Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com and richest man in the world, has stated in many interviews that a company’s reputation is its most important asset. People are drawn to a company based on what they’re known for. I have many issues with how Jeff Bezos operates his business, but this I full-heartedly agree with.
Which brings me to Disney. As a kid growing up in the 1990’s, I saw Disney not as a company, but as a brand that created the greatest movies and theme parks. Childhood incarnate. Nearly every movie they made was a classic back in the day. From Snow White in the 1930s, through The Emperor’s New Groove in the year 2000, Disney was a lot like King Midas from mythology: everything they touched turned into gold. Add Pixar movies on top of that, and you got yourself a lifetime supply of escapism.
But, unfortunately, Disney is a company. And like any company, it’s their goal to stay afloat as long as possible and make as much money as possible. Now, this wouldn’t be much of a problem in itself. After all, Disney has always been a business, even during its better years.
Which brings me to Bob Iger, the guy who runs the company now. I won’t pretend to know how difficult it is to run a giant corporation like Disney, nor will I pretend to understand every single decision this man makes for the company, but …. holy shit is this man tanking the Disney brand. Is Disney making big profits every year? Yeah, probably, but I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about the Disney brand. Bob Iger’s entire business strategy is, “More, more, more, more, more, more, more!!!!”
More movies, more toys, more marketing. Even the company’s projects themselves all have much bigger budgets than they did in the past (even adjusting for inflation). It’s the equivalent of captains in Star Trek shouting, “Fire everything!!”
Does it work? Well, it does for now. People are getting increasingly pissed off with Disney, though. Its butchering of Star Wars was only the beginning. Now, it’s going after our childhoods with poorly-executed, pointless live-action remakes. There will be 3 or 4 of these in 2019: Lion King, Aladdin, Dumbo… This already started with Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book.
Nobody asked for this. We already know that computer animations can look photorealistic now (except the new Will Smith Genie, which apparently was rendered in the 90s). Only drooling idiots will go because ‘it looks real now!’ Otherwise, I don’t see any point at all. If you want to see The Lion King or Aladdin, then just watch the originals. Disney is lucky James Earl Jones is still alive to portray Mufasa (and Darth Vader, for that matter), but the guy who made Aladdin great, Robin Williams, is unfortunately gone. They’re still doing it, though!
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
This approach of “more, more, more!” is not only annoying, and it’s not just that these remakes are garbage (even if they weren’t remakes). It’s the fact that Disney has clearly run out of ideas. This extends to Pixar as well. We’re getting a Toy Story 4 now? Is that a joke?? Not to mention, the Marvel movies have already hit their climax with Infinity War; there’s no possible way to keep people interested in those movies now that the 50-member Avengers team has battled God. Disney is clearly on its deathbed creatively. I don’t care if its profits are still high. The company is basically admitting that it’s relying on things that it already made to stay afloat. It’s like trying to pay the rent without a job and using your savings account: You’ll have plenty right now, but it will deplete rapidly down the road. We’ll see Disney’s profits rise for a short while longer, but we all know, Disney is either dying or it’s already dead. RIP, childhood.
Not only is it running out of ideas, but Disney is making us, the audience whose money it relies upon, hate the company as a whole.
I’m not necessarily saying the company will vanish, but I do feel it will take a serious hit sometime within the next 10 years. I hope the Disney I loved as a kid comes back, but it certainly won’t while Iger’s in charge. Until he’s gone, it’ll be a rapacious, soul-less company.