While big tech figures out new ways to advertise to consumers, Disney’s been making moves. While no business or person has had an easy couple of years, Disney’s had a rough time since the pandemic. 2020 also happened to be Bob Chapek’s first year replacing Bob Iger as Disney’s CEO. In light of all the company’s troubles over the last few years, it’s no surprise Disney has replaced Chapek as CEO. And Disney fans will see his replacement is all too familiar. Is the return of Bob Iger enough for Disney to shake it up and continue the House of Mouse’s legacy?
A tale of two Bobs
When Bob Chapek took over as Disney’s CEO in 2020, it was understood he had an uphill battle ahead. That still probably wasn’t enough to prepare for a ride worthy of a space mountain rollercoaster. There were park closures, profit issues, and customer complaints. Then there was a public dispute over pay with Scarlett Johansson. The feud was almost symbolic of a rocky start for Disney+.
Chapek’s tenure as CEO also saw fake news of a new park in Malaysia. Chapek also had a major run-in with the governor of Florida. The issue came over being allegedly “woke” for opposing the “don’t say gay” law. The latter led to boycotts and negative PR. Chapek raised prices at parks, presumably to try and recover from shutting them down a few years. However, customers still weren’t happy with rising costs- Orlando’s Magic Kingdom, for example, cost $200 to get in.
Bob Iger not only saw some of Disney’s most successful years in his time as CEO. Under Iger’s direction, the company expanded to include Marvel, Star Wars, Fox Entertainment, and ESPN. It’s no shock the company’s executives would want Iger back at the helm if Disney wants to shake it up at the CEO position.
What does Disney’s future look like?
Right now, the entertainment industry is in a weird state. Streaming has changed the game, and the pandemic accelerated the fall of movie theaters. As much as many of us enjoy watching films with an audience on a big screen, it’s not for everyone. There are also times when anyone would want to just watch a movie at home. Star Wars and Marvel alone mean Disney has enough intellectual property (IP) to produce in-demand content for at least a decade.
Bob Iger’s biggest challenge, perhaps, will be reconciling the geopolitics of Disney’s two US parks. While we’ve considered Florida as a ‘battleground state’ for most of the 21st century, the last three elections tell a different story. Florida, home of Disney World, is now clearly a Republican state. California, home to Disneyland, continues to be one of the United State’s most aggressively liberal states.
- @david-grasso contributed to this article.