Disney lets go of ‘Frozen’ due to box office struggles
Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger revealed that production on “Frozen 4” could begin just months after the company confirmed that the third installment of the “Frozen” franchise will also be coming to theaters.
“‘Frozen 3’ is in the works and ‘Frozen 4’ may also be in the works,” Iger said in an interview with Good Morning America on Thursday. “Right now I don’t have much to say about those films. [Director] Jane Lee, who created the original ‘Frozen’ and ‘Frozen 2’, has been hard at work on not one, but actually two stories with her team at Disney Animation.
The news comes as Disney has struggled at the box office with its most recent live-action film, “The Marvels,” which grossed a disappointing $47 million domestically in its opening weekend – the lowest in the history of the MCU franchise. Worst performance.
Shares have lagged the broader markets by about 8%, compared with the S&P 500’s (^GSPC) gain of 17% over the same time period.
Analysts have warned that the company’s content business will continue to struggle in 2024.
“I don’t think the studios are going to be the engine that helps Disney grow over the next 18 months,” said TD Cowen analyst Doug Creutz. “I don’t think it’s going to get worse, but I don’t think it’s going to get better either.”
Despite once being an industry leader, Disney has fallen behind competitors at the box office. Marvel, in particular, has struggled as a franchise since 2019’s “Endgame.” Creutz attributed the results to oversaturation on the consumer side and a drop in FOMO, or fear of missing out.
“There was a lot of FOMO where it felt like, ‘Man, if I miss this Marvel movie I’ll miss something important,’” Creutz told Yahoo Finance. “The thing with FOMO is that if people’s ask gets too big, they’re not going to go see it,” he said.
He added, “Marvel asked a lot of the audience and they did it at a time when the quality wasn’t there because they were trying to do too many different things.” “so here we are. [Disney] Now we have to try to fix what’s broken.”
But it’s not just Marvel. Disney’s animation business has also performed poorly, especially compared to competitors like Universal (CMCSA) and Sony (SONY).
Creutz said demand for animation has “definitely gone down” following the pandemic due to the abundance of children’s content on streaming platforms like Disney+. He said: “The only animated movies that have done well since the pandemic are big sequels. … Disney had no sequels in the pipeline.”
Perhaps the upcoming “Frozen” sequel could top Disney’s box office again.