Disney Pumps the Brakes on Marvel and Star Wars

(Photo by Anna Nekrashevich via Pexels)
(Photo by Anna Nekrashevich via Pexels)

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Avengers, disperse!

Disney’s boomerang CEO Bob Iger said Thursday that the company will lessen its laser-beam-like focus on creating content from two huge franchises it absorbed: Marvel comics and Star Wars. We’re guessing that as he said it, he gave an ominous click of his fingers…

A New Despair

Iger re-assumed the CEO throne in November and went on a $5.5 billion cost-cutting mission, laying off 7,000 staffers in the process. Unfortunately for Iger, recent underwhelming film releases like Pixar’s Elemental haven’t helped line Mr. Mouse’s big red pockets. Disney’s Q2 media and entertainment earnings report showed a 42% drop in non-parks operating income (and their parks aren’t doing too hot either).

Part of Iger’s reasoning for scaling back spending on the Marvel and Star Wars franchises specifically is that there’s simply too much of them spread across both film and straight-to-streaming TV series:

  • Iger told CNBC that Marvel “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,” adding: “Frankly, it diluted focus and attention.” It also made it impossible for viewers to keep up with an MCU expanding at roughly the speed of light.
  • Marvel’s most recent film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was a hit even relative to other Marvel films, but February’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania fell short of expectations.

Sticking Around: Iger is technically interim CEO and was slated to depart in 2024, but news broke Wednesday that his contract has been extended through 2026 — so he can keep a watchful eye on any Jedi rebels who want to start filming again, alongside any striking actors and writers.