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‘Oppenheimer’ Director Underlines Disney’s BIG Problem

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Credit: Disney/Canva

Director of the summer hit Oppenheimer—Christopher Nolan—made some recent comments that highlight one of the biggest problems with Disney at the moment.

The Walt Disney Company has had a challenging year when it comes to its cinematic releases. Many of the company’s releases have fallen flat with audiences, with most movies from their summer lineup disappointing audiences. In addition, this comes after a lengthy past of releasing one live-action remake after another of the classic animated films.

Many have debated the “true problem” with Disney’s new releases; however, Christopher Nolan, director of summer hit Oppenheimer, might have hit the nail on the head.

marvel cinematic universe

Characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe / Credit: Marvel Studios

Christopher Nolan Comments on Audiences Today

While commenting on Oppenheimer’s success, Nolan told Variety, “It’s clear from the box office that audiences are looking for things they haven’t seen before. We’ve been through a period where it was wonderfully reassuring for studio executives to feel that their franchise properties could go on forever and be predictably successful. But you can’t deny filmgoers’ desire for novelty.”

The director said on the subject of the Universal Pictures production that was released earlier this year: “When you start making a film, you’re two or three years out from when it’s going to be released, so you’re trying to hit a moving target as far as the interest of the audience. But sometimes you catch a wave, and the story you’re telling is one people are waiting for.”

The film stars and centers around Cillian Murphy, who plays J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American theoretical physicist who is also known as the “father of the atomic bomb.” He was instrumental in the Manhattan Project—the World War II project that focused on the development of the first nuclear weapons.

Related: Disney Needs To Learn Some Harsh Lessons From The Success of ‘Barbie’

Why is Disney Struggling at the Box Office?

Now, it’s important to note that Disney is a massive company and has primarily been doing okay—although Disney CEO Bob Iger himself has admitted the company has gone through significant hardship this year.

But, as ScreenRant argues for years, Disney relied on certain types of movies to bring in revenue. They comment, “Marvel movies were a guaranteed hit and Star Wars movies were a guaranteed hit and live-action remakes of Disney’s animated movies were a guaranteed hit, but that’s not the case anymore.”

And looking at the numbers, this is true. The Disney movie Haunted Mansion from the summer grossed a total of $117.3 million worldwide, underperforming to Disney’s expectations, considering it spent $150 million on its production. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania failed to break even. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny reportedly also lost almost $100 million for the company.

indiana jones epic stunt spectacular

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Disney

So What Should Disney Do Now?

It’s imperative that for Disney to regain its status as an innovator and trendsetter in the field of cinema and entertainment, the company begins leaning more towards taking risks and focusing on more original storytelling.

As ScreenRant rightly points out, “Spending $100 million to dramatize the invention of the atomic bomb might not have sounded like the recipe for a blockbuster, but it’s beaten Spider-ManFast & Furious, and Mission: Impossible at the box office.”

It’s high time that Disney goes back to its roots of storytelling and rediscover what made them trendsetters in the field in the first place. Of course, with Bob Iger’s new strategy for content creation, this might be in play already. Only time will tell.

Stay tuned to Disney Fanatic to stay up to date on the latest Disney Parks news, business news, and entertainment news.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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