Bob Iger wants Disney to step away from messages in their films

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced a plan for the studio to focus more on entertaining audiences than worrying about messages.

Bob Iger

Now one year into his return, The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger is addressing changes that will be forthcoming as he already nears the end of what will be his last tenure in the position. Speaking at The New York Times DealBook Summit, Bob Iger said Disney has to redirect much of their focus, particularly as it relates to so-called “woke culture.”

As reported by CNBC’s Alex Sherman, Bob Iger suggested this week that Disney has to put more attention on entertaining audiences and not worrying about forcing messages down their throats. While he didn’t specifically outline the redirection that the studio will be taking moving forward, there is plenty to read in his words.

The last statement – that things only got worse during the years he wasn’t in the role – is a clear jab at Bob Chapek, whose short stint as Disney CEO lasted until he was ousted in 2022, making way for Bob Iger’s return. Chapek was frequently criticized for the “wokeness” that he incorporated into the studio’s pictures.

But Bob Iger’s recent comments are a notable switch from comments made upon his return last November: “This company has been telling stories for 100 years, and those stories have had a meaningful, positive impact on the world, and one of the reasons they have had a meaningful, positive impact is because one of the core values of our storytelling is inclusion and acceptance and tolerance, and we can’t lose that…I don’t think when you are telling stories and attempting to be a good citizen of the world that that’s political.” The question is, will Disney remove all of this inclusion and tolerance or will they just move to not make them so they don’t overwhelm the promotion of the movie itself? One may point to The Little Mermaid, which has gained far more (negative) attention for casting Halle Bailey as Ariel than any other aspect.

During the event, Bob Iger also mentioned that Disney has produced too many sequels and that only those whose stories merit it will be greenlit. Yet, we’re still getting Sister Act 3

Bob Iger’s contract at Disney runs until 2026.

What do you make of Bob Iger’s mission to make Disney focus more on entertainment than messages?

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.