Bob Iger Says Disney Is ‘Leaning More’ Into Sequels, Franchises: ‘Actually a Smart Thing’

The CEO adds that the studio would “reduce output” at Marvel after its recent flood of streaming

Disney CEO Bob Iger and "Moana" still
Disney CEO Bob Iger and "Moana" (Credit: Getty Images/Disney)

Get ready for more sequels and franchises from Disney. CEO Bob Iger said on the company’s Wednesday earnings call that its stable of studios will be leaning more into familiar faces in theaters in the coming years.

“I’d say we’re leaning a little bit more into sequels and franchises,” Iger told analysts. “I think given the environment and given what it takes to get people out of their homes to see a film … leaning on franchises that are familiar is actually a smart thing.”

Iger also noted that Disney would be walking back the strategy it had taken when it launched Disney+ to produce a wave of streaming titles for the service. Marvel Studios in particular leaned heavily into this strategy, releasing the popular “WandaVision” in early 2021 before releasing several more titles like “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Hawkeye,” “Moon Knight” and “She-Hulk” to diminishing returns.

“In our zeal to greatly increase volume partially tied to this wanting to chase more global subs for our streaming platform, some of our studios lost a little focus. So the first step that we’ve taken is that we’ve reduced volume, we reduced output, particularly in Marvel,” Iger said.

Iger’s promise to make less overall, but more of the titles audiences loved most, is reflected in Disney’s new slate additions. During the earnings call, the studio announced that sequels to its hit 2016 animated films “Moana” and “Zootopia” will be the company’s Thanksgiving releases in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

Over the past two years, Disney has seen two original animated films flop in the coveted November holiday release slot. “Strange World,” a film inspired by pulpy adventure comics, became Disney Animation’s biggest bomb since the 2002 film “Treasure Planet,” grossing just $73.6 million at the global box office.

Disney’s 2023 Thanksgiving offering, “Wish,” did better than “Strange World,” but still sputtered amidst tepid audience and critical reviews with $244 million grossed worldwide, less than half of the $687.2 million that “Moana” grossed from its Thanksgiving 2016 release and less than a quarter of the $1 billion that “Zootopia” grossed in the spring of that year.

Along with those sequels — and previously announced sequels to “Toy Story” and “Frozen” — Disney’s summer animated films for 2024 will be Pixar’s sequel to “Inside Out,” a film that grossed $857 million worldwide back in 2015. Other franchise films the studio has on the slate for 2024 include 20th Century’s “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” Marvel Studios’ “Deadpool 3,” and the “Lion King” prequel “Mufasa.”


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