By playing politics and wearing old franchises to the limit, Disney ends up alienating the viewer for the long term. This was conceded by its CEO, Bob Iger, on Wednesday, November 29, in New York, as part of the DealBook Summit event, a forum organized by the New York Times . “The creators lost sight of what their number one goal should be. We must entertain first. It’s not about [sending] messages,” declared the 72-year-old boss, who was nevertheless one of the great architects of Disney’s progressive shift from the 2000s.
Certainly, Mr. Iger believes that he has long succeeded in entertaining while promoting his values . “We have made a positive impact on the world in many different ways. Black Panther [released in 2018] is a great example of that,” explained Bob Iger. But the primary goal is to entertain. Since he took over the helm of the company a year ago, losing momentum after a false retirement in 2021, Mr. Iger says he wants to “return to our roots” .
Disney has become entangled in a culture war with Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, candidate for the Democratic nomination for 2024. Criticized for its “wokism”, the company has been the subject of attacks on social networks for having included a same-sex kiss in Lightyear ( Buzz Lightyear , 2022) and an openly gay character in Strange World (Avalonia, The Strange Journey , 2022) . The most reactionary public deplored that the Little Mermaid , in its last version, was played by the black actress Halle Bailey.
The remake of Snow White , which will be released in 2025, is already causing controversy, because the dwarves will be replaced by “magical creatures”, while the heroine should emancipate herself, according to actress Rachel Zegler, who will play Snow White on screen: “It’s no longer 1937 [publication of Disney’s first Snow White ]. She will not be saved by the prince. And she won’t dream of true love. She dreams of becoming the leader she knows she can be. » By wanting to reconcile tradition and modernity, incapable of truly innovating, Disney annoys everyone and above all ends up boring.
Box office failures
The most annoying thing is that Disney is multiplying its failures at the box office. Wish ( Asha and the Lucky Star ) only placed third at the American box office for the Thanksgiving long weekend and joins a series of failures, such as The Marvels or Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny , fifth avatar since 1981 with octogenarian actor Harrison Ford. The Little Mermaid has raked in 570 million dollars (523 million euros) in revenue but remains very far from the billion exceeded by The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast .
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