Apparently, the honeymoon is over as Disney CEO Bob Iger has gone on record regarding the future of its multi-billion dollar investments. Now as multiple media outlets report that the CEO is essentially throwing Marvel and Star Wars under the bus the greater truth is that Iger is acknowledging losses across the board, including Pixar, and multiple business models. In the short interview with CNBC he does point out that Disney’s zeal with Marvel spurred many projects that essentially strained and overtaxed its personnel and their focus.
“Marvel is a great example of that. It had not been in the television business at any significant level, and not only did they increase their movie output, but they ended up making a number of TV series,” said Iger. “Frankly, it diluted focus and attention.”
Iger goes on to say that Disney has been producing content for over a century now and that there have always been peaks and valleys. He adds that while not all Marvel projects have performed as hoped, it still has, so far, done well in 2023 (no doubt referring to GOTG3 which has managed just over $841 million globally, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse which is at just under $650 million). When it comes to the other galactic-sized elephant in the room, Star Wars, he elaborates (for both) that costs have to be examined.
“You pull back not just to focus, but also as part of our cost containment initiative. Spending less on what we make, and making less,” Iger said Thursday.”
Pixar and licensing
When it comes to its other once-golden-child of animated features he states that Pixar has experienced multiple challenges in recent years. From direct to streaming during the COVID-19 lockdown to staffing changes from top to bottom, he said that Pixar has had a lot to deal with. While on the topic of direct-to-streaming, he attributed lower box office sales to a decrease in theatrical attendance as moviegoers became accustomed to just waiting until projects hit streaming. Lastly in the interview when asked about the possibility of Disney going back to a model of licensing its products to other services (aka rival Netflix) that “It’s a possibility. I won’t rule out,” but that was a prior model when Disney had not yet entered the streaming service market. Ultimately, Disney CEO Bob Iger expresses full confidence that the company will turn things around to become profitable with its various projects.