Why Bob Iger’s Return to Disney Could Be Bad for Marvel Fans | Popgen Tech
Bob Chapek is out of Disney, replaced by former CEO Bob Iger, who led the company during its greatest period of growth. As people celebrate his return, Marvel fans may want to hold their cheers. Iger’s return may not be as glorious for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even as it unfolds on Disney+.
Disney+ was one of Iger’s brainchildren, as were many of Disney’s major initiatives over the past 15 years. In fact, after he announced his retirement, he extended his stay with the company until the end of the fiscal year in 2021. So even though Chapek’s tenure ran for more than two years, more than half of it was “helping” him of Iger as Executive Chairman. However, neither Iger nor Chapek were actually involved in the creative process; instead, they set the priorities for the company and let creative executives work to make that vision a reality. Kathleen Kennedy turns Lucasfilm’s attention to TV as the Star Wars the movies stop. Marvel Studios may have the exact opposite problem — and Iger may pivot the focus back to Marvel’s movies.
Disney’s Bob Iger Needs to Correct Course After Bob Chapek
Disney is not in a situation like Warner Bros. Discovery breaking HBO Max. Iger believes in Disney+ and it has been successful by any reasonable measure. But when he left Disney, Marvel Studios was on an unprecedented critical and box office success. The Disney+ series, by contrast, faced the kind of criticism that no MCU has faced since Thor: The Dark World. MCU movies are still leading the box office, but not like they used to; per Box Office Mojo, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever dropped 63 percent in its second week of theatrical release.
This could be because Disney+ has changed the way fans view the MCU. Instead of a big movie theater experience, the streamer put the MCU in viewers’ living rooms. Over the past two years, Marvel has released more new projects for Disney+ than in theaters. Iger could pull the emergency brake on the MCU hype train, telling Marvel to focus less on TV series and more on owning the big screen. And Iger may want more vertical integration with other Disney platforms like Hulu or ABC. Marvel Studios is making a wonderful, cinematic series, but can they do it on a network TV budget or with a network TV tie-in? Iger could make major changes to the MCU’s business plan.
Disney’s Bob Iger Can Stay Out of Kevin Feige’s Way
What is the value of a CEO Actually given to a company is an open question. However, if Iger has a special skill, it’s that he knows how to handle creative talent — and Disney is a company built on a foundation of creative talent. There is no question that the endgame for any of these mega studios is to make “all the money.” However, WarnerMedia and Disney’s all-in-on-streaming strategy showed too early during the pandemic. While this provided a safe option for immunocompromised people to see new movies, others in the industry saw it as a misguided way to starve theaters at their most desperate hour.
Feige later emphasized the importance of visibility Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in theaters (per Screen Rant) in an attempt to boost the 2021 box office with MCU might. The film became the highest-grossing Labor Day Weekend release in history, according to Box Office Mojo, and made more than $430 million. Since that’s still pretty impressive and Iger has a reputation for being a talent-friendly executive, it’s also possible that he trusts Feige to continue to lead the MCU as he sees fit.
Iger will undoubtedly make changes to how Disney does business. He needs to if he hopes to resolve the disasters of the short-lived Chapek era. That could mean the MCU is tightening its purse strings or regrouping to focus more on its big-screen projects — taking away some of its strengths. But it could also mean that Marvel is returning to what made it the box office behemoth.