Marvel CEO Highlights History of Female Superhero Flops in Leaked Sony Email

Ike Perlmutter lists “Catwoman,” “Elektra” and 1980s’ “Supergirl” as examples of financial “disasters” in e-mail to Michael Lynton

Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter had some qualms about the box office performance of  “female movies” in an email exchange with Sony boss Michael Lynton.

In the leaked Wikileaks correspondence from Aug. 7, 2014, Perlmutter lists “Elektra,” “Catwoman” and the 1984 film version of “Supergirl” as examples of female-led superhero movies that didn’t do well financially, linking to each of the films’ box office results on BoxOfficeMojo.com.

“Very bad idea and the end result was very, very bad,” he said of “Elektra,” the Marvel movie starring Jennifer Garner, which was a spinoff of the Ben Affleck-led “Daredevil” feature film.

Of “Catwoman,” the 2004 film starring Halle Berry, Perlmutter said, “Catwoman was one of the most important female character within the Batmanfranchise. This film was a disaster.”

The exec clearly means “disaster” in terms of financials, adding that “Supergirl was one of the most important female super hero in Superman franchise. This Movie came out in 1984 and did $14 million total domestic with opening weekend of $5.5 million. Again, another disaster.”

The comments were uncovered at a time when Marvel is taking heat from fans and the media over its treatment of female superheroes. The company is under fire for the dearth of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) merchandise in relation to her male teammates, all of whom are better represented in toys and on apparel.

“Black Widow is a staple in the Marvel Universe with a robust consumer products program,” Marvel said in a statement to TheWrap on the merchandising issue. “Tied to the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel has over 60 Black Widow SKUS across diverse categories such as Hot Wheels, action figures, video games, t-shirts, costumes and collectibles, with even more products available for back to school and Halloween.”

Meanwhile, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” star Jeremy Renner also came under fire when he called Johansson’s character “a slut” for being romantically linked to more than one member of the team. Despite an apology, Renner doubled down on his comments during an appearance on “Conan” Monday night.

“Now, mind you, I was talking about a fictional character, and fictional behavior,” he said on the air. “But, Conan: If you slept with four of the six Avengers — no matter how much fun you had — you’d be a slut. Just saying. I’d be a slut.”

Despite Perlmutter’s reservations about female superhero movies last August, however, the studio is moving forward on at least one female-led film. “Captain Marvel,” based on the comic book character Carol Danvers, is in active development and has a release date of Nov. 2, 2018.

The studio has hired Nicole Perlman and Meg LeFauve to write the script and is said to be looking for a female director as well.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is now in theaters. A spokesperson for Marvel has not yet returned TheWrap’s request for comment.