Disney Rethinks Franchise Output, Slows Down Marvel and Star Wars Brands

During the February 8th Earnings Call, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger pledged to be “better at curating” releases, and it will have an effect on the Disney+ originals slate, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

What’s Happening:

  • The Walt Disney Company is reportedly putting the brakes on the output from both Marvel and Star Wars after the February 8th Earnings Call, where CEO Bob Iger said they need to be “better at curating” their franchise content, calling it “extraordinarily expensive,” adding that they “want the quality on the screen, but we have to look at what they cost us.”
  • Marvel Studios has the highest output, and under the directive from Iger, is likely to see the cuts the soonest. Last year, Kevin Feige outlined five Disney+ shows to be released this year – What If? Season 2, Echo, Ironheart, Agatha: Coven of Chaos, and Loki season 2. Reportedly, now only two productions, Loki season 2 and Secret Invasion, are the best bets to debut this year. Projects that have already wrapped, like Echo and Ironheart, will likely be spread out and debut later on the streamer. Shows in development, like Nova, will be placed on a longer timeline.
  • Feige told Entertainment Weekly that “the pace at which we’re putting out the Disney+ shows will change” in an interview earlier this week.
  • Star Wars is facing a challenge of a different kind, trying to leave the streamer in favor of big screens. Taika Waititi is still developing his entry into the franchise, and Disney is expected to reveal more plans this April at Star Wars Celebration. Those titles set for Disney+ like Ahsoka, The Mandalorian season 3, and Skeleton Crew are still expected this year, but if Lucasfilm ramps up, they will have to abide by the same fiscal discipline as the rest of the company, according to reports.
  • Due to the nature in which Disney+ has trained audiences in recent years, upcoming theatrical releases like Pixar’s Elemental and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Wish are rumored to have extended theatrical runs in hopes of luring families back to theaters. Both Lightyear and Strange World, the two theatrical animated features from the company underperformed in theaters, with insiders at the mouse house acknowledging it was due in part to confusion from the newly trained audiences who opted to wait for the Disney+ debut a few weeks later.
  • Disney is just one of many companies trying to rethink profitability in streaming, and the shift is industrywide as every studio and streamer is trying to be more fiscally responsible in the streaming market.

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