Bob Iger Defends Disney Sequels: ‘Some of Them Have Done Extraordinarily Well’

The CEO noted that Disney’s box office is still among the leaders in the industry

Bob Iger in front of a Disney+ logo
Bob Iger (Getty Images)

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger discussed the company’s underwhelming box office run, refusing to say “sorry” for a recent run of sequel disappointments.

“I think I don’t want to apologize for making sequels,” Iger stated during a Q&A at the New York Times’ DealBook conference. “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.”

The comments came amid a generally disappointing year for the studio, with lower-than-hoped grosses for the likes of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “The Marvels” and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.”

The comments came after interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin read a letter directed at shareholders which was written by Walt Disney himself in 1966. “I’m a born experimenter,” Disney declared in a statement decrying conventional sequels. “To this day, I don’t believe in sequels. I can’t follow popular cycles, I have to move on to new things. There are many new worlds to conquer. As a matter of fact, people have been asking us to make sequels ever since Mickey Mouse first became a star.”

The note continued, “Right now we’re not thinking about making another ‘Mary Poppins,’ we never will. Perhaps there’ll be other ventures with equal critical and financial success. But we know we cannot hit a home run with the bases loaded every time we go into play. We also know the only way we can even get to first base is by constantly going back and continuing to swing.”

Amid his first earnings conference call upon returning as CEO earlier this year, Iger declared there would be follow-ups to “Frozen,” “Toy Story” and “Zootopia.” Meanwhile, next year’s big animation bet is Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” their big MCU flick is “Deadpool 3” and they have a “Lion King” sequel directed by Barry Jenkins, “Mufasa: The Lion King.”

Iger promised that Disney would be prioritizing quality over quantity for their key brands like Marvel. He also defended the theatrical run, stating “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.”

Deadline first reported this news


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