‘Black Panther’ initially faced pushback from inside Marvel, according to Disney CEO Bob Iger

  • Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed in his new book, "The Ride of a Lifetime," that a Marvel executive was against making "Black Panther" because they thought movies led by black actors didn't perform well internationally.
  • "We had a chance to make a great movie and to showcase an underrepresented segment of America, and those goals were not mutually exclusive," Iger wrote.
  • "Black Panther" grossed over $1 billion worldwide and won three Oscars.
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"Black Panther" is one of the biggest movies of all time, but it overcame obstacles to get made.

Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed in his new book, "The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company," that a Marvel executive in New York was opposed to making "Black Panther" because they thought movies led by black actors didn't perform well at the international box office. (Iger noted that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was on board from the start.)

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"I've been in the business long enough to have heard every old argument in the book, and I've learned that old arguments are just that: old, and out of step with where the world is and where it should be," Iger wrote. "We had a chance to make a great movie and to showcase an underrepresented segment of America, and those goals were not mutually exclusive. I called [Marvel chairman] Ike [Perlmutter] and told him to tell his team to stop putting up roadblocks and ordered that we put both 'Black Panther' and 'Captain Marvel' into production."

"Black Panther," set almost entirely in Africa, was the first superhero movie to feature a predominantly black cast. "Captain Marvel" was the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to be headlined by a female character.

Both movies grossed over $1 billion worldwide. "Black Panther" was the highest-grossing movie domestically of 2018 with $700 million and is the 11th highest-grossing movie of all time. It won three Oscars and was nominated for best picture earlier this year.

Marvel Studios stressed that diversity will be a focus moving forward. The MCU's first movie starring an Asian superhero, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," comes to theaters in 2021 and a "Black Panther" sequel is in the works.

"When you have diverse voices, you get better stories and you get more exciting stories, you get more surprising stories," Feige told Variety last year. "And that is something that is very clear."

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