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Disney CEO Addresses What’s Wrong With Marvel: ‘Fans Just Want Good Films’

According to Disney’s boss, Bob Iger, the problem with Marvel movies is not too many films; it’s that they need to be better.

Speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco on March 7, 2024, Disney CEO Bob Iger touched upon ‘superhero fatigue,’ suggesting that the performance of recent Marvel films is not due to an oversaturation of the market — it’s because fans are seeking quality over quantity.

As per The Hollywood Reporter, the Disney CEO rejected the idea that fans have grown weary of superheroes. Instead, he pointed to Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ as evidence that filmgoers still fill theaters for well-crafted stories, regardless of their genre:

“A lot of people think it’s audience fatigue, but it’s not. They want great films. And if you build them great, they will come, and there are countless examples of that. Some are ours, and some are others. ‘Oppenheimer’ is a perfect example of that. It’s just a fantastic film. Focus is really important.”

Despite a booming start that saw the first 33 Marvel films earn nearly $30 billion, the franchise has hit a rough patch, with Iger accepting a need for a shift in strategy:

“We reduced Marvel’s output, both the number of films and TV shows they make, and that really became critical, but I feel good about the team and the IP we’re making. I talked about a lot of the projects. We look years ahead, really. And it’s iterative.”

In response to the challenges, Iger promised a comprehensive overhaul of Disney’s film production process. This includes making the difficult decision to cancel projects that do not meet the company’s high standards for quality.

Paul Dano Doesn’t Believe ‘Superhero Fatigue’ is Bad

Iger’s remarks come at a moment when the industry is debating on the future of superhero films.

Actor Paul Dano, known for his role as the Riddler in ‘The Batman,’ recently shared his thoughts on the so-called superhero fatigue. Dano suggested that this period could serve as an opportunity for renewal within the genre, saying:

“It’s an interesting moment where everybody has to go like, ‘OK – what now?’ Hopefully from that, somebody either breathes new life into [comic book movies], or something else blossoms which is not superheroes. I’m sure there will still be some good ones yet to come, but I think it’s kind of a welcome moment.”

Apart from reflecting upon Marvel’s struggles, Iger announced several strategic initiatives for Disney, including a $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games to bring Disney franchise IP into the Fortnite universe, a surprise sequel to ‘Moana,’ a Taylor Swift movie for Disney+, and the upcoming launch of ESPN’s direct-to-consumer service in fall 2025.

Looking ahead, Disney is optimistic about its 2024 film lineup, which includes titles such as ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,’ sequels to ‘Inside Out’ and ‘Moana,’ and ‘Deadpool & Wolverine.’ Iger expressed confidence that these films, particularly the latter, would mark a return to form for the studio.

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