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Core points of Gamers

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Core points of Gamers

Bob Chapek Leaving Disney Began With Scarlett Johansson’s Lawsuit


In a move that shocked everyone from Hollywood to Wall Street, Disney made a change of leadership. The company reinstated former CEO Bob Iger for a two-year term. A veteran of the House of Mouse, Bob Chapek had a tumultuous reign, but it was Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit over the release of black widow which condemned his mandate.


Chapek not only had a 26-year career with Disney, but his contract was also recently renewed for three years. However, the corporate world’s rumor mill began circulating that Iger regretted appointing his successor. When the story is finally written about what happened behind the scenes, Chapek’s downfall will almost certainly begin with the lawsuit. If Disney’s many corporate interests represent a multi-tentacled squid of money, his weird beaked mouth is the talent. Whether it’s the animators and voice actors behind Mickey or the many marquee stars behind the masks of Marvel heroes, they are literally the face of the company. The one exception is perhaps the sports arm of ESPN, but even that branch is often used to promote Disney movies and series. Chapek’s mishandling of Florida’s discriminatory “Don’t Say Gay” bill, post-pandemic park price hikes and everything in between likely contributed. But the lawsuit represents an unquantifiable quality in the professional relationship, something Chapek lacked and Iger have in spades.

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Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit was Chapek’s first major management flop

After Avengers Endgame, there was perhaps no original team member more important than Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. She sacrificed herself in that film, but would get a victory lap in her character’s film of the same name. Not only that, but as only the second Marvel Studios film to be directed by a woman, she felt behind before the pandemic hit. Once she did, Disney was the only company with the kind of leeway to test the waters by releasing the movie in theaters. However, the decision to simultaneously launch