Insider Claims Marvel Is Only Doing Diversity To Make Up For China
A alleged Marvel insider is claiming its diversity push is all about making money, after being shut out of the Chinese movie theater market.
An alleged “insider” at Marvel Studios has come forward, claiming to know the motivations behind the decisions the Disney company is making with recent films and TV series. In an exclusive report by Manú López of That Park Place, a website that covers theme parks across America, Marvel Studios’ new push to diversify the MCU is not about representation, but about creating new markets for revenue. The move was sparked, allegedly, by Disney’s inability to get their movies (including MCU films) in the very lucrative Chinese theater market, the second-largest in the world.
The allegations by the Marvel Studios insider are explosive and threaten to characterize the studio as money-driven hypocrites. Even as Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) features the broadest representation of diverse characters ever, the insider claims this is merely a strategy to create new revenue streams from segments of the population that haven’t traditionally been Marvel fans. This is all due, allegedly, to China.
The insider claims that Marvel was essentially blindsided by China’s ban on Marvel films in their country. All four of Marvel’s 2021 films were banned from playing in China: Black Widow, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, and it was part of a pattern of China’s refusal to show western films critical of their communist government or supportive of American values. That means no pro-capitalism films, nothing with racial minorities or the LGBTQ community, and no films whose stars have criticized China (as was the case with Shang Chi star Simu Liu).
“Marvel is dead in China,” the insider claims. “The Chinese government wants to play hardball, wants to cut off the MCU from their box office…It’s all politics and propaganda.” Disney’s previous attempts to do some minor censoring backfired with American fans, particularly in 2015, when actor John Boyega was removed from Chinese advertisements for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Just last year, Warner Bros. removed actress Sharon Duncan-Brewster from Dune posters in China, leading to much backlash. As a result, most Hollywood studios, including Disney, are now refusing to censor their films and posters just to play in China. There were a few exceptions: Universal’s recent release in China of Minions: The Rise of Gru had a different ending, reportedly made by the Chinese government, which better fit its values.
The insider alleges that Disney, looking to make up for the loss of billions in revenue from China, wants to expand their reach to women and minorities, which they see as an untapped market. “They’re trying to create a new Marvel market for neo feminist women. We’re trying to grow in every direction all at once,” the insider claims.
It’s an explosive allegation against Disney and one that can’t be definitively proven or disproven. The insider claims Disney was encouraged by the success of Black Panther to reach out to new audiences and hopes its new offerings like Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk will do that. The difference is that Black Panther was an authentic attempt to give Marvel’s premier black superhero a great story, while She-Hulk is about pandering to women for future profit, the insider alleges.
The insider goes even further to denigrate Disney’s motivations, saying they focus less on some segments (like white males) because they will always be loyal fans. “They already have the white market, the Christian market, the moderates market…They want minority Disney+ ratios up. They want single women merch sales up,” the insider claims.
The insider makes one final explosive claim, that Marvel chief Kevin Feige is keeping Disney CEO Bob Chapek off his back by hiring his son Brian Chapek as a Marvel executive. Brian was a producer on Thor: Love and Thunder, so Feige could avoid backlash over its box office failure by using Brian as a shield against criticism.