With Disney+ Struggling, Former CEO Bob Iger Is Working To Beef Up Originals

Disney CEO Bob Iger says they've quietly cancelled some Marvel movies as part of their brand refocus.

Disney+ may have gotten off to a solid start. In fact, in terms of launches, you can’t really point to a more successful launch than it. nearly 30 million subscribers in just a few short months? It’s certainly impressive. And this even came some time following the conclusion of The Mandalorian’s first season. However, as you may have noticed, Disney+ doesn’t really have much more to offer. Sure, you may have some kid-friendly titles like Diary of a Future President, but no real heavy hitters. 

One reason for this lack of content does seem to be an identity crisis for the fledgling streamer. When we think Disney, we think family-friendly…but what exactly does family-friendly mean? Does it mean quirky PG or something closer to a hard PG-13? In the past, the latter was pointed to, but all other signs from them seem to point closer to PG. 

“They should have had more clarity around what the guardrails are,” one source told THR. Sadly, based on everything that’s happening behind the scenes, that doesn’t appear to be the case. As we’ve reported on previously, the Love, Simon adaptation moved over to Hulu. Plus, following the sacking of showrunner Terri Minsky, Lizzie McGuire star Hilary Duff pleaded for Disney to allow them to move to Hulu to pursue more mature storylines.

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Other properties, Book of Enchantment, Tron, and Muppets Live Another Day were all canceled at least partially due to the lack of development from Disney+. This led to a misalignment between what the creatives were offering versus what Disney+ was wanting. And you can kind of see how Disney+’s inherited properties has only led to this kind of confusion.

On one hand, you have epic Marvel and Star Wars film that skew heavily into PG-13, and on the other, you have their animated fare that skews closer to PG. And then, you have The Simpsons, which, depending on the episode, can skew even higher, seeming to punch a hole in their branding. 

Sources now say that former Disney CEO’s biggest priority is to fix this Disney+ problem. Following his stepping down, he stated his next goal would be “getting everything right creatively.” Disney+ seems like the best contender for his time. 

And series aren’t the only thing. While I personally think having mid-budget movies on the service is a great idea, there’s no denying it comes with its own set of problems. One source identified this problem quite aptly. The films that have hit so far aren’t “you’ve got to sign up because you have to see this” type of movies. With budgets ranging from $30 million to $60 million, it’s difficult to eventize each movie. 

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“On Disney+, we have the ability to make a kind of movie that we stopped making for the theatrical marketplace, which are smaller family comedies, smaller inspirational movies and midbudgeted comedies,” Walt Disney Studios president of production Bailey recently told THR. But the main problem now is that these movies that once used to sit in theaters aren’t doing much to attract subscribers.

Luckily, Disney+ does have a bit of a buffer. A lot of subscribers are locked into at least a year of the service. When their time is up, there will be more big-ticket series like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and The Mandalorian to help whet their appetites. However, it is clear that they will need to get their acts together sooner rather than later. With there being an eventual goal of 50 series and 10 feature films a year, hopefully they’ll be able to get moving in the same direction with Iger’s help.

What do you think of all this? Is Disney+ in trouble or just experiencing growing pains? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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