Bob Chapek continues to take further measures that allow him to exude confidence in The Walt Disney Company’s stature. In contrast, the stock price continues to decline, and the realities of fans’ disappointment are only just beginning to emerge.
According to Variety, the Disney CEO addressed the crowd at Upfront 2022, boasting that the company remains unrivaled, standing alone among its competitors.
“Now, as many of you know, Disney will be celebrating our 100th anniversary later this year and that is an incredible milestone,” he said. “I can’t help but think about this moment in the context of what this company has always been, what it is today, and what it will be. Over the last 100 years, we’ve brought iconic stories and characters to life in new and innovative ways. We shake global culture, and creating new memories for millions of families and fans, across generations. And we’ve repeatedly defined and redefined the entertainment landscape through pioneering technologies that give our storytellers bigger and better candidates. And we created an unmatched synergy machine that enables audiences to make our stories part of their everyday lives.”
Now, the event would go on to be filled with updates regarding Disney Plus, Hulu, Disney advertising, ABC, ESPN networks, and other aspects of Disney media. But Chapek’s appearance at Upfront 2022–his first-ever, reportedly–comes shortly after Disney’s Q2 earnings webcast in which he reflected similar sentiments and shared statistical results from April 2–over one month and three controversies ago.
There appears to be a significant disconnect between what the Mouse House brass is saying and what the people are buying–one of the most significant this reporter has seen in his lifetime. So much has happened since the second quarter closed that they might as well read off the 2002 second-quarter results instead.
Just one week before the second fiscal quarter ended, Disney’s clash with the people of Florida began over the Parental Rights in Education legislation. That clash has resulted in the termination of Disney World’s special independent district, the Reedy Creek Improvement District. While that story developed, leaked meeting footage revealed high-level Disney executives discussing ways to inject consistent LGBTQ+ content into their children’s programming. Scores of fans across the internet have declared they are either canceling their Disney vacations, their annual passes, Disney+ subscriptions, or all of the above. The stock price has eliminated all growth over the last five years, and now federal lawmakers are attempting to amend copyright law that would finally land Mickey Mouse in the public domain (costing Disney an estimated $6 billion in annual revenue alone).
Yet through all of this chaos, Disney leadership has been completely mute on all of it. Not one mention has been made publically. Instead, Chapek continued to talk about expansion into other markets, highlighting the growing majority of childless viewers. One hand in the favorable past and the other in a fantastical future, Chapek is clearly keen to ignore the present state of things and opt for a message that comes across to this reporter as a chest-beating patchwork of “keep calm, carry on,” “we’re too big to fail,” and “they hate us cuz they ain’t us.”
The CEO thinks his company is untouchable. But, with everything going on, this reporter will be waiting for the Q3 earnings results to come in before he believes it. The Disney brass is not giving their true fans enough credit. No matter how many international markets they enter to compensate for domestic losses, no matter how much sports and the metaverse ventures distract from Park discontent, the bill is going to come due and it is not going to be pretty. But I will be there, ready to buy, when they come to their senses and get back on course.
Disclaimer: This article contains opinions of the writer and may not express the overall sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.