Disney CEO Bob Iger gave a speech last Thursday at Morgan Stanley’s Tech, Media & Telecom Conference, covering a wide range of topics on the company’s sprawling media enterprise.
Regarding the theatrical release, Iger acknowledged somewhat diminishing returns from the most recent round of superhero titles from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Last month’s ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA is only the latest release to disappoint, with much of its box office impact coming in the first one to two weeks of release.
Iger pointed to a need to create “newness” from MCU movies, wondering out loud whether audiences “need a third and a fourth for instance, or is it time to turn to other characters?” Audience feedback indicates that interest is narrowing over time to MCU superfans, with casual moviegoers reporting that they can feel somewhat lost when trying to follow the complicated storylines.
Iger also discussed the ownership status of Hulu, expressing an openness to Disney either selling its two-thirds share of the service or buying out the one-third that is owned by Comcast. Hulu is a valuable player in the streaming market, with 48.5 million subscribers and a strong slate of original series such as THE BEAR, ATLANTA, and SONS OF ANARCHY. However, Iger is convinced that Disney should streamline its operations, and managing Hulu’s content and platform represents significant operational challenges.
The Wrap details many possible suitors for Hulu, beginning with Comcast but also considering the value to Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple. However, in a market that has become short on capital and hostile to mergers, the most likely outcome is for Disney to hold on to Hulu, either by maintaining its partial ownership or by taking over entirely by buying out Comcast.
See also: Disney CEO Bob Iger says it’s time for ‘newness’ from Marvel movies (CNBC)