Marvel movies are big business, but Disney is putting on the brakes when it comes to MCU movies and TV shows. The news comes off the back of an interview that Disney CEO Bob Iger did with CNBC, where he admitted that there had been some recent disappointments, and that sheer volume of Marvel movies and shows had become a problem.
During their opening weekends at the box office, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3 grossed $106m and $118m respectively. Although data from CNBC shows that projections had estimated these would reach $110m and $120m instead.
While Iger says that Disney would have liked for these blockbusters to perform better, he thinks it’s reflective of the added pressure that the studio was under to grow its streaming content offering on Disney Plus. Iger singled out Marvel as a great example of a part of the business that buckled under the extra pressure.
The studio did not have a large TV offering before its recent push into streaming. “Not only did they increase their movie output but they made more TV series than they had ever made before”, he said, referencing the likes of the likes of Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Ms Marvel, Loki, [deep breath] Hawkeye, What If…? and Secret Invasion before we even get to Marvel Phase 5 releases like Loki season two. “Frankly, it diluted focus and attention. That is, I think, more of the cause than anything,” Iger said.
A “new” Marvel
The idea of slowing down production on the MCU is not completely new news. Just last month, we reported how Marvel had delayed multiple MCU movies again due to the ongoing Hollywood writer’s strike. Earlier this year, The Marvels had been delayed, which followed a pattern of multiple Marvel movies delayed from last year.
So, rejigging production schedules isn’t exactly new either but this time round, it has more to do with a larger reshuffling of the company. Ever since Iger did a ‘Steve Jobs’ in 2022 and returned to run the business again, he’s been making a lot of changes, including the potential for removing more Disney Plus and Hulu TV shows from the service in the coming months as part of the cost-cutting effort.
In an interview with Variety from back in March, Iger hinted that some big changes were on the horizon for Marvel in order to attract more box office success. “There’s nothing in any way inherently off in terms of the Marvel brand. I think we just have to look at what characters and stories we’re mining, and you look at the trajectory of Marvel over the next five years, you’ll see a lot of newness. We’re going to turn back to the Avengers franchise, but with a whole different set of Avengers,” he said.
We’re big fans of the MCU here at TechRadar so it’s great to hear that Iger isn’t slowing down completely. But Phase 4 was arguably the weakest of the whole bunch, while also being the busiest and demanding that you follow what’s happening across everything more than ever. We’ll be glad for our guide on how to watch the Marvel movies in order to get a bit more rest in the future.