Disney Awakens?

 

Eight days ago I wrote a post about The Walt Disney Company hitting the rocks of the reality of their chosen politics. Sunday night, that reality came to head as the company’s Board of Directors met and ousted CEO Bob Chapek and replaced him with his predecessor, Bob Iger.

I’m not a big fan of Iger, but this is a plus for Disney shareholders. If you own any shares of the House of Mouse, this should please you. If I were him, I’d be on the phone with the Governor of Florida sooner than later.

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  1. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    What is the difference between “awakens” and “awokens?”

     

    • #1
  2. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Those woke failures the last couple of years?  All those projects started while Iger was still there.

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Isn’t Iger the one who started digging this hole? Star Wars is gone. The MCU is as good as gone. Word is that Indiana Jones V is going to bomb harder than the Eighth Air Force hit Germany in 1944. The only thing left is pointless live action remakes of animated classics, and we’ve seen that trick already. 

    We’ll just have to wait and see.

    • #3
  4. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Obviously they need to thaw out exhume old Walt and put him back in charge.

    • #4
  5. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Those woke failures the last couple of years? All those projects started while Iger was still there.

    And Iger is, according to no less than Oprah Winfrey, a dream candidate for president. Won’t happen. But EJ may be right; replacing Chapek gives Disney and Florida an excuse to do a reset. Chapek got into the unenviable position of angering both sides; he mortally offended the normies while failing to satisfy his own hotheaded employees. Even if Iger’s and Chapek’s politics were the same, this gives Disney an alibi–“This conflict was really unnecessary, I would have handled it differently”–whether it’s true or not. 

    We’re talking about intertwined, but separate issues: the wokiness of Disney’s product, and their attempt to exert political influence in Florida. 

    Every Disney stockholder knows that pious leftism costs them popularity, which translates into money. With a brand name that’s supposed to mean “the most family-friendly company on Earth”, they have to get back to that vision. The obstacle is their own senior staff, which over the years has become top-heavy with cat lady hallway monitors with the attitudes of the public school bureaucracy. Iger doesn’t have to be Musk. He can be like Ted Sarandos at Netflix who simply said “If you can’t support the full breadth of our programming, Netflix may not be the right place for you”. 

    The immediate Florida problem is solvable with a deal, and everybody knows the basic outline of that deal: Disney agrees to stay out of advocating or fighting legislation and butts out of politics in the state; in return, the repeal of the privileges of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which hasn’t happed yet, is cancelled. The one problem there is Florida would readily admit to such a deal, but Disney would have an internal bonfire over saying it out loud. 

    • #5
  6. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Iger doesn’t have to be Musk. He can be like Ted Sarandos at Netflix who simply said “If you can’t support the full breadth of our programming, Netflix may not be the right place for you”. 

    How likely is that, if Iger started the bad stuff?  That’s nothing like Musk.

    • #6
  7. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Got rid of that stock a loooong time ago. If they can turn it around, I wish them well. It’ll happen without me 

    • #7
  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Iger doesn’t have to be Musk. He can be like Ted Sarandos at Netflix who simply said “If you can’t support the full breadth of our programming, Netflix may not be the right place for you”.

    How likely is that, if Iger started the bad stuff? That’s nothing like Musk.

    Judge wasn’t saying that Iger started all of the bad stuff; some precedes him and some follows his reign. 

    Iger couldn’t be Musk if he wanted to. Hollywood is not Silicon Valley; it just doesn’t work that way. Not only are movies a risky business, but they aren’t very good or very popular unless it’s got the originality and freedom that makes it a risky business. It’s a business of individuals, not armies. It will take the equivalent of a bomb squad with nerves of steel to remove the woke executives one by one without an explosion. 

    • #8
  9. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Iger doesn’t have to be Musk. He can be like Ted Sarandos at Netflix who simply said “If you can’t support the full breadth of our programming, Netflix may not be the right place for you”.

    How likely is that, if Iger started the bad stuff? That’s nothing like Musk.

