Disney CEO Bob Iger hasn’t shielded the fact that he’s been split on the amount of Marvel and Star Wars content coming out over the last few years, previously even slamming his company for having a quantity vs. quality attitude. Now that 2024 is underway, Iger revealed that the company is planning to move toward more sequels and franchises from already-built family favorites while Marvel will take a backseat for the foreseeable future. The decision should come as a surprise to absolutely no one as 2023 was perhaps Marvel’s worst year at the box office yet.
Moana And Zootopia Getting Sequels
Instead, the Disney earnings call revealed that the studio would be drumming up sequels to their fan-favorite 2016 animated flicks, Moana and Zootopia, with these projects set to arrive on screens during the Thanksgiving weekends of 2024 and 2025, respectively. It’s going to be a real stick to what we know will work for the House of Mouse as they move forward, exploring already proven winners like the Frozen and Toy Story franchises.
New Disney Originals Aren’t Hitting With Audiences
This decision can be better understood when one looks at previously released standalone animated projects from recent years including Lightyear, Strange World, and Wish, none of which did particularly well at the global box office. This past year, the only animated Disney movie that had soaring success was the summer vehicle, Elemental, which, following a bumpy start at the box office, took off with audiences.
Trying to make an extra buck from their failures over the last few years, Disney is also re-releasing titles including Soul, Turning Red, and Luca, each of which missed their cinematic releases due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sticking With Fan-Favorites
Understanding what their customers want and what’s worked for them in the past certainly isn’t rocket science for anyone reading the charts over at Disney HQ. Thus, giving the people what they want through follow-up, next-chapter installments of favorite titles is precisely what the doctor ordered. And, the positive effects of their decision-making will likely be seen soon as Inside Out 2 arrives in theaters this June.
The original 2015 animated comedy was a huge hit with audiences, so it’s honestly surprising that it’s taken almost a full decade for the studio to move forward with a sequel. With names like Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, and Maya Hawke attached, Disney is bound to have a gargantuan ticket-seller on its hands.
Marvel Takes A Back Seat
While all of this news is incredibly positive for the Disney fans who love their animated projects, it will prove to be a bummer for the Marvel fans out there as the studio will lean away from relying so heavily on the superhero stories. This is probably for the best, at least for now as in a post WandaVision world, Disney+ has suffered greatly with one series flop after the next. Likewise, its cinematic universe hasn’t been doing so hot with last year’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels both failing to draw a big crowd.
What we can look forward to are more productions based on our favorite characters in Disney history as their stories continue in new ways with new friends along the way.