Disney’s magic spell wearing off; Accountant Kit Parfitt has no illusions about the varying quality of some of Disney’s recent Marvel Studios releases.
The She-Hulk and Moon Knight miniseries were weak, he says. Thor: Love and Thunder is even worse. “I can’t watch it again.”
But the “huge” Disney fan, 27, who lives near Brighton. Says the disappointment won’t put him off cinemas this month when the latest release – Ant-Man and the Wasp – opens.
“If it’s Marvel, Star Wars, I’ll watch anything,” he says.
Disney’s magic spell wearing off; It’s the kind of commitment Disney is counting on as it tries to navigate a profitable path in a world of shrinking movie sales. Pay TV cancellations and money-losing online streaming.
CEO Bob Iger, who was reinstat in November after the sudden ouster of CEO Bob Chapek. Told investors this month that the company would double down on its big brands like Marvel. Frozen, proven profit generators, while cutting spending on riskier ” with general entertainment”. ” fare.
This year, there’s a new Little Mermaid, a second Indiana Jones and a third Guardians of the Galaxy on board.
It was follow by Toy Story 5, Frozen III and another Zootopia, known as Zootropolis in the UK.
The moves are a gamble that the strategy Iger oversaw during his first tenure as CEO from 2005 to 2020. When he bought Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm. Saw the company’s stock price more than sixfold, continues to work its magic. .
Disney’s magic spell wearing off; He even said that the company is pulling back a bit from streaming. Focusing more on theaters and traditional TVs for content distribution than in recent years. When it sent content to its Disney+ streaming service to gain subscribers.
Will the traditional playbook be enough?
Jessica Reif Ehrlich, an analyst at Bank of America. Said Disney’s Brand Resonance gives it an advantage over its rivals, but investors have yet to be convince.
Disney’s stock price has nearly halved since March 2021 and hasn’t moved much since Iger announced his plans.
“Everyone knows there are a lot of challenges,” he says. “There’s still a lot of heavy lifting ahead of him.”
Movie ticket sales remain about a third lower than in 2019, before the pandemic closed theaters around the world.
And the rise of streaming has fragmented audiences, making it harder for people to pay for entertainment.
Oxfordshire mum-of-two Jackie Allen says she opt for a Disney+ subscription for her two children because she wasn’t convince the offer was worth the add cost. The company’s upcoming roster doesn’t impress him either.
“It seems like they’re renovating something just to make money, not if they should,” he says.
Even die-hard fans like Kit admit they’re try.
He chats with me among the tourists and locals checking out Disney’s Brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan’s Times Square, and he says that the latest Disney action movies like Avatar are sure to entice you to the cinema.
But his wife Andrea, who walked down the aisle to a song from the 2009 Disney/Pixar movie Up, worries that long backstories like those in a franchise like Marvel might surprise new audiences.
And they both say there’s no rush for something like Toy Story 5.
Not only do the couple stay at home when the cost of living rises, but they’re generally try of the story after four movies and one twist.
“It’s a bit much to milk at five,” says Kit.
Accusations that Disney relies too heavily on recycling and recycling classics are nothing new.
After all, the company is preparing for the ninth version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs since the first one was release in 1937.
But in recent years, the strategy that fueled decades of success has become embroiled in America’s increasingly bitter culture wars, with a series of updates that have prompted accusations from conservatives that the company is too “woke.”
Last year’s release of the Toy Story spinoff Lightyear, for example, was marry by the same-sex kiss controversy, which the company reinstate after employees accused the company of censoring same-sex affection.
The film’s gay storyline, which has been permanently ban in some markets, has drawn criticism from right-wing politicians such as US Senator Ted Cruz.
Despite the risk of alienating some fans, the franchise strategy has proven profitable, says Janet Wasko, a University of Oregon media studies professor and author of Disney Inc.
“It’s risky in a way, but building on the fans and consumers you already have and expanding the consumption options — if it works, it can actually be incredibly profitable,” he says. “I can’t imagine them stopping.”
Disney fan Amanda Welch, 29, a subscriber to the company’s streaming platform who has visited Disneyworld more than 10 times, says the company’s policy of returning to big brands has not diminished her love for Disney.
She and her fiancé, Brandon Dumont, 31, canceled the service several times to help manage their expenses. But they keep coming back. Sometimes they turn on Disney+ just to put them to sleep.
“There’s not really a Disney movie that I get tired of,” says Brandon. “I could watch them over and over.”