Disney in Disarray: Let’s Count the Self-Inflicted Wounds

The house that Micky built is the envy of Hollywood … but for how long?

Disney’s vast empire expands across the globe, encompassing international theme parks and content that delights anyone with a TV set, WiFi connection or VHS player (here’s betting some die-hard Disney fans still cling to the dead format).

And then there’s that brand, a bullet-proof legacy of family-friendly tales connecting grandparents and children for decades. How do you put a price tag on that?

That was before Disney gobbled up mega-properties like Pixar, Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), solidifying its gold status.

Things aren’t going smoothy for the company of late, though. Disney’s stock prices have taken a beating for much of 2022. The numbers are startling, and there’s little sign of an immediate turnaround.

Walt Disney Co. has a profit problem, and that’s helped send shares of the media giant to their worst daily performance in more than two decades.

Market Watch

Content Questions Plague Disney

Stocks aren’t the only way to measure a mega-company’s health, of course. The bigger worries expand behind the fiscal balance sheet. Disney is one of the most overtly pro-woke companies in the country, indoctrinating employees on a regular basis and incorporating modern gender mores into its children’s-level entertainment.

The company even picked a public fight with one of the most popular politicians in the country, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Some Disney faithful wailed when its 2022 “Toy Story” extension, “Lightyear,” featured a same-sex couple as a key part of the story. That hardly captures the extent of its sexual content. 

Other examples include the “Baymax!” Disney+ series featuring a trans character advising a girl on the best tampons to buy.

Right-leaning Disney employees have tried to gently blow the whistle on the problem, but their pleas for an apolitical Mouse House have fallen on deaf ears.

Many Disney customers aren’t fully aware of the matter. They subscribe to Disney+ and keep consuming classic Disney fare with their families. These stories are multiplying on social media, though, magnified by tone-deaf headlines tied to Disney CEO Bob Chapek. He said the company’s woke turn is responding to its audience’s demands.

Let’s remind Chapek and his colleagues a simple truth. Twitter isn’t real life.

Even The Star Wars Brand Is Struggling

Some of Disney’s beloved properties have taken a beating in recent years. The Skywalker saga stalled at the box office, drawing huge numbers via the last two “Star Wars” sequels but nothing like the franchise’s previous high-water marks.

There’s been no “Star Wars” movie since 2019’s “The Rise of Skywalker,” and it’s likely none will hit theaters next year. 

Disney+ shows are a mixed bag, with the execrable “She Hulk: Attorney at Law” drawing some zeitgeist noise while “Andor” labors against the streaming competition.

A Disney bright spot? Attendance to the company’s theme parks remains high despite recent price hikes. Blame inflation or the sorry economy, but there’s a dark side to the good news.

More Troubles For Disney

That “DisneyWorld magic is dying,” according to a Yahoo! analysis.

The report reveals more trouble lurking in the future. The Disney theme park experience, which is imprinted on generations of Disney faithful, has taken an ominous turn in recent years.

Staffing is down. Lines are growing longer, with a key policy meant to ease that burden getting jettisoned in recent months. Beloved attractions are temporarily silenced as workers struggle to bring them back to life.

Every aspect of the Disney experience must be premeditated and scheduled to maximize its declining worth. But despite the backlash, the problem isn’t getting better. 

Yahoo!

Disney can still rely on the MCU to draw a crowd and stuff its coffers. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” quickly passed the $200 million mark at the U.S. box office, and another MCU staple is hot on its heels – February’s “Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”

Can that superhero streak continue? What happens when enough families question Disney content for their children, turning what many consider Hollywood’s most beloved brand into one huge, nagging question mark?

Written by Christian Toto

Christian Toto is an award-winning film critic, journalist and founder of HollywoodInToto.com, the Right Take on Entertainment. He’s the author of “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul” and a lifelong Yankees fan. Toto lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, two sons and too many chickens.

Follow Christian on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HollywoodInToto

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