Captain America wouldn’t take kindly to someone raking in U.S. taxpayers’ dollars and then turning around and shipping American jobs overseas. Neither does the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM).
But that’s exactly what Marvel Entertainment did with the musical score for its blockbuster, "The Avengers," and that’s why AFM members today will picket the Wilmington, N.C., location where Marvel (a Walt Disney Co. subsidiary) is shooting "Iron Man 3."
Marvel received more than $30 million in tax rebates from various states where the film was shot, says AFM, but offshored the musical score to the U.K. The film company is receiving similar tax breaks for "Iron Man 3," says the union.
AFM President Ray Hair says:
Marvel lines its pockets with taxpayer money, taking care of everyone who works on their films, except musicians. Marvel’s actions toward professional musicians are un-American and unfair and we want the world to know it.
Hair and a dozen other AFM members stood outside the shooting location at Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington, handing out pamphlets and educating passers-by about how the film company was accepting North Carolina tax breaks and then shipping work for musicians overseas.
The AFM-member orchestras in the state—the North Carolina Symphony and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra—could use the work. Marvel is taking tax incentive money that could have been used to hire musicians right here in North Carolina.
It’s not as if Marvel/Disney is struggling to turn a profit on the comic book franchise. "The Avengers," budgeted at $200 million as is "Iron Man 3," grossed nearly $1.5 billion in worldwide box office revenue less than a month after its release. Disney’s assets stood at $74 billion in 2011, with reported net income of $4.8 billion on revenue of $40 billion. Disney acquired Marvel in 2009 for $4.24 billion. Disney CEO Bob Iger earned $50 million in 2011.
Doesn’t Marvel believe in truth, justice and the American way? Oops, wrong superhero.