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Mazzei Minute: 12/01/23

Disney just laid another egg. Their new movie Wish, which cost $200 million to produce, only brought in a paltry $31.7 million over the Thanksgiving weekend—following the disaster of The Marvels, another huge $250 million enterprise, which only made $47 million during its debut weekend.

It appears neither movie will break even and are huge disappointments for the Walt Disney Studios. 2023 marks the first year since 2014 (excluding the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021) that Disney hasn’t enjoyed a $1 billion dollar hit.

The share price of Walt Disney is understandably down around 50% since its March 2021 high, and for the last five years, the stock has lost approximately 16% of its value. Compare that to the S&P 500, which has gained close to 50%.

Bob Iger, the former CEO who catapulted Disney to a huge level of growth and success, has returned to lead the company—but he has some difficult decisions to make. Does he let the new radical liberal culture of the company dictate the business plan, or does he refresh back to core principles and values?

In Iger’s book, The Ride of a Lifetime, the former and current CEO shares very fascinating details of behind-the-scenes action and deals that led to Disney’s explosive growth. He should go back to his section of “Lessons to Live By,” in which he states quite correctly – “If you’re in the business of making something, be in the business of making something great.”

Disney isn’t making great movies anymore because the corporate adherence to diversity, equity and inclusion is taking them away from the original mission of “making something great.” I’ve been a Walt Disney fan since I was seven years old—and when my kids were younger, they had the full Disney experience. I hope Iger can return the company and their movies to what families really want.


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