Feige made the assertion Saturday at the 10th annual Produced By conference on the Paramount lot and noted that Anna Boden is co-directing the upcoming “Captain Marvel,” the 20th Marvel movie and the first with a female director. A questioner had suggested to Feige during the Q&A part of the session that the next 20 Marvel films should be directed by women.
“I cannot promise that all 20 Marvel movies will have female directors but a heck of a lot of them will,” he said, evoking major applause.
As president of Marvel Studios, Feige has seen 19 films that have opened at No. 1 at the domestic box office and collectively grossed over $16 billion worldwide. Six of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films have crossed the $1 billion threshold at the global box office — including this year’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther.”
Feige told the audience that “Black Panther,” which has grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide to date, was particularly crucial in terms of breaking precedent with a black director in Ryan Coogler and stars, led by Chadwick Boseman.
“We had to make that movie to destroy a myth that black movies don’t succeed around the world,” he said. “Unconscious bias is a real thing.”
Feige gave Coogler much of the credit for the “Black Panther” success, calling him “a singular talent” and recalling that at a pre-release screening, he told the director, “I think that’s the best movie we’ve ever made. You’ve made us a better studio.”
Feige spoke for more than an hour at the Paramount Theatre in a discussion with Deadline’s Pete Hammond. Echoing a theme by Paramount Studios chief Jim Gianopulos in an earlier Produced By event, he told the audience that diversity is essential in moviemaking.
“Diversity is something that’s necessary to be able to continue to tell stories,” he noted. “There were a couple of ‘Black Panther’ meetings where I looked around the table and no one looked like me. And it was great.”
Feige also admitted he’s not surprised that superhero films have generally received little recognition during awards season.
“Maybe it’s easy to dismiss special effects or flying people or spaceships or billion dollar grosses as if to say, ‘You’ve been rewarded enough,'” he said. “I would much rather be in a room full of engaged fans.”
Feige also admitted that he’s kept all the ticket stubs from the 13 times he saw “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” in 1999.