Disney in Distress: Box Office Blunders and Behind-the-Scenes Chaos - The Average Joe


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    Disney in Distress: Box Office Blunders and Behind-the-Scenes Chaos


    June 19, 2023

    Disney has 99 problems — and its latest box office tragedy is only one. Last year, Lightyear brought in $227M a quarter of what Toy Story 4 made in 2019. And it only gets worse.

    This opening weekend, Elemental brought in just $30M domestically — far below its ~$200M production budget and the second-worst in the studio’s 28-year history.

    This underwhelming debut comes despite the US box office expecting to have a strong summer with 42 releases — nearly double that of last summer and back to pre-pandemic levels.

    • The dollars are there… US domestic box office revenue is expected to break $4B this summer — a level not seen since 2019.
    • But not for Disney… “Pixar’s just not working,” and “the challenge in the movie business is there’s no quick fix,” per media analyst Rich Greenfield (FT).

    And the other 98 problems?

    1/ Restructuring: Disney’s CEO Bob Iger is trying to reverse a series of poor strategic moves by its former CEO Bob Chapek — who was handpicked by Iger as his successor but only lasted two years.

    2/ Cost cuts + a strike: The Writers Strike and a push to cut costs may have led to Disney’s recent decision to delay several movie releases by 1-3 years in its Avengers, Star Wars and Avatar franchises.

    3/ Management: Last week, Disney’s CFO stepped down after more than 20 years on the job — having clashed with other execs on strategy (spending too much on content).

    The rest of Disney’s problems can be summed up by its 2.6% stock price increase this year — far underperforming the S&P 500’s 15% rise.

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