The return of Bob Iger as CEO of The Walt Disney Company has not gone as well as expected.
Iger, who returned for his second stint as head of the entertainment giant, was supposed to placate Wall Street, help stabilize the flailing company and restore it to its nonpartisan roots.
Instead, he continued to pick fights with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the film studio released several disastrous flops, and attendance at the theme parks cratered. Not to mention disastrous updates on Disney+, as the streaming service continues to lose subscribers.
And on Thursday, Disney got even more bad news.
The company’s share price reached a nine-year low, closing at $82.47 per share. That was the lowest closing price for Disney stock since October 2014. Ouch.
And the worst part for shareholders has to be the realization that this was all avoidable.
Disney’s Fortunes Only Going To Get Worse With Woke ‘Snow White’
The company’s strategy of making live action re-releases of past films has not paid off as expected after “The Lion King.”
“The Little Mermaid” was a box office disappointment, and the upcoming release of “Snow White” has already come under fire. The film’s star, Rachel Zegler, has frequently spoken about her disregard for the original movie.
And photos from production that were released recently were widely panned for discarding the original seven dwarves for a cast of what appears to be hipsters from Portland.
Their Indiana Jones sequel was another disappointment, with a plot that sidelined its main character. Or insulted him. Recent animated releases have injected politics into kids movies, with predictably poor results.
The company’s stance on culture war issues have undoubtedly hurt theme park demand and attendance, as Universal continues to thrive at Disney’s expense.
All of these issues could have been avoided if the company simply maintained what made it the industry’s biggest powerhouse. Making quality, family friendly entertainment that appealed to the widest possible demographic.
Instead, the transition to progressive activism that started under Iger’s initial tenure only got worse under former CEO Bob Chapek. And after returning to the top job, Iger decided to defend his company’s poor work and poor process.
And Wall Street and retail investors clearly aren’t buying what Disney’s selling.
If there are lessons to learn from 2023, it’s that corporate politics matters. Target, Bud Light and Disney have lost billions in revenue or market cap, all because they prioritized appeasing the left showing they didn’t understand their own customers.
Disney is undoubtedly too big to fail. But boy oh boy are they trying their best.