Kit Parfitt, an accountant, is well aware of the varying quality of some of Disney’s recent Marvel Studios releases.
He thinks the She-Hulk and Moon Knight miniseries were bad. The sequel, Thor: Love and Thunder, is even worse. “Not worth watching again.”
But the 27-year-old, a self-described “massive” Disney fan who lives near Brighton, says the franchise’s latest film, Ant-Man and the Wasp, will not keep him away from the theaters this month.
“I’ll watch anything when it comes to Marvel or Star Wars,” he says.
That’s the kind of commitment Disney is counting on as it tries to carve out a profitable path in a world of declining movie ticket sales, pay TV cancellations, and loss-making online streaming.
Boss Bob Iger, who was reinstalled in November following the abrupt removal of CEO Bob Chapek, told investors this month that the company would be doubling down on time-tested profit-makers like Marvel and Frozen, while cutting spending on riskier “general entertainment” fare.
This year will see the release of a new Little Mermaid, another Indiana Jones film, and a third Guardians of the Galaxy film.
Following that will be Toy Story 5, Frozen III, and a sequel to Zootopia, dubbed Zootropolis in the UK.
The moves are a bet that the strategy that Mr Iger oversaw during his first tenure as CEO, from 2005 to 2020, when he acquired Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm and increased the company’s share price more than sixfold, will continue to work its magic.
He even stated that the company would take a step back from its streaming push, focusing more on cinemas and traditional television to distribute content than it had in recent years, when it sent content to its Disney+ streaming service in an effort to win subscribers.
Will the traditional playbook suffice?