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Disney Reduces Marvel Programs And Films To Optimize Quality

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Disney Reduces Marvel Programs And Films To Optimize Quality

As per statements made earlier by Disney CEO Bob Iger, there is a decrease in the number of Marvel TV shows and movies, transitioning to a more selective approach.

In the recent quarterly earnings call of Disney, covered by Variety on Tuesday, Iger emphasized the company’s shift towards emphasizing quality over quantity, departing from the trend of producing a multitude of stories even marginally connected to the Avengers.

Speaking to reporters, Iger mentioned, “We are gradually reducing the volume to possibly about two television series annually, instead of the previously seen four, and trimming our film output from potentially four to a maximum of three annually.”

The Marvel release schedule appears to align with this revised strategy. With just a single Marvel movie hitting theaters this year, Deadpool & Wolverine, the TV lineup for 2024 included the debut of X-Men ’97 and the upcoming Agatha, a WandaVision spin-off led by Kathryn Hahn, set for September 2024. Additionally, a new animated Spider-Man series will air later this year.

While there are three shows slated for 2024, the confirmed Marvel TV series for 2025 are Daredevil: Born Again and Ironheart. This indicates that the industry-wide trend of reduction has also impacted a major player like Disney. However, another Disney-owned brand had already emphasized the importance of prioritizing quality over quantity. In February, at the Television Critics Association’s winter 2024 press tour, FX chairman John Landgraf declared the end of the period of peak TV, introducing the concept of post-peak TV.

Similar to Iger’s sentiments, Landgraf acknowledged the escalating costs of producing TV shows and the infeasibility of continually churning out new content. Landgraf noted, “The readjustment of industry priorities from a focus on streaming scale at any cost to profitability continued post-strikes, resulting in the cancellation of numerous projects and series.” (Though it remains to be seen if this strategy will hinder FX from investing in series like Shōgun, a grand modern epic that maximized every dollar of its budget on the screen.)

The impact of this refined focus on storytelling quality is uncertain. Iger highlighted the shift towards leaning on sequels for a period, following years of balancing original animation with franchise expansions. The prevalence of superhero saturation is a reality, to the extent that a new term akin to “post-peak TV” may be warranted. Nevertheless, catering to existing fanbases will continue to be a priority for corporations like Disney, evident in the upcoming release of multiple new Star Wars shows this year alone, such as Leslye Headland’s The Acolyte and the Jude Law-starred Skeleton Crew. Star Wars series have experienced varying success levels, akin to Marvel shows, and the outcomes of this “quality over quantity” approach remain to be observed.

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