Back in 2019, Disney had an incredible run, with seven movies hitting one billion dollars.  However, this year, Disney won’t manage to get a single title to a billion. But this year, only two titles, “Barbie” and “Super Mario Bros” have joined that billion-dollar club.

Earlier today, Bob Iger participated in a Q&A session at the New York Times DealBook Summit and spoke about how Disney’s latest films have been struggling to be significant successes, with most films underperforming. Bob tried to explain how the billion-dollar target has become the standard for them, which is problematic.

“I’m not sure another studio will ever achieve some of the numbers that we achieved. I mean, we got to the point where if a film didn’t do a billion dollars in global box office, we were disappointed. That’s an unbelievably high standard.”

Since Iger’s return, he has been very open about how Disney hasn’t been able to hit those same heights, other than “Avatar: The Way Of Water”, which came out just a few weeks after Iger’s return.

Over the past year, we’ve seen the two Marvel films, “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” and “The Marvels” vastly underperforming, along with audiences not going to see other films like “Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny” and “The Little Mermaid”.

There has been a lot of pushback by audiences on Disney doing too many franchise movies, either live-action remakes, sequels, or prequels. Other studios have been suffering from a similar issue this year, but franchise fatigue looks like it has become an issue for audiences.   Iger explained:

““I think I don’t want to apologize for making sequels.  Some of them have done extraordinarily well. And they’ve been good films too. I think there has to be a reason to make it, beyond commerce. You have to have a good story. And we have made too many. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to continue to make them,”

One of the biggest changes in how Disney releases its movies since 2019, was the introduction of Disney+, and many fans point to the fact that audiences aren’t going to cinemas as much, because it has gotten so expensive to go to cinemas and movies are released on Disney+ just months after a theatrical release.

Bob Iger responded to how Disney+ has impacted the box office:

“The experience of accessing [the films] and watching them in the home is better than it ever was.  And [it’s] a bargain when you think about it. Streaming Disney+ you can get for $7 a month. That’s a lot cheaper than taking your whole family to a film. So, I think the bar is now raised in terms of quality about what gets people out of their homes, into movie theaters.”

Quality has also suffered over the past years, with Bob Iger stating that the company has diluted its quality, especially regarding the Marvel Cinematic Universe and puts the blame on pandemic-related restrictions, making it difficult for executives to oversee its increased number of films and television productions.  

Over the past year, Bob Iger has been very open about how he wants to cut back on the amount of productions and to focus on quality on quantity, and he repeated:

“I’ve been very public about it saying and I would say right now my number one priority is to help the studio turn around creatively.”

There are many reasons why audiences haven’t returned to cinemas in the same way since 2019 and without a doubt, both the existence of Disney+ and lower-quality films have played a part in why.    With fewer titles being released and likely longer theatrical release windows, maybe 2024 will be a better year for Disney’s box office hopes.

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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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