Before the pandemic, Disney was riding high on releasing one billion dollar box office hit after another, with the biggest box office receipts of any major studio. However, during the pandemic, the crown slipped as cinemas closed around the world, and audiences didn’t return in the same way as before.

While Disney has had some considerable success with “Avatar: The Way Of Water” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” over the past few years, Disney has been struggling to get movies to the billion-dollar mark, with not one film in 2023 reaching that milestone. 

Between audiences being trained to wait for a Disney+ release by major titles from Pixar being released directly on the streaming platform and lacklustre movies that failed to capture the audience’s attention, Disney has gone on a significant revamp across the studio, including many members of the Disney team being let go and a commitment to focus more on quality over quantity. 

Just before the upcoming annual shareholder meeting, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger took part in a question-and-answer session at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, where he spoke about several different topics.

During the interview, Bob Iger spoke about how the past and how they are planning on fixing the situation:

“As a studio, that was number one at the box office for seven out of eight years, that was not an accident. That’s a combination of both, obviously, the IP that we have, but also the execution — both the management execution, the execution from the creative side.  Basically means spending a lot of time with the creators, watching these films, giving detailed notes … engaging in a respectful process that results in improvement. And actually, when I talked about being relentless, it’s not letting certain things get in the way of making something great. Whether it’s more resources … or more time.  You have to put into the pipeline things you really do believe in. And we know we’re working on that as well.”

And being more focused on better quality has resulted in Bob Iger revealing that they’ve cancelled some projects they’ve been working on.

“You have to kill things you no longer believe in, and that’s not easy in this business, because either you’ve gotten started, you have some sunk costs, or it’s a relationship with either your employees or with the creative community.  It’s not an easy thing, but you got to make those tough calls. We’ve actually made those tough calls. We’ve not been that public about it, but we’ve killed a few projects already, that we just didn’t feel were strong enough.”

Unfortunately, we don’t know what those cancelled projects are; hopefully, in time, we might get some clarification on what is and isn’t happening.  

Following the recent backlash against Disney moving forward on multiple live-action reimaginings of animated classics and with a brand new head of Disney Live Action and 20th Century Studios, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those projects aren’t moving forward.

With both Marvel and Lucasfilm also cutting back on their plans for Disney+, I feel some projects, either announced or unannounced, are also in this pile. One show that comes to mind is Marvel’s “Ironheart,” which was due to be released this year and has already been filmed, but there’s been radio silence on whether or when it’s coming out.

Bob Iger also spoke briefly about how he doesn’t necessarily believe in superhero fatigue or Marvel fatigue, following a dip in box office numbers and viewing figures for many of the recent superhero shows and films.  Iger explained:

“A lot of people think it’s audience fatigue, it’s not audience fatigue. They want great films. And if you build it great, they will come and there are countless examples of that. Some are ours and some are others. Oppenheimer is a perfect example of that. Just a fantastic film.  Focus is really important. We reduced the output of Marvel, both number of films they make, and the number of TV shows, and that really becomes critical, but I feel good about the team. I feel good about the IP we’re making. I talked about a lot of the projects. We look years ahead, really. And it’s iterative.”

Since Bob Iger returned as the CEO of Disney in late 2022, he has been trying to steer the company back on track, which takes time in a huge company. We are seeing the results of this, with fewer titles being released. In this interview, Iger once again stressed that they are focusing on making their films and shows better, which is ultimately better in the long run.

During the Q&A session, Bob name touted some of the studio’s upcoming films, including “Deadpool & Wolverine”, “Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes”, “Inside Out 2”, and “Moana 2”.  

There is little doubt that there has been a reduction in quality from Disney’s studios over the past few years, from storytelling, visual effects and also an issue with messaging, which has alienated a large percentage of the audience.  Hopefully, we will see a return to Disney being at the top of their game again soon and killing off a project that just isn’t working, or isn’t good enough, is ultimately likely going to be the right call, as too many projects from Disney have been released, that probably shouldn’t have.

What projects do you think Disney has cancelled?  Let us know on social media!


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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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