Things aren’t looking so happy for the so-called “happiest place on Earth.” Disney is dealing with record losses – to the tune of nearly $1 billion – after a series of recent box office flops. The entertainment juggernaut appears to be going the way of Bud Light as it relates to alienating its core audience in favor of a more ‘woke’ approach to its content.
On Thursday’s show, Megyn was joined by Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA and host of The Charlie Kirk Show, to talk about Disney’s financial woes and whether the company will learn its lesson.
Disney Gets Woke… and Goes Broke
According to prominent YouTube financial analyst Valliant Renegade, Disney is “bleeding out” at the box office. The last eight theatrical releases have combined for some $900 million in losses. They include the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, sequels like Lightyear, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Antman and The Wasp: Quantumania, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3, and animated features Strange World and Elemental.
In Valliant Renegade’s conservative estimate, the eight movies cost around $2.75 billion to make and market but only brought in about $1.86 billion. While The Little Mermaid and Elemental are still in theaters, they are not performing as well as expected. In the true ‘flop’ category, it is believed Strange World lost $197 million and Lightyear lost $106 million.
Many of these films include what are considered to be ‘woke’ storylines. Strange World and Lightyear feature same-sex relationships, while Elemental talks about xenophobia and has Disney’s first openly non-binary character. “The people are not buying this content,” Megyn remarked. “They don’t want this content.”
Will Disney Recover?
The losses are only expected to compound over time because, as Valliant Renegade explained, Disney “consumes all of its own content post-theatrical” – meaning “billions of dollars worth of third-party contracts” with Netflix and the like “have now been taken off the table.”
But Kirk believes the problem goes deeper than that. While Disney has its own streaming platforms in the form of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, he sees streaming the same way he sees commercial real estate – as the next “bubble” that is going to burst. “The amount of money that the streaming wars generated was just plowed into crappy content,” he noted. “It’s like 99 percent of it is garbage.”
While Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and others saw their bottom lines rise during the COVID-19 pandemic and invested millions of dollars in whatever programming they could “get their hands on,” the post-pandemic world is not proving to be as kind to the streaming platforms. The bloated content creation budgets are simply unsustainable. “It’s kind of like private equity where one of the 30 deals actually ends up paying the bills,” Kirk said. “You’re going to see mass layoffs.”
The emphasis on more progressive storylines is also taking its toll. “They had to have half of their content allocation be in kind of the ‘woke’ bucket,” Kirk said. In doing so, Disney has alienated its core audience. “Disney used to be a wholesome, family-friendly company that made billions of dollars off of families like my own that I grew up in when my parents trusted Disney,” he concluded. “They violated that trust and they deserve to suffer.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Kirk by tuning in to episode 582 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.