Disney fired Isaac Ike Perlmutter, the president of Marvel Entertainment and well-known Trump supporter, on Wednesday. The 80-year-old billionaire sold Marvel to Disney for more than $4 billion in 2009.
According to the company, Perlmutter was informed via telephone of his dismissal on Wednesday. They claimed that the reason was that the division he ran, Marvel Entertainment, "was redundant" and would be integrated within other larger Disney business units. The New York Times reported that the department focused on consumer products. However, it was separate from Marvel Studios, the division chaired by Kevin Feige.
Isaac Perlmutter went from overseeing Marvel to being demoted
Perlmutter gradually lost power at Marvel and Disney. However, this was not the case in the beginning. When the company closed the purchase of Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, the billionaire, who had been chairman of the company since 1993, became one of Disney's largest shareholders and the company gave him many benefits.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the company left Perlmutter "wide berth to help shape Marvel strategy and projects." His plans seemed to work, as he was directly involved in movies such as Iron Man and The Avengers, two of the most profitable movies for Disney.
However, starting in 2015, Ike Perlmutter began to lose power at both Marvel and Disney. In the case of Marvel, he was known to have a rocky relationship with Kevin Feige. The Los Angeles Times reported that the billionaire tried to get the Marvel Studios CEO fired in 2015. Bob Chapek told CNBC that his attempt was not the most successful:
In 2015 he was intent on firing Kevin Feige who was running Marvel’s studio, the movie making at the time, and I thought that was a mistake and stepped in to prevent that from happening. So I moved the moviemaking operation of Marvel out from under Ike into the movie studio under Alan Horn. ... [Perlmutter] was not happy about it. And I think that unhappiness exists today.
The consequences of this were devastating. That same year, Isaac Perlmutter was demoted and sent to head the Marvel Entertainment division. Four years later, in 2019, he lost his rights, which he had held until then, to make decisions regarding the movies made by the company.
Perlmutter, a Trump supporter and critic of diversity at Disney
Disney's arguments for taking away this leeway were different. Kevin Feige explained in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2019 that it was due to Perlmutter's criticism following Disney's changes to make films more diverse:
That's part of it. There's a lot of sides to the story. You can pick up Bob Iger's book 'The Ride of a Lifetime' to learn more, I highly recommend it, but it made sense at that time. We had made ten movies or more that managerially, there was another way to go.
His political views also did not make it easy for him to keep his position at Disney. The New York Times reported that the Israeli-born billionaire supported Donald Trump during his presidential campaigns in both 2016 and 2020. In addition, he recently assured that he would continue to support the former president's most recent campaign for the presidency in 2024.