Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a massive bomb. Elementals was one of Pixar’s worst openings of all time. Disney is in trouble. Its wokeness is going broke. And the man at the top will stay on until 2026.
The Walt Disney Company’s 2022 box office grosses are the worst the company has posted in nearly two decades. Not only are the grosses the worst in nearly two decades but just since 2019 the company has seen their grosses decline nearly 70%.
That was Bounding Into Comics. But even Variety, repping the usual Hollywood press, has bad news for Disney.
But this year, the long-reigning titan of the box office has shown cracks as four of its biggest releases from those brands and others have struggled in theaters. There was the dispiriting release of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” a rare Marvel movie to likely lose tens of millions in its theatrical run; “The Little Mermaid,” a remake of the 1989 animated classic that fell drastically short of expectations; “Elemental,” an original story that tried and failed to recapture Pixar’s magic; and most recently “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” a nearly $300 million investment in one of cinemas’ most venerable franchises, which no longer appears to have the same hold on today’s audiences.
Variety won’t touch the W-word, but Disney has spent years setting the IP it built its business model around. Now that business model is in trouble. And over at Disney, that means it’s time to make Bob Iger, the man behind this disaster, CEO for life.
The Walt Disney Co. announced that CEO Bob Iger has agreed to stay in his position with the company through the end of 2026.
In a news release posted Wednesday, the company said its board of directors voted unanimously to extend Iger’s contract by two years. Iger, 72, returned to the company last November after previously stepping down in 2020 following a 15-year tenure as CEO.
The company said Iger’s extension provides “continuity of leadership” during its “ongoing transformation.” It added that the move will give the company more time to execute a transition plan for CEO succession, which it noted is a top priority for the board of directors.
“Time and again, Bob has shown an unparalleled ability to successfully transform Disney to drive future growth and financial returns, earning him a reputation as one of the world’s best CEOs,” Disney Chairman Mark G. Parker said in a statement.
His unparalleled ability to milk IPs only matches his unparalleled ability to destroy them.
Disney bet everything on streaming and that’s not working. It leveraged IP but its Marvel properties are starting to falter, it’s having trouble launching new original animated properties, and it can’t manage a Star Wars movie. All of that is really bad news. Its theme park business has also been poisoned.
Bob Iger, who returned as CEO after a brief hiatus and displaced his successor Bob Chapek, is simultaneously battling Wall Street’s unrest over the unprofitability of Disney+, concerns that Disney’s parks business may have alienated customers with its higher prices, and a rise in cord cutting that’s imperiling its cable properties like ESPN.
Visitors to Disney theme parks this summer are encountering something they haven’t seen in a while: elbow room.
Travel analysts and advisers say traffic to Disney’s U.S. parks, and some rival parks, has slowed this summer. Data from a travel company that tracks line-waiting time at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., shows that the Independence Day weekend was one of the slowest in nearly a decade.
Disney executives have said they have expected weaker earnings from their U.S. parks this year. The Orlando-area resort is even offering hotel discounts around Christmas, typically a peak period.
So why does the Disney board refuse to consider new leadership? Why was Iger allowed to stage his coup and double down on wokeness?
While people fantasize about Disney firing Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy after she decided to make her stand-ins the star of every franchise including the recent Indiana Jones, she’s no more likely to go than Bob.
The Disney leadership is as locked into wokeness as the leaders of the old Soviet Union were into Communism. It’ll take a whole lot more brokenness, the way it did in the USSR, before they’re overthrown.