The Direct reports the talk with Feige in The Movie Business Podcast, saying that fifteen years later with tens of movies and several Disney Plus series, Marvel still does the meeting as a regular practice.
As with any conglomerate with top management, every major project or event gets an evaluation upon its end. Marvel Studios definitely is no different. Just happens that their major projects are movies and series focused on characters from Marvel Comics.
Company evaluations of projects cover the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities that their recently concluded activity encountered. For the most part, it covers the period from development to execution and post-project reports. It is a natural course of business procedure.
In each of these post-project reports, the top management gets the big picture of what aspects of the project works and what don’t. These are then the basis for the next projects or a similar project after a specific period of time.
Marvel’s ‘Post-Mortem’ Meets Also Find ‘What Went Wrong?’
In the podcast, Feige shared when they started conducting the said meetings and, from there, zeroed in on their primary goal every time they released a project. Marvel’s President said:
We do a post-mortem on every project, or at least we try to, if we’re not too busy with the next project, to sit and discuss what went right and what went wrong. And I remember we started doing that, we were asked to do it for the first time on ‘Iron Man 1.’ And we call them ‘post-mortems’ now, at the time it was a ‘what went wrong’ meeting.
Even then, with the phenomenal success of Iron Man starring Robert Downey, Jr, they had to do the meeting. He continued:
We were asked to do a ‘what went wrong’ meeting for Iron Man. And I thought, ‘What went wrong? This movie’s a giant hit, it launched a whole studio? Why do we have to do a what went wrong meeting?’
Apparently, however, a project turns out, they do have these meetings and identify areas that they can do better for the next project. He even lets listeners in on their core lesson:
…it is actually great to sit and go, ‘Here’s what was done, here’s how we could have done it better.’ And we do that on every project. And I guess to distill it down of what lessons is learned is, entertain the audience [at every] turn. Frank Capra has a quote that our Co-President Louis D’esposito quotes often, which is basically distilled down to, entertain first.”
A seemingly simple goal, but it entails so much effort and consideration. However, that is what they primarily endeavour to satisfy: entertain first. Feige further explained:
You can have as many beautiful messages, and beautiful life theories, and beautiful thematics that you want to put into the world, that all of us do, and all of our filmmakers do. But if you are not entertaining first, it will fall on deaf ears.
Being able to capture what entertains their market is also a complex objective. However, Marvel Studios has come to a level where they have secured their grasp on their audience. He further said:
And I think that has always been the way, and that thankfully when you are making the kind of movies that you love to see then that will also go into entertaining yourself, which is what we also try to do here at Marvel Studios.
Marvel’s ‘Post-Mortem’ Meetings Emphasize ‘Entertain First’
There is no doubt that Marvel Studios has its own ups and downs in its projects. Specifically, there is a good number of their audience who aren’t really happy with Phase 4. Claiming that the MCU got spread too thin in its fourth phase, some fans say that their excitement has waned over the years.
Nevertheless, Feige has expressed before that the previous projects are laying the foundation for the bigger picture. And that soon, people will see what they have been trying to establish.
After Avengers: Endgame, many critics have said that it would be hard for Marvel to top Phase 3. But looking at Phase 4, they have actually accommodated more superhero fans into the fold. With what happened in the last Avengers movie, there’s truly a need to introduce new characters.
Doing so would mean there is a need to orient their audience to different storylines. Phases 1 and 2 introduced characters and storylines as well. In my opinion, it was not that noticeable a change because people were already familiar with the characters that they were introducing. In Phase 4, they had to bring more characters into the spotlight.
Moreover, it’s in Phase 4 that they were able to bring the Multiverse and Sacred Timeline into place for future projects, for the big and small screens. That in itself is an ultimate achievement. The very existence of Phase 4 is evidence of their ‘post-mortem’ meets.
Marvel has been and still is successful in delivering their primary goal: entertain first. They have the worldwide box office records to prove it. Eventually, they will be able to further diversify their audience and strengthen the variety of genres they have also begun with Phase 4. And that will be something we all look forward to seeing.
Do you think these ‘post-mortem’ meetings are necessary for the MCU? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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