Disney plans to scale back its streaming content as cost-cutting hits the entertainment giant. Marvel Studios will reportedly see the first and perhaps biggest cuts under CEO Bob Iger’s second stint leading the company. Marvel head Kevin Feige echoes the sentiment, saying the company plans to release fewer shows on Disney+ while spacing them out more. According to Iger, Disney wants “the quality on the screen, but we have to look at what they cost us.”
“The pace at which we’re putting out the Disney+ shows will change so they can each get a chance to shine,” Feige told Entertainment Weekly earlier this week. Disney’s Marvel output over the last couple of years has been staggering. It released three movies and three television series in 2022, which followed the four films and five shows it put out in 2021. The company initially announced five Disney+ series for 2023, but season two of Loki and the new Secret Invasion starring Samuel L. Jackson are reportedly the only two that are still “sure bets” to arrive this year.
“I do think one of the powerful aspects of being at Marvel Studios is having these films and shows hit the zeitgeist,” Feige said. “But we want Marvel Studios and the MCU projects to really stand out and stand above. So, people will see that as we get further into Phase 5 and 6. The pace at which we’re putting out the Disney+ shows will change so they can each get a chance to shine.” When pressed about whether the pacing change would mean spacing them out or releasing fewer shows, he replied, “Both, I think.”
Meanwhile, Disney eyes Star Wars’ return to the big screen. Although the franchise has been busy on Disney+ with live-action series The Mandalorian, Andor, Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett, the franchise has been missing from theaters since 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker. Disney will reportedly unveil new film plans at Star Wars Celebration in April. However, the franchise won’t escape the company’s renewed fiscal responsibility. “Lucasfilm may ramp up, but it will have to abide by the same fiscal discipline as the rest of the company,” a source told The Hollywood Reporter.
The cost-cutting will also affect Disney's big-screen animation plans after the division’s struggles in 2022. Pixar’s Lightyear underperformed, while Disney Animation’s Strange World was a box-office disaster. As a result, the company is reportedly considering longer theatrical windows for its future animated features to encourage families to return to theaters. Upcoming animated projects include Elemental and Wish.
However, industry insiders don’t necessarily foresee the far-ranging cuts as omens of bigger concerns looming for Disney or its streaming service. “You can have ten mediocre shows, or you can have five great shows,” an agency partner told The Hollywood Reporter. “People will still stay on Disney+.”