Special effects workers vote to unionize over Marvel's exploitation and unrealistic deadlines

Originally published at: Special effects workers vote to unionize over Marvel's exploitation and unrealistic deadlines | Boing Boing


C’mon, why does everyone have a hand out? Don’t they know making movies is a tough business, and it’s already difficult enough to turn a profit without paying everyone astronomical* wages?

Ranked by Profit Profit
1. Endgame 890
2. No Way Home 650M+
3. The Avengers ~550M
4. Infinity War 500M
5. Black Panther 476M
6. Captain Marvel 414M
7. Iron Man 3 391M
8. Age of Ultron 382M
9. Far From Home 339M
10. Doctor Strange 2 284M
11. Wakanda Forever 259M
12. Volume 1 204M
13. Homecoming 200M
14. Civil War 193M
15. Ragnarok 174M
16. Winter Soldier 166M
17. Volume 2 154M
18. Doctor Strange 122M
19. Ant-Man 103M
20. Love & Thunder 103M
Total: 6.554B


*pronounced “living”


None of those films made a profit, probably.


i’m surprised spider verse isn’t on that list. those working conditions sounded especially terrible. and without any good reason


For the popularity of the MCU those profits seem lower than I would have expected. With the exception of Endgame and No Way Home none of the MCU movies turned enough profit to reproduce the movie itself. That’s not say that there wasn’t mucho profit being made, but I would rate a good bit of the MCU movies as “safer” investments from a movie perspective.

Compared to those out of no where block busters like The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity, which turned thousands of times the profit compared to their cost, the MCU is treading water at best.

Of course you can’t really make an MCU caliber movie without an all-star VFX team… Kind of goes without saying something so important to the entire operation should be compensated appropriately.

I can practically see the studio heads theatrically turning their pockets inside out.

cooking the books


Those movies were made by Sony, not Marvel studios. There have been efforts to get the animators at Sony unionized as well, especially after the grueling work schedule for Across the Spider-Verse.


I kept interest in the Marvel movies for probably longer than most people. Having grown up in the 80s and 90s, I still remember when most comic book movies looked like Spawn or Judge Dredd (the Stallone one). Comic book movies with decent special effects, continuity, likeable characters and at least a reasonable attempt to be true to the source material are still a novelty to me. But after dozens of movies and TV series, it’s hard to keep caring even if very few of them are outright bad.

Even from a purely business perspective, the absolute last thing Marvel should be doing is giving their audience motivation to tune out for ethical reasons in addition to their already-existing burnout. Treat your employees like human beings. If that means putting out “only” 3 Marvel movies every year instead of 5, maybe that’s actually to your benefit in the long run!


It’s great that the Marvel workers are unionizing but that is a tiny sliver of the industry. What makes me less hopeful is that the labor force is terribly fragmented. VFX studios have offices all over the world so that they can move work around to maximize tax breaks and minimize labor cost. Plus, many effects workers are project-based, these days. I’m not sure how unionizing efforts can be effective when it is so easy to ship work off to ‘friendlier’ locations and the studios have so much labor turnover.

mentions that one of the effects studio responsible for Life of Pi went bankrupt almost immediately upon receiving a major award for their efforts.


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