One of many criticisms of Disney and of Hollywood in general right now is how reliant they are on established franchises for their major blockbuster releases.   Either as reboots of existing franchises or sequels/prequels to existing films.

Disney’s current theatrical release schedule is full of movies from established franchises, with the odd original movie thrown in.   Many fans have questioned where Disney’s originality is, as since Bob Iger’s return, he has announced sequels for “Moana”, “Toy Story” and “Frozen”. 

During a recent investors quarterly investors call, Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked about the balance of sequels and original films being released, to which he replied:

We’re going to balance sequels with originals, particularly in animation. We had gone through a period where our original films in animation, both Disney and Pixar, were dominating. We’re now swinging back a bit to lean on sequels. And so, we’ve talked, as you know, about Toy Story and obviously Inside Out this summer.

I just think that right now, given the competition in the overall movie marketplace that actually there’s a lot of value in the sequels, obviously because they’re known and it takes less in terms of marketing.

In terms of Marvel specifically, it implies there too, we actually have both. Thunderbolts for instance, is coming up in 2025 as an original. And then, of course, we mentioned Deadpool this summer, which is a sequel and I talked about Avengers and Captain America is coming out in 2025. It will be — it will just be a balance, which we think is right.

In terms of 20th Century Fox, we continue to look at the library to see what can be mined. I mentioned Alien earlier. We’ve talked about Avatar 3, which is coming. Obviously, Planet of the Apes where there might be more opportunity pending the success of the film to do more. I don’t think we’ll necessarily lean into the library, but we’ll continue to look opportunistically at it.

Though the reason for this is that after many years of original movies like “Strange World”, “Raya And The Last Dragon” and “Encanto” failing to ignite at the box office, plus the perception that Pixar movies aren’t worth going to the cinema anymore following the straight to Disney+ releases for “Luca”, “Soul” and “Turning Red”, it’s hardly surprising that Disney is returning to what has worked in the past.

With Disney failing to ignite the box office over the last few years, it’s hardly surprising that they are going back to their old playbook, especially with Iger back in charge.  They’ve got to find that balance between original and franchise, because they need new franchises to capture people’s imaginations. 

We’ve had over half a dozen original animated films in the last few years. Many of them haven’t connected with audiences, but I’d rather they tried than just keep churning out the same things.   Balancing originals and franchises is going to be tricky.  I really hope 20th Century Studios is given some more freedom to explore different types of films away from the typical franchise fare because they need to take risks. Some might fail, but audiences showed the Hollywood studios last year that established franchises don’t automatically equal hits.

What do you think about Disney’s current plan for its franchises?  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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