Bob Iger Admits Disney Has Strategically ‘Killed a Few Projects’

It turns out Warner Bros. isn’t the only studio canceling its own releases. While there are no specifics on the level of that company’s ill-fated Batgirl or Coyote vs. Acme, it has been confirmed that Disney has also done some strategic “killing” of projects as part of a plan to get its profits back on track.

We know this because, well, Disney CEO Bob Iger said it himself. “You have to kill things you no longer believe in, and that’s not easy in this business, because either you’ve gotten started, you have some sunk costs, or it’s a relationship with either your employees or with the creative community,” he said at a Morgan Stanley event today, as quoted in the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s not an easy thing, but you got to make those tough calls. We’ve actually made those tough calls. We’ve not been that public about it, but we’ve killed a few projects already that we just didn’t feel were strong enough.”

He didn’t name any titles, though fans might be able to make some guesses. But Iger was careful to note that he’d been “spending a lot of time with the creators, watching these films, giving detailed notes in these films, engaging in a respectful process that results in improvement.”

He was also asked, inevitably, about “superhero fatigue,” particularly as it relates to the palpably diminished excitement over the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “A lot of people think it’s audience fatigue; it’s not audience fatigue. They want great films. And if you build it great, they will come,” Iger said, again emphasizing the importance of “excellence and respect” to cultivate a creative environment. “Focus is really important. We reduced the output of Marvel, both number of films they make and the number of TV shows, and that really becomes critical, but I feel good about the team. I feel good about the IP we’re making … [and] the track record speaks for itself.”

And in fact, the next Marvel movie—the much-anticipated Deadpool & Wolverine—could indeed help Disney turn the box office around; it’s out July 26. Disney also has Inside Out and Moana sequels on the way, as well as Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

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