While “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” were both unqualified successes at the box office, a considerably larger number of Disney films released throughout 2023 fell well below total projected returns. The studio’s string of poor financial performances kicked off with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and also includes “The Little Mermaid” and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” Then in July, “Haunted Mansion” bombed at the box office. While Marvel Cinematic Universe entry “The Marvels” premiered after the earnings call in which Bob Iger committed the company to an increase in quality, advanced projections suggest a historically bad box office haul for an MCU release.
Back in July, Iger was already discussing his intent for Disney to produce less overall. Around the same time as the earnings call, however, Business Insider reported that some Disney employees are apprehensive about Iger’s second reign. “There was a lot of excitement and hope at the return of Bob Iger a year ago,” one employee told the outlet. “As far as I can tell, a lot of that, if not all of that, has dissipated.”
It’s clear, then, that Iger is in the midst of an uphill battle. For now, it seems he feels a focus on quality over quantity could be the solution to Disney’s present-day woes.