Marvel Under Fire For Paying VFX Artists 20% Less Than Other Studios

This is also part of the reason why the quality of effects in recent MCU blockbusters is alarmingly ‘bad’. 

Marvel is facing a lot of difficulties in the “post-Endgame” era.  Not only heavily affected by nearly 2 years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the quality of Marvel Studios’ projects is also somewhat declining and not achieving as much success as expected.  Phase 4 of the MCU has only one movie surpassing the $1 billion mark (Spider-Man: No Way Home), while Black Widow or Eternals only grossed about $400 million.  

marvel mcu

In addition, the quality of effects in recent Marvel Studios works is also said to be not as good as in previous periods. In mid-2022, many VFX artists criticized this studio because they had to perform too much work in an absurdly short time. This forces them to constantly work overtime to keep up with the schedule, and it directly affects the quality of the effects.  There were even opinions that “Marvel has probably the worst methodology of production and VFX management out there.”

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios is having a bad relationship with VFX artists and post-production units – Photo: Internet

Still, that’s not the worst.  According to a recent survey by Vulture, post-production at Marvel Studios can be considered a literal “low-paying job”.  They pay for VFX artists about 20% lower than other studios.

According to VFX-IATSE (International Alliance of Stage Staff), Marvel often has a habit of letting a single person take charge of the work that other studios need 3 people to complete. One VFX artist even shared that a lot of colleagues have to work “4 jobs for 1 salary”, meaning that the amount of work they are in charge of is 4 times more than the salary they receive.

Notorious as it is, working with Marvel is still an opportunity very few VFX companies dare to turn down. According to Vulture, people were mostly scared of Victoria Alonso, who serves as President of Physical, Post Production, VFX and Animation for Marvel Studios. In particular, Alonso is known for blacklisting firms that rejected his offer, making it hard for these VFX companies to score new gigs in the future. Meanwhile, those who have worked for Marvel generally receive a good reputation, which will lead to better and bigger opportunities. 

Marvel Studios
Heavy workload yet low wage is the gloomy present that gets VFX artists to become sick of Marvel students. 

On top of this, it seems that Marvel Studios is taking issue with VFX artists demanding for a raise. Vulture revealed that while the studio, especially departments in charge of Disney+ series, are indeed paying higher than before, the management board seems displeased. According to CBR, Marvel Studios may even establish an in-house VFX firm against increasing criticisms from out-house workers. 

Overall, regardless of their future strategies and plans, it is crucial that Marvel stabilize its post-production workforce and process ahead of the new phase. In fact, the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has always been majorly based on filmography and VFX, and discrepancies with the VFX worlds may lead to heavy consequences. Hopefully, the franchise will be able to appease its VFX artists, else mistakes in “She-Hulk” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” may repeat. 

Source: Vulture, CBR, Screen Ran

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