    Judge wasn’t saying that Iger started all of the bad stuff; some precedes him and some follows his reign.

    Iger couldn’t be Musk if he wanted to. Hollywood is not Silicon Valley; it just doesn’t work that way. Not only are movies a risky business, but they aren’t very good or very popular unless it’s got the originality and freedom that makes it a risky business. It’s a business of individuals, not armies. It will take the equivalent of a bomb squad with nerves of steel to remove the woke executives one by one without an explosion.

    Not all, but quite a bit.  Those cat ladies are mostly in charge because Iger put them there.  Chapek had Kathleen Kennedy just about out the door.  If we hear next week that she’s getting a new contract, run for the exits.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Those woke failures the last couple of years? All those projects started while Iger was still there.

    And Iger is, according to no less than Oprah Winfrey, a dream candidate for president. Won’t happen. But EJ may be right; replacing Chapek gives Disney and Florida an excuse to do a reset. Chapek got into the unenviable position of angering both sides; he mortally offended the normies while failing to satisfy his own hotheaded employees. Even if Iger’s and Chapek’s politics were the same, this gives Disney an alibi–“This conflict was really unnecessary, I would have handled it differently”–whether it’s true or not.

    We’re talking about intertwined, but separate issues: the wokiness of Disney’s product, and their attempt to exert political influence in Florida.

    Every Disney stockholder knows that pious leftism costs them popularity, which translates into money. With a brand name that’s supposed to mean “the most family-friendly company on Earth”, they have to get back to that vision. The obstacle is their own senior staff, which over the years has become top-heavy with cat lady hallway monitors with the attitudes of the public school bureaucracy. Iger doesn’t have to be Musk. He can be like Ted Sarandos at Netflix who simply said “If you can’t support the full breadth of our programming, Netflix may not be the right place for you”.

    The immediate Florida problem is solvable with a deal, and everybody knows the basic outline of that deal: Disney agrees to stay out of advocating or fighting legislation and butts out of politics in the state; in return, the repeal of the privileges of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which hasn’t happed yet, is cancelled. The one problem there is Florida would readily admit to such a deal, but Disney would have an internal bonfire over saying it out loud.

    Maybe – maybe – Iger can use sweet reason on the idealogues he installed in creative positions. Maybe he can fire a few and cow the rest. The problem is the hole is deeper now than when he left. Does Iger have the will to do what needs to be done? Fixing the stuff already in the pipeline is going to be expensive. Where is he going to get the jack? Selling commercials on Disney+? Wishing upon a star? (Makes no difference who you are.) I wouldn’t recommend buying into Disney quite yet.

    • #10
  11. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Iger doesn’t have to be Musk. He can be like Ted Sarandos at Netflix who simply said “If you can’t support the full breadth of our programming, Netflix may not be the right place for you”.

    How likely is that, if Iger started the bad stuff? That’s nothing like Musk.

    Judge wasn’t saying that Iger started all of the bad stuff; some precedes him and some follows his reign.

    Iger couldn’t be Musk if he wanted to. Hollywood is not Silicon Valley; it just doesn’t work that way. Not only are movies a risky business, but they aren’t very good or very popular unless it’s got the originality and freedom that makes it a risky business. It’s a business of individuals, not armies. It will take the equivalent of a bomb squad with nerves of steel to remove the woke executives one by one without an explosion.

    Not all, but quite a bit. Those cat ladies are mostly in charge because Iger put them there. Chapek had Kathleen Kennedy just about out the door. If we hear next week that she’s getting a new contract, run for the exits.

    OK, I’ll buy that. I suspect a contributing factor is Disney’s ownership of ABC. Sure, Universal owns NBC and Paramount is twinned with CBS, but only at Disney does the culture of TV dominate the studio, IMHO. 

    Movies are typically run by entrepreneurial people; TV is run by people who value consensus, identity politics, obedience to trends, and lots and lots of focus groups. In recent decades, TV is more female-equal or even female-dominated. That mindset has now drifted over the film side of the business. 

