By Chris Katje
One of the keys to the success of The Walt Disney Company over the years may be its acquisition of Marvel Entertainment, which was announced in 2009. With a focus on streaming content, theatrical releases and the return of former CEO Bob Iger, the forward strategy of Marvel could be a big focus for Disney.
Marvel boss Kevin Feige shares his thoughts on the balance between movies and series.
Disney welcomed back Iger as the CEO recently, replacing Bob Chapek, who was the original replacement for Iger.
One of the keys to The House of Mouse’s past and future success could be Marvel, with plans underway for Phase 5 and Phase 6 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Phase 5 kicks off with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” hitting theaters Feb. 17.
Phase 5 for Marvel Cinematic Universe will also include several Marvel-themed shows hitting Disney+, the streaming platform owned by Disney. This includes “Secret Invasion,” “Echo,” “Loki Season 2,” “Ironheart” and “Agatha: Coven of Chaos,” all scheduled for Disney+ releases in 2023.
Marvel President Feige has led the company for decades and shares his thoughts on the balance between streaming and theatrical releases in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“I do think one of the powerful aspects of being at Marvel Studios is having these films and shows hit the zeitgeist. It is harder to hit the zeitgeist when there’s so much product out there – and so much content,” Feige said.
The Marvel boss said plans could be adjusted on how often shows are released on Disney+ to space them out better for viewers. Feige said he wants Marvel content to stand out above the competition, and it is hard to do that with so many releases each year.
“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.”
Feige said Marvel could have a two-fold strategy of releasing fewer shows each year and spacing them out to make sure the content is top notch, stands out and viewers enjoy it.
The Marvel boss said the company may also test having less cliffhangers in episodes and more standalone episodes within series.
“I’m a big Star Trek fan, and I still find it soothing to watch an episode of Next Gen with a beginning and an end. So, I think we’re going to keep experimenting with that going forward.”
According to the report, Disney+ has plans to release seven shows in Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the years 2023 and 2024. Previously, Marvel had released eight shows in the two years of Phase 4.
Disney+ has been a big boon for the media giant: Disney is now one of the top streaming companies globally by number of subscribers.
Disney ended the fourth quarter with 164.2 million subscribers. The total was up 39% year-over-year, but marked the first subscriber loss from the previous quarter since the launch of the streaming platform. Much of the subscriber loss was attributed to the loss of subscribers in the lower revenue-driving Southeast Asia region.
Marvel’s Phase 5 and Phase 6 have an ambitious set of titles planned for release on Disney+ and in theaters. The right balance could help Disney dominate both the theatrical box office and streaming market.
Feige’s comments could suggest less titles being released on Disney+ than planned, which could change things.
Marvel is not the only piece of the Disney streaming pie, with key shows and movies in the Pixar, Star Wars and Disney Animation also getting ample promotion on Disney+.
Having too much good content could prove to be a problem at Disney that many media companies would be jealous of — and show the value of Disney across several mediums of content.
Iger previously led the acquisitions of Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars, which likely means he has a vision for the future. If Iger and Feige are on the same page for the content strategy, Disney fans and sharehZenger News could be in for more years of growth.
Produced in association with Benzinga.
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