Disney CEO Bob Chapek: Moviegoers are “gone” from the release model to the pandemic

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Along with discussing how Disney is handling the Scarlett Johansson situation and the “Don’t Say ‘gay'” controversy in Florida, Disney CEO Bob Chapek stated that, in his opinion, moviegoers have “moved on” from the release model to the pandemic that was so focused on theaters.

Chapek sat down with THR and was asked about the presentation of Disney and Pixar’s studio D23, which had a lot of ads for Disney+. In the past, Disney has obviously launched its biggest franchises with movie theaters, but in the streaming era, more attention is being paid to services like Disney+, and Disney believes it’s time to ride that wave in the future.

That doesn’t mean Disney is abandoning theater, but it believes its biggest stories, properties, and mega-franchises can also come from Disney+.

“Absolutely. We fully believe in it,” Chapek said about the launch of the franchise on such a streamer as Disney+. “In the past, we had titles that, to be honest, we released in the world of theater exhibitions [for example] Encanto. It was a modest theatrical success, and then we put it on Disney+ and it soared to No. 1. I don’t have to tell you what a phenomenon he has become in terms of merchandise and music, and how many more people have seen him on Disney+.”

Chapek went on to say that he still considers film distribution “necessary” for some blockbusters, but the franchise may be born at home. For Disney, it’s all about the flexibility of being able to release their films in theaters or on Disney+.

“We have flexibility,” Chapek said. “It’s a word I’ve been using since the beginning of the pandemic when I first got this job…. In business, in the industry, there are many people who want the world to return to what it was, and this is not the case because the consumer has left. After all, everyone involved in this business serves one entity, and that is the consumer. Business has moved on.

“That doesn’t mean we’re not going to take the great Marvel movies, Star Wars and Avatar and put them first in theaters. We’ll do it because it’s a great way to experience these movies. But that doesn’t mean that everything to earn trust or to eventually turn into a Disney franchise needs to go through this.”

Then the conversation turned to other topics, and one of the issues discussed was how Chapek handled the situation with Scarlett Johansson when she sued Disney for breach of contract due to the fact that “Black Widow” switched to a hybrid release both on Disney+ and in theaters. Her salary was heavily dependent on the box office, and this move affected her. She has since moved in with Disney.

“There were a lot of people who voted for how we handled it. And I was one voice, and I’ll just say that our relationship with her agency and with her has never been better,” Chapek said.

Finally, THR asked Chapek about his apology to Disney employees for “Don’t Say Gay,” a Florida law aimed at preventing teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ topics. It was discovered that Disney made donations to Florida politicians who supported the bill, although he initially remained silent on the issue.

“These are complex social problems in which we absolutely, positively want to represent the needs and expectations of our actors, but we also understand that sometimes in such a divided world there is no agreement between, perhaps, large groups of our guests and consumers. they are looking in terms of what content they want to show their children at this particular time,” Chapek said. “We are trying to be everything for everyone. It can be very difficult because we are the Walt Disney Company.

“When you are a lightning rod for clicks and political speeches on the podium, the essence of our brand can be misappropriated or misused to try to meet the needs of a particular group. We want to rise above that. We believe that Disney is a place where people can come together with shared values of what an optimistic and ideal future can be. We certainly don’t want to be involved in any political tricks, but at the same time we also understand that we want to represent a brighter tomorrow for families of all types, regardless it depends on how they define themselves.”

In other Disney news, check out our reviews of Marvel, Star Wars and 20th Century Studio Showcase, as well as Disney and Marvel Games Showcase.

Adam Bankhurst is an IGN news columnist. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

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