.
In addition to the 15 movies Marvel Studios has released so far — Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — they plan to release five more — Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Ant-Man and The Wasp — before finally releasing a superhero film where a woman gets top billing. It's been a heroic effort on Marvel's part, no doubt, but Warner Bros just happened to beat them to the punch by just two short years.
With Perlmutter out of the picture, and Wonder Woman showing people that a superhero film about a woman (and directed, or co-directed in Captain Marvel's case, by a woman) can be good, Marvel is finally free to make that female-led superhero film it's always dreamed of, but was unable to schedule until its 21st movie, 11 years after it launched its shared cinematic universe.