    • #11
  12. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Iger should have clamped down on KK the day she posted that “The Force is Female” picture with the other cat ladies.  Told her to retract it, and apologize to the fans, or hit the bricks.  Instead he let her destroy a $4 billon franchise that should have been a cash cow for decades.

    • #12
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Iger should have clamped down on KK the day she posted that “The Force is Female” picture with the other cat ladies. Told her to retract it, and apologize to the fans, or hit the bricks. Instead he let her destroy a $4 billon franchise that should have been a cash cow for decades.

    What Iger needed to do is insist on a plan for Star Wars. Instead, Jar-Jar Abrams sprinkled his infernal mystery boxes all over the galaxy. Rian Johnson gleefully tracked them all down and smashed them. For instance: killing off Snoke. Who kills off the Big Bad in the next-to-last episode without at least providing a Bigger Bad? Johnson did subvert my expectations. I was expecting a Star Wars movie.

    • #13
  14. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Percival (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Iger should have clamped down on KK the day she posted that “The Force is Female” picture with the other cat ladies. Told her to retract it, and apologize to the fans, or hit the bricks. Instead he let her destroy a $4 billon franchise that should have been a cash cow for decades.

    What Iger needed to do is insist on a plan for Star Wars. Instead, Jar-Jar Abrams sprinkled his infernal mystery boxes all over the galaxy. Rian Johnson gleefully tracked them all down and smashed them. For instance: killing off Snoke. Who kills off the Big Bad in the next-to-last episode without at least providing a Bigger Bad? Johnson did subvert my expectations. I was expecting a Star Wars movie.

    You’re right about the plan but it needed to be bigger than just the sequel trilogy.  But yeah, doing a trilogy with three different directors with no coordination between them?  What could possibly go wrong?

    IMHO, the only original entry Disney has had in the SW universe was Rogue One, and they could have done movies like that for years.  In the universe, but not connected to the Skywalker story, except peripherally.  They had all of the Extended Universe to pull from.  But by now it’s so dead that even though Andor is reported to be pretty good, no one cares and almost no one is watching.

    • #14
  15. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Iger couldn’t be Musk if he wanted to. Hollywood is not Silicon Valley; it just doesn’t work that way. Not only are movies a risky business, but they aren’t very good or very popular unless it’s got the originality and freedom that makes it a risky business. It’s a business of individuals, not armies. It will take the equivalent of a bomb squad with nerves of steel to remove the woke executives one by one without an explosion. 

    Which means it likely won’t happen.

    • #15
  16. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Al French (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Iger couldn’t be Musk if he wanted to. Hollywood is not Silicon Valley; it just doesn’t work that way. Not only are movies a risky business, but they aren’t very good or very popular unless it’s got the originality and freedom that makes it a risky business. It’s a business of individuals, not armies. It will take the equivalent of a bomb squad with nerves of steel to remove the woke executives one by one without an explosion.

    Which means it likely won’t happen.

    What’s more likely to happen is the combo plan: some big names get fired, some get the message and quit, and the remaining people, who want to keep their jobs and are competent learn to STFU about politics, race and gender. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that basically what happened at ESPN? 

     

    • #16
  17. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Al French (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Iger couldn’t be Musk if he wanted to. Hollywood is not Silicon Valley; it just doesn’t work that way. Not only are movies a risky business, but they aren’t very good or very popular unless it’s got the originality and freedom that makes it a risky business. It’s a business of individuals, not armies. It will take the equivalent of a bomb squad with nerves of steel to remove the woke executives one by one without an explosion.

    Which means it likely won’t happen.

    What’s more likely to happen is the combo plan: some big names get fired, some get the message and quit, and the remaining people, who want to keep their jobs and are competent learn to STFU about politics, race and gender. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that basically what happened at ESPN?

     

    ESPN doesn’t have thousands of costumed freaks ready to protest at the drop of a hat.

