Following the announcement that Disney CEO, Bob Iger, had extended his contract into 2026. Iger has sat down for a new interview where he discussed various topics and revealed that the company would “pulling back” on various franchises including Star Wars.
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During the discussion with CNBC, the interviewer brought up the output of Star Wars and Marvel Studios content had been a “little much” and asked if Disney would be pulling back from those franchises in terms of releases, Bob Iger simply said “Yes” before briefly pausing and elaborating on the decision telling CNBC, “You pull back, not just to focus, but as part of our cost cutting initiative – spending less on what we make and making less.”
The Disney CEO went on to use the output of Marvel Studios as an example, “Marvel is a great example of that. It had not been in the television business at any significant level, and not only did they increase their movie output, but they ended up making a number of TV series. Frankly, it diluted focus and attention.” Since 2021, Marvel Studios has released eight live-action series to Disney+ with three more already shot and awaiting release (Echo, Iron Heart, Agatha: Coven of Chaos) and two in production (Wonder Man, Daredevil: Born Again). In addition, Marvel Studios has released seven movies during the same time.
Star Wars on the other hand has released three seasons of The Mandalorian, the limited series Obi-Wan Kenobi, the critically acclaimed Andor and a Mandalorian spin-off in The Book of Boba Fett since the launch of Disney+, with two more series planned for release this year in Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew. Next year a second season of Andor is due to be released along with a new series titled The Acolyte, and a planned fourth season of The Mandalorian has been written and is waiting to enter production. In stark contrast to Marvel Studios, there hasn’t been a Star Wars film released since 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but it’s not for a lack of trying on Lucasfilm’s part. Currently the next Star Wars film is slated to release in May 2026 with a further two films planned for December 2026 and December 2027.
Bob Iger went on to acknowledge Disney’s disappointing year at the box office with their tentpole releases including Little Mermaid, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Elemental all underperforming, with their latest release, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny projected to earn below $400M at the box office despite boasting a bloated $300M budget without marketing costs considered. In regards to Pixar, Bob Iger believe the decision to release three Pixar films in a row straight to streaming during the COVID-19 pandemic might have had a significant impact on the performance of Elemental as audiences now have an expectation that the Pixar releases will be available on Disney+ shortly after a theatrical release. The Disney CEO did however acknowledge that in regards to certain releases, there may have been some creative misses.
Though refusing to say that Disney might be in a dip at this current time with four of it’s high profile 2023 releases underperforming, Bob Iger acknowledged the past history of Disney and that when they’re in a “valley” it’s typically followed by a “peak” as the Disney CEO told CNBC, “If you look at history, there were peaks and there were valleys. Every valley was followed by a peak. I’ve studied it very carefully and it was true in my predecessor Micheal Eisner’s days too. Great halcyon days with Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Lion King, and just this tremendous success and then there’s a dip. I’m not suggesting we’re necessarily in that [dip] and I’m also not suggesting we’re in a peak either and we have some to work to do in our creative output.”
Clearly the next few years of Disney will feature change and how it’ll impact consumers is yet to be seen. Both Star Wars and Marvel have been cornerstones of Disney+ and both played a huge part in the growth and success of the streaming service, so it’ll be interesting to see how the streamer fairs with less releases from its most popular franchises and if the quality of the work in regards the series released will be improved upon.
The next Star Wars series, Ahsoka, is slated to release on August 23rd with a two episode premiere.
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