Marvel Studios Alleged to Use Its “Bullying Power” on VFX Artists

4 mins read
2018's Infinity War shows an example of Marvel Studios' declining VFX quality
2018's Infinity War shows an example of Marvel Studios' declining VFX quality

Image source: Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Over the years, Marvel Studios has produced more movies and increased the number of releases in recent years.

If the fans are more than satisfied, they also noticed a drop in quality in the special effects.

Weeks earlier, VFX artists expressed their displeasure with the way Marvel Studios runs their business, often overcharging them and underpaying artists.

Online cracks

The first wave of comments from VFX artists about working with Marvel came from anonymous subreddits.

The thread quickly took off, and other artists chimed in on other social media platforms. 

While most shared tales of their collaboration with the movie titan, one artist shared more details about their experience with VUlture, calling out the studio for their “bullying power” as a client.

The artist shares the experience

“When I was working on one film, it was almost six months overtime everyday,” said an anonymous VFX artist.

“I worked seven days a week, an average of 64 hours a week on a good week. Marvel really works really hard for you.”

“I’ve had colleagues sit next to me, collapse, and start to cry. I’ve talked to people with anxiety attacks on the phone,” he added.

Last minute changes

The artist criticized Marvel Studios for requiring many changes to the process, some of them drastic.

The result leaves overworked artists with a tight deadline looming over their heads.

“The other thing about Marvel is that it is famous for asking for a lot of changes in the process,” they noted.

“So you’re already overworked, but then Marvel asks for regular changes that go way beyond what every other customer does.”

“And some of those changes are really drastic,” they elaborated.

“Maybe a month or two before a movie comes out, Marvel will have us change the whole third act. It has really tight turnaround times. So yeah, it’s just not a great situation all around.”

Blacklisting

The artist shared that when a visual effects house didn’t finish their work, Marvel Studios blacklisted them.

“One visual effects house couldn’t finish the number of shots and reshoots Marvel requested, so Marvel had to give my studio the work,” they elaborated.

“Since then, that house has been effectively blacklisted from getting Marvel work.”

Bullying power

The artist also acknowledged that while the same problems can be found in other projects, Marvel stands out for its “bullying power” which is very demanding.

“Some of the problems I mentioned are universal to every show and project. But you end up doing less overtime on other shows,” they explained.

“You end up being able to push back more on the directors. When they say something like, ‘Hey, I want this,’ you can be like, ‘This doesn’t make sense.’ Not every client has the bullying power of Marvel.”

Possible solution

The VFX artist suggested that a possible solution to the ongoing problem is for VFX artists to come together.

Unionization “would help ensure that visual effects houses can’t accept offers without thinking about what the consequences would be.”

References: 

Marvel Studios called out by VFX artist for having ‘bullying power’

Marvel’s poor working conditions detailed by VFX insider


Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.

William Mason

William is a proactive advocate of education and peace initiatives. Also, He works as a Data Manager and a part-time blogger.

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