    • #17
  18. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    A Hollywood journalist named Richard Rushfield started The Ankler, a website that serves most of the functions of traditional “trade papers” like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. He’s had excellent sources on the current turmoil in tech and Hollywood. He’s not a conservative, but he’s anti-woke; by local standards, he’s “conservative adjacent”. For example, he’s made Rob Long’s podcast one of the most promoted features of his site.

    Rushfield has said “Ignoring and insulting half your audience has not turned out to be a winning move”. That’s basically how to phrase a cultural shift. Not the unvarnished truth, “we’re dumping the woke”, but “we are returning to serving a wider audience that doesn’t care about your identity.” 

    Thousands of layoffs are in progress or are about to happen after the new year, doing two favors for Iger–if he takes advantage of them:

    One, it provides publicity cover for Disney’s own layoffs; two, as in any industry, people try harder to keep their jobs when they know it will very hard to find another. It’ll give people the excuse they need to conform to a more neutral standard. 

    • #18
  19. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Here’s two made-up examples. Mary Jones, 38, has worked her way up to deputy comptroller of Disney TV and it’s the proudest thing in her life. Her nieces and nephews all love her for the theme park passes she’s managed to get them. She hopes to rise even farther in the financial department. She belongs to a couple of black organizations like the local NAACP and gives money to Grambling College. She’s never voted for a Republican, but she’s not very political in her everyday life. 

    Mary Smith, 28, grew up idolizing Jemele Hill. Her declared mission at work is to “Smuggle queerness into every corner of our culture”, and “prioritizing safe spaces for black and brown bodies”. 

    Both black, both named Mary…but only one of them presents a problem to Disney, and Iger.  

    • #19
  20. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    The principles first types were totally in the Disney camp and against Ron DeSantis. It’s going to be interesting to see what they are saying if anything. For those that don’t know, these are people that think like Gary Robbins and they like electing Democrats.

    • #20
  21. EJHill+ Podcaster
    EJHill+
    @EJHill

    Unfortunately, after being put on the voluntary retired list, I stopped getting company emails. But the ones I got during 2020 where Chapek embraced the BLM organization and Ibrim Kendi set them on a path that is going to be very hard to get off of. And maybe the only one that can do it is Iger, in the same sense that “Only Nixon could go to China.”

    He’s run the company successfully and therefore has huge amounts of political capital among both stockholders and employees. It could be their last chance.

    • #21
  22. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Rushfield has said “Ignoring and insulting half your audience has not turned out to be a winning move”.

    As I recall, Michael Jordan said “Republicans buy shoes too”.

    • #22
  23. Ontos Member
    Ontos
    @Ontos

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Those woke failures the last couple of years? All those projects started while Iger was still there.

    And Iger is, according to no less than Oprah Winfrey, a dream candidate for president. Won’t happen. But EJ may be right; replacing Chapek gives Disney and Florida an excuse to do a reset. Chapek got into the unenviable position of angering both sides; he mortally offended the normies while failing to satisfy his own hotheaded employees. Even if Iger’s and Chapek’s politics were the same, this gives Disney an alibi–“This conflict was really unnecessary, I would have handled it differently”–whether it’s true or not.

    We’re talking about intertwined, but separate issues: the wokiness of Disney’s product, and their attempt to exert political influence in Florida.

    Every Disney stockholder knows that pious leftism costs them popularity, which translates into money. With a brand name that’s supposed to mean “the most family-friendly company on Earth”, they have to get back to that vision. The obstacle is their own senior staff, which over the years has become top-heavy with cat lady hallway monitors with the attitudes of the public school bureaucracy. Iger doesn’t have to be Musk. He can be like Ted Sarandos at Netflix who simply said “If you can’t support the full breadth of our programming, Netflix may not be the right place for you”.

    The immediate Florida problem is solvable with a deal, and everybody knows the basic outline of that deal: Disney agrees to stay out of advocating or fighting legislation and butts out of politics in the state; in return, the repeal of the privileges of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which hasn’t happed yet, is cancelled. The one problem there is Florida would readily admit to such a deal, but Disney would have an internal bonfire over saying it out loud.

