The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

Julia Adams, Journalist • May 15, 2024

Disney’s Downfall



It is no secret that many people are unhappy with the state that Disney is in right now. The magic that we once felt regarding Disney is simply not there anymore. What caused this decline of the brand and how can Disney fix this problem? There are multiple issues with Disney in 2023 and issues for the future. Disney is struggling with their streaming service, there has been a drop in quality for films, they are lacking the creativity that they once had, and Disney is struggling to keep their public perception positive. Even Disney’s big, acquired brands are struggling such as Marvel, Star Wars, and 21st Century Fox. There seems to be a lot of bad news for Disney and little hope for the future of the brand. Disney will be forced to make a change in their trajectory if the company wants to prevent its downfall.

Disney Plus once in time seemed like it was going to be the best thing for the company’s future, but now, it seems like Disney’s plan for Disney Plus has not been going as well as they have hoped for. Streaming may not be the gold mine that Disney predicted it was going to be. The last time that Disney detailed their quarterly earnings was in august and they reported a loss of 11 million subscribers which cost them $512 million in just that quarter alone. The total losses of Disney plus are $11 billion. Disney Plus is nowhere near profitable yet. There still is a bright side for Disney Plus among all the bleak news. In Disney’s fourth quarter of the year their Disney Plus subscriptions are now at 112.6 million and the streaming losses have narrowed to $367 million. Disney is hoping that their streaming service will start to become profitable by the end of 2024. The plan to push Disney Plus into profitability throughout the next year is for the streaming service to merge with Hulu which is also owned by Disney. The two streaming services will merge into one service and a demo for this updated service will come out with a demo for people to try this December. The solution for Disney Plus is for them to focus on more quality over quantity instead of just putting a bunch of unwanted content on the platform. Disney Plus needs to have content that appeals to more people and keep them paying for the service.

Disney’s movies don’t hit the same way that they used to, and it’s not just because people have grown out of them. The quality of Disney’s feature films has dropped. Disney has been overly reliant on their live action remakes; this prevents them from focusing on creating new stories to tell. Disney’s live action remakes lack creativity and are only successful because they use nostalgia to bait the audience. The cheap trick of live action remakes is starting to not work as well as it once did for Disney, the new version of The Little Mermaid grossed $560 million, which is much lower than expected. The box office of The Little Mermaid compared to other live action remakes such as Aladdin and The Lion King is a disappointment; based on the fact that they have made over $1 billion. Disney has seemed to really focus on quantity over quality for their feature films. The new Disney animated movies have not been instant classics as they once were, maybe outside of 2021’s Encanto, which could be considered iconic. Disney needs to focus on giving their filmmaker more time to create and let them make creative stories. The talent is there, but they just need to be allowed to show it.

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The public perception of Disney has been tarnished over the last few years. Disney has made some very controversial decisions and have handled certain situations poorly. Disney as a company used to seem like a magical place but now it seems shadier to the public. For example, the way Disney handled the lawsuit with their fellow actress, Scarlet Johansson, did not make Disney seem very favorable. Disney’s strong political positions have turned many fans off from

the brand. It may be wise for Disney to not voice such a loud political opinion and try to remain appealing to all people instead of appealing to a certain group. Disney might want to make the talent that represents their company have to go through more PR training, because there have been many instances of people saying things that causes a lot of controversy online. Public perception is an issue that can have a massive impact on Disney’s success.

Marvel Studios is one of Disney’s most valuable assets, but Marvel seems to be in big trouble. Marvel used to be in a place where it was common for them to release billion-dollar movies, but nowadays that just doesn’t happen anymore. Marvel fans seem less interested in the franchise then they used to. Ever since 2019’s Avengers Endgame, the fans have not clamored for the Marvel Cinematic Universe anymore because it has seemed too overdone. Marvel Studios released their new film this November titled The Marvels, which had the lowest box office debut of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s history. Marvel Studios might benefit from slowing down on producing Marvel projects and focusing more on getting the movies and shows right. Slowing down the number of movies and shows they make will also make it so the fans will feel less fatigue. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was once a franchise that was completely dominant over Hollywood, with the right decisions, Marvel could get to that place again in their future.

Star Wars is the most influential film franchise in the world. Ever since Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars by purchasing Lucasfilm, the product has not resonated with most of the fanbase. There are some projects every now and then that get a lot of fan praise, such as The Mandalorian, however, many of the projects are not what the fans want to see. Star Wars has seemed to completely divide its fandom. Many of the problems going on with Lucasfilm could be solved with better leadership. Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, has had her chance in the limelight. Perhaps it is time to try to get new leadership into Lucasfilm. The creators of new projects at Star Wars need to remember the elements that made the franchise so great and beloved in the first place. We need to get back to a place where everyone loves Star Wars.

In 2019 Disney bought out the entertainment company 21st Century Fox, which was one of their big competitors. The acquisition cost $71.3 billion. What has Disney done to capitalize on this massive investment? Well, they haven’t done much at all. The Avatar franchise seems to be the only asset from 21st Century Fox that Disney has really capitalized on, with rides at theme parks and a very successful sequel, with more sequels to come in the future. A major asset from 21st Century Fox is the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, which Disney has not done much with. Disney does have plans for a Fantastic Four movie, but there seems to be no concrete plans for the X-Men. Other major franchises that Disney received from the Fox acquisition include Night at the Museum, Die Hard, Home Alone, Kingsman, The X-Files, Family Guy, Independence Day, Alien, Ice Age, Planet Of The Apes, and many more. Disney could be doing so much more with all these franchises. We will have to wait and see what Disney does with their acquired properties, but for the time being the purchase does not seem worth it.

Yes, we are watching Disney’s downfall in real time, however, that doesn’t mean they can’t pick themselves up. The magic may be lost but it can eventually come back. Disney has always been known as a massive player in the industry, and they have all the properties that they need to make a comeback. Disney just needs to use their amazing catalogue of properties in better way than they are currently, and that’s how they can get back on track.

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About the Contributor
Rhett Parker
Rhett Parker, Journalist
I'm Rhett Parker, I am a member of both Journalism and DTV for Davis Highschool, so I really get a good inside look at Davis. I am a junior in high school which means I still got a while left to go, but I also have a good amount of experience. I am passionate about film, and I am skilled in writing. I’m living my best life.