Bob Iger, the prodigal CEO of Disney who recently came out of retirement to try to save the media giant, held a town hall for employees on Monday where he fielded questions about the direction the company would take.
In audio received by the New York Times, Iger told employees that while “these are challenging times”, “There is a lot we have to do and quickly.”
This town hall came after Disney’s film Strange World flopped at the box office and pulled in only $4.2 million on its opening night. For a company that once dominated the animated movie genre, this is a massive blow to morale.
Here is how the Hollywood Reporter put that into perspective.
“That’s the worst opening for a Disney Animation Thanksgiving title in modern times after getting pummeled by poor world-of-mouth, and the first of the studio’s to earn anything less than an A- grade from CinemaScore.”
Iger, however, insured employees that the company would not stray from the inclusive and woke storytelling that has plagued its most recent release, by saying this.
“One of the core values of our storytelling is inclusion and acceptance and tolerance, and we can’t lose that. We’re not going to make everyone happy all the time, and we’re not going to try to. We’re certainly not going to lesson our core values in order to make everyone happy all the time.”
While many fans are clamoring for the company to move away from its social justice-inspired films, Iger seems to see nothing wrong with the direction that the company has taken.
The Daily Wire released a wonderful synopsis of the film, Strange World, saying the following.
“”Strange World” tells the story of gay teen Ethan, voiced by Jaboukie Young-White, who has the support of his loving, biracial parents, Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal), and Meridian (Gabrielle Union). The family rejects its fabled heritage as explorers to farm, but ends up pulled back into the family business to hunt for Searcher’s father, Jaeger (Dennis Quaid), who went missing when he was a child. Their search, aided by their disabled dog, takes them to Avalonia, a strange world with a fragile ecosystem. Ethan struggles to get past his shyness around his love interest, a boy named Diazo.”
That paragraph explains why the movie was so lightly watched by audiences who normally clamor for the next animated Disney flick.
The movie received a 65% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, which aligns with the idea that the is not what audiences want to see.
It seems, however, that Disney will continue to try to ram “inclusive” and “tolerant” stories into theaters, with hopes that the viewers’ opinions magically change in the coming years.
After an eventful past 12 months where the company went to war with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and saw stock prices take a dive after poor earnings releases, Iger still wants to stay the course creatively.
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