Disney CEO Bob Iger to Prioritize Entertainment Over ‘Messages’

Photo from Disney’s Instagram

Disney CEO Bob Iger to Prioritize Entertainment Over ‘Messages’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Disney CEO Bob Iger is resetting the company’s focus on entertainment over political messages following a recent string of box office flops.

While at the DealBook Summit in New York, Iger stated, “Creators lost sight of what their No. 1 objective needed to be. We have to entertain first. It’s not about messages.”

“We have entertained with values and with having a positive impact on the world in many different ways,” he continued.

“BLACK PANTHER is a great example of that,” Iger said. “I like being able to entertain if you can infuse it with positive messages and have a good impact on the world. Fantastic. But that should not be the objective. When I came back, what I have really tried to do is to return to our roots.”

“I’ve worked hard since I’ve been back to reminding the creative community who are our partners and our employees that that’s the objective,” he said. “And I don’t really want to tolerate the opposite.”

Iger returned as CEO after Disney fired Bob Chapek from the position last year.

According to The New York Times, Iger was “disappointed in what I was seeing in the transition period and while I was out. I worked hard at distancing myself from it.”

Viewers have made their disdain for Disney’s pro-LGBTQ and anti-family messages known in recent years.

2022’s LIGHTYEAR, which featured a same-sex kiss, garnered a minimal box office take. STRANGE WORLD, which featured a gay character, similarly struggled to make an impact on audiences.

More recently, THE MARVELS and WISH failed to draw viewers.

Movieguide® reported:

WISH opened over the Thanksgiving weekend, placing third at the box office behind THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES and NAPOLEON. The musical fantasy brought in $31.7 million – a massive underperformance for an animated Disney movie.

THE MARVELS performed worse, as it only grossed $9.2 million in its second week, putting it on track to be the worst-performing Marvel movie of all time.

According to Variety, “Since returning to Disney, Iger said he has been ‘fixing a lot of problems that the company has had, and dealing with a lot of challenges.’ Some of those ‘were brought on by decisions that were made by my predecessor,’ he said, while others ‘are just basically the result of a tremendous amount of disruption in the world and in our business.’”

Movieguide® previously reported:

With most Disney movies costing roughly $200 million to create and an additional $100 million for advertising, nearly every Disney movie released this year has failed. Despite nearly a dozen new releases, many of which were continuations of existing IP, only two movies found real success.

The live-action remake of THE LITTLE MERMAID managed to bring a large audience to theaters. However, its $569 million gross is a far cry from the $1.66 billion captured by THE LION KING in 2019.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXAY VOL. 3 also found widespread success, grossing $845 million to close off the trilogy.

With a month left in 2023, it appears that this will be the first year since 2014 – apart from the pandemic-constricted 2020 and 2021 – that Disney does not hit $1 billion with one of its releases.

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Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

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