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Steve Jobs called Disney's CEO to tell him that this Marvel movie 'sucked'

Steve Jobs was not a man to mince words.

The late Apple founder was the subject of a hilarious and illuminating passage in Disney CEO Bob Iger's recently published memoir The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company. In it, Iger warmly recounts his friendship with Jobs and the impact that the visionary businessman, who was at one point Disney's largest shareholder, had on his tenure leading the company. Iger also revealed that after catching a screening of Iron Man 2, Jobs called him personally to offer his opinion — that the flick had left a little to be desired.

"When Iron Man 2 came out, Steve took his son to see it and called me the next day," Iger recalled. "'I took Reed to see Iron Man 2 last night,' he said. 'It sucked.'" (via Slashfilm)

Iger went on to remember that, while he actually agreed that the sequel had been a significant artistic step down from its predecessor, he "couldn't let [Jobs] feel he was right all the time." As such, he mounted a defense of Iron Man 2 of the sort that he knew Jobs would understand, pointing out that the sequel had made more money at the box office than the first film.

The passage was the funniest in a very revealing section of Iger's book in which he delves into his personal and professional relationship with one of the most forward-thinking minds in the history of the business world. As it turns out, Disney's acquisition of Marvel Studios — which was purchased by the House of Mouse in 2009 for $4 billion dollars — may never have happened if not for Jobs, who happened to be friends with both Iger and former Marvel boss Ike Perlmutter. (via Vanity Fair)

"Steve became a Disney board member and our largest shareholder, and whenever I wanted to do something big, I talked it over with him," Iger wrote. "In 2009, after our very successful acquisition of Pixar, we were interested in acquiring Marvel, so I met with Steve and walked him through the business. He claimed to have never read a comic book in his life ('I hate them more than I hate video games,' he told me), so I brought an encyclopedia of Marvel characters with me to explain the universe to him and show him what we would be buying. He spent about 10 seconds looking at it, then pushed it aside and said, 'Is this one important to you? Do you really want it? Is it another Pixar?'"

Iger responded that he didn't know if it was another Pixar, but that he felt in his gut that purchasing Marvel Studios and its Marvel Cinematic Universe — which is now far and away the highest-grossing film franchise of all time — was a good move.

"When it came to the Marvel question, I told him that I wasn't sure if it was another Pixar, but they had great talent at the company, and the content was so rich that if we held the IP, it would put some real distance between us and everyone else," he wrote. "I asked him if he'd be willing to reach out to Ike Perlmutter, Marvel's CEO and controlling shareholder, and vouch for me."

Jobs did just that, and according to Iger, it was that phone call that sealed the deal. "Later, after we'd closed the deal, Ike told me that he'd still had his doubts and the call from Steve made a big difference," he wrote. "'[Jobs] said you were true to your word,' Ike said. I was grateful that Steve was willing to do it as a friend, really, more than as the most influential member of our board. Every once in a while, I would say to him, 'I have to ask you this, you're our largest shareholder,' and he would always respond, 'You can't think of me as that. That's insulting. I'm just a good friend.'"

Indeed, Jobs was the kind of friend that we should all have, and we say this with utmost sincerity: the kind who can tell you that the thing you made wasn't any good, and yet, you know that they still love you. 

"You don't expect to develop such close friendships late in life, but when I think back on my time as CEO—at the things I'm most grateful for and surprised by — my relationship with Steve is one of them," Iger wrote. "He could criticize me, and I could disagree, and neither of us took it too personally."

This is all very heartwarming, and we can't wait to read Iger's book, which we're sure is full of amazing insights into the explosive growth of Disney and all of the partnerships the entertainment monolith has forged over the last decade and a half. It also must be stated that there will probably never be another Steve Jobs, a man whose keen vision was matched only by his grace and humility. 

Having said all that, however, we would be remiss not to say that contrary to popular opinion and in spite of the deadpan diss by a man far smarter than we are, we thought Iron Man 2 was awesome.