This Disney Legend Doesn't Mince Words, Revealing The Real Reason Behind Disney's Recent Box Office Flops

By Javier Sanchez | Tuesday, 28 May 2024 05:15 AM
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Image Credit : John Smit Variety Magazine

Esteemed Disney filmmaker John Musker has recently expressed his concerns over The Walt Disney Company's increasing focus on political messaging, as opposed to prioritizing entertainment value.

Musker, a renowned figure in the film industry, is known for directing some of Disney's most beloved films over the past several decades, including "The Little Mermaid," "Moana," and "Aladdin."

In a recent interview, Musker emphasized the need for the company to shift its focus away from politically charged messaging, and instead concentrate on the development of characters and narratives. He stated, "I think they need to do a course correction a bit in terms of putting the message secondary, behind entertainment and compelling story and engaging characters." This statement was made during an interview with the Spanish media outlet, El Pais.

Musker's filmography also includes the 2009 film "The Princess and Frog," which faced criticism for its perceived 'woke' messaging. However, Musker clarified that political messaging was not the primary focus during the film's production. He stated, "We weren’t trying to be woke, although I understand the criticism."

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He further added, "The classic Disney films didn’t start out trying to have a message. They wanted you to get involved in the characters and the story and the world, and I think that’s still the heart of it. You don’t have to exclude agendas, but you have to first create characters who you sympathize with and who are compelling."

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World of Reel reported that Musker's sentiments align with the direction that Disney CEO Bob Iger has indicated for the company. Iger has stated that the company will prioritize entertainment over political messaging.

Disney has recently faced a series of box office disappointments, including the 2022 film "Lightyear," which was criticized for its focus on pro-LGBTQ messaging rather than the origin story of the character Buzz Lightyear from "Toy Story." Following these setbacks, the company has laid off numerous employees and lost 2.4 million subscribers from its Disney+ streaming platform.

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Pixar's CCO Peter Docter did not attribute the failure of "Lightyear" to its political messaging, but rather to the company's high expectations from the audience. Speaking to The Wrap, Docter said, “I think probably what we’ve ended on in terms of what went wrong is that we asked too much of the audience. When they hear Buzz, they’re like, ‘Great, where’s Mr. Potato Head and Woody and Rex?’ And then we drop them into this science fiction film that they’re like, ‘What?'”

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