    ….but how does Disney stay out of politics in Florida, if “the privileges of the Reedy Creek Improvement District” make it an administrator over part of Florida?

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    EJHill+ (View Comment):

    Unfortunately, after being put on the voluntary retired list, I stopped getting company emails. But the ones I got during 2020 where Chapek embraced the BLM organization and Ibrim Kendi set them on a path that is going to be very hard to get off of. And maybe the only one that can do it is Iger, in the same sense that “Only Nixon could go to China.”

    He’s run the company successfully and therefore has huge amounts of political capital among both stockholders and employees. It could be their last chance.

    If he turns the company around, and if he doesn’t make himself persona non grata with the Left in doing so, then he’ll be as close to a superstar as the Democrats are likely to find.

    I don’t think there is enough time to do it before 2024.

    • #24
  25. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Those woke failures the last couple of years? All those projects started while Iger was still there.

    • #25
  26. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Jim Geraghty’s “Morning Jolt” column today has a bit of a different take on Iger:

    Iger was briefly on a Trump administration business-advisory panel, but resigned when Trump withdrew from the Paris climate accordsopenly stated that it was not in his company’s interest to ever publicly criticize the Chinese government. He also repeatedly clashed with former president Trump and weighed in increasingly loudly and frequently on DACA, gun control, and other political topics.

    He also pulls this from a March 2022 Hollywood Reporter article:

    Chapek is private about his politics but is believed to be much more conservative than Iger, who was a registered Democrat before becoming an independent in 2016. “Chapek is staunchly opposed to bringing Disney into issues he deems irrelevant to the company and its businesses,” this person says.

    So it may be that Disney is actually opting to go full-tilt-boogie to the Left.

    You can read Jim’s column here: https://www.nationalreview.com/the-morning-jolt/at-disney-woke-strikes-back/

    • #26
  27. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Here’s two made-up examples. Mary Jones, 38, has worked her way up to deputy comptroller of Disney TV and it’s the proudest thing in her life. Her nieces and nephews all love her for the theme park passes she’s managed to get them. She hopes to rise even farther in the financial department. She belongs to a couple of black organizations like the local NAACP and gives money to Grambling College. She’s never voted for a Republican, but she’s not very political in her everyday life.

    Mary Smith, 28, grew up idolizing Jemele Hill. Her declared mission at work is to “Smuggle queerness into every corner of our culture”, and “prioritizing safe spaces for black and brown bodies”.

    Both black, both named Mary…but only one of them presents a problem to Disney, and Iger.

     

     

    • #27
  28. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    The principles first types were totally in the Disney camp and against Ron DeSantis. It’s going to be interesting to see what they are saying if anything. For those that don’t know, these are people that think like Gary Robbins and they like electing Democrats.

    Gary Robbins and his ilk are going to get very nervous about this too …

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/msnbc-host-blames-gerrymandering-desantis-win-no-way-could-gerrymander-himself-across-50-states

    They don’t embrace DeSantis at all. They only see him as a strong mercenary to take out Donald Trump for them.

    • #28
  29. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Columbo (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    The principles first types were totally in the Disney camp and against Ron DeSantis. It’s going to be interesting to see what they are saying if anything. For those that don’t know, these are people that think like Gary Robbins and they like electing Democrats.

    Gary Robbins and his ilk are going to get very nervous about this too …

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/msnbc-host-blames-gerrymandering-desantis-win-no-way-could-gerrymander-himself-across-50-states

    They don’t embrace DeSantis at all. They only see him as a strong mercenary to take out Donald Trump for them.

    Um, Gerrymandering for a State wide election? Huh?

    • #29
  30. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    the repeal of the privileges of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which hasn’t happed yet, is cancelled.

    As I understand it, there was already a movement in the Florida legislature to change the legal status of all (or some) of the “improvement districts” in Florida, not just Reedy Creek. In a sense, DeSantis invoked an existing I want to say “threat,” but that may be too strong a word.

    It’s a very complicated legal situation.

    • #30
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