Disney CEO Bob Iger on Marvel and Star Wars: Pulling Back to Find Focus and Control Costs

disney Production of movies and TV shows for the Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm franchises is slowing, CEO Bob Iger said on CNBC on Thursday.

The move comes as the studio seeks to cut costs after its recent films, from Marvel to animated films, have underperformed at the box office.

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“You’re pulling back not just to focus, but it’s part of our cost containment plan. Reduce our spending on production, and reduce revenue,” Iger said on Thursday.

Earlier this year, Disney undertook a broad reorganization of the business that included $5.5 billion in cost cuts, $3 billion of which would go to content excluding sports.

Iger said Thursday that the company has made many decisions to support Disney+, the company’s flagship streaming service, and attract more customers.

While he also pointed to some of Disney’s Pixar animation missteps in recent months, he called Marvel a concrete example of the company’s “craving” push for original content on streaming.

“Marvel is a good example. It didn’t reach any significant level in the TV industry, and they not only increased their movie production, but they ended up making a lot of TV series,” Iger said. “Frankly, it dilutes focus.”

Disney bought Marvel in 2009 for more than $4 billion, and the franchise has since brought the company billions in global box office revenue.

Disney CEO Bob Iger speaks with CNBC’s David Faber at Allen & Co. The annual meeting is held in Sun Valley, Idaho.

David A. Grogan | David A Grogan CNBC Money

Earlier this year, Iger said the company needed to assess how many sequels each character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe should spur, and now was the time to explore the brand’s “freshness.” He added at the investor conference that “there’s nothing inherently wrong with the Marvel brand.”

Earlier this year, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantum Fever debuted as the 31st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, kicking off Phase 5 of the 15-year-old franchise. The movie saw the biggest drop in box office receipts in franchise history from its opening weekend to its second weekend. The Marvel franchise has also received mixed reviews.

Meanwhile, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” fared much better, grossing more than $800 million worldwide.

For its part, Lucasfilm hasn’t had a Star Wars movie in theaters since 2019, and the company has largely focused on series such as the Emmy-nominated “Andor” and Disney+’s “Obi-Wan… Kenobi”. Lucasfilm’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, the fifth film in the series, has not fared well at the box office despite a release date around July 4.

Still, similar to Marvel, Lucasfilm provides Disney with significant revenue.

The company bought Lucasfilm for about $4 billion in 2012 and has recouped its investment just six years after launching a lucrative trilogy of new films as well as independent films such as “Rogue One.” .

For Disney and most of its streaming rivals, original content is reliant solely on its flagship streaming service, rather than being licensed to other platforms — the revenue driver that has underpinned the traditional TV and movie business for some time.

On Thursday, Iger said the company could potentially license Disney content to other streaming platforms.

“It’s a possibility. I wouldn’t rule it out,” Iger said. Licensing is part of a range of models that make up the traditional TV business, and reserving content for its own platform was the right move in the early days of streaming, he added.

recent, Warner Bros. Discovery Reportedly under discussion license HBO content to other platforms, including Netflix.The company also removed content from its Max service and licensed it to free, ad-supported streaming platforms such as fox corp.The tube of .

Disney followed suit, removing content from its streaming platform.


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