Disney boss admits Disney’s output hasn’t been good enough

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Disney boss Bob Iger opens up on the shortcomings of Marvel, Pixar and other of the company’s projects. 

Disney CEO, Bob Iger is staying in the hot seat until 2026 it was revealed yesterday, extending his second spell as CEO for two years beyond his original end date. Simply put, that’s because the company is facing a number of complex problems, not least in its film division where the solid string of hits that made Disney the envy of every other studio before the pandemic, seems to have largely dried up.

Iger has extended his stay in an attempt to arrest this decline, and in an interview with CNBC the CEO has admitted that a key reason for this is that the quality and quantity of Disney’s output have not been on point. With regards to Marvel, Iger seems to suggest out that the problem isn’t down to the failings of MCU head honcho, Kevin Feige or other creative personnel, but rather an over-saturation of TV shows and movies:

“It’s reflective not as a problem from a personnel perspective, but I think in our zeal to basically grow our content significantly to serve mostly our streaming offerings,” says Iger. “We ended up taxing our people way beyond — in terms of their time and their focus — way beyond where they had been.

Marvel’s a great example of that. They had not been in the TV business at any significant level. Not only did they increase their movie output, but they ended up making a number of television series, and frankly, it diluted focus and attention. That is, I think, more of the cause than anything.”

As for Pixar, whose films have really struggled to make an impact at the box office since the pandemic, Iger added that “there were three Pixar releases in a row that went direct to streaming in part because mostly because of Covid. And I think that, you know, may have created an expectation in the audience that they’re going to eventually be on streaming and probably quickly, and there wasn’t an urgency. And then I think there was some – I think you’d have to agree that there was some creative misses, as well.”

Iger’s comments are a subtle deflection of responsibility for Disney’s current woes in the direction of his predecessor, Bob Chapek. At the end of Iger’s first spell in charge of the company, Chapek succeeded Iger, with one of his key responsibilities being to generate films and TV shows for Disney’s then-nascent streaming platform, Disney+.

Whether Iger would have done things differently or not, we’ll never know but his comments make it clear that outwardly, he thinks the strategy of focusing too much on Disney’s core brands has damaged them. Whether that damage can be reversed will be a key question that will define the rest of his stewardship of the company for the next three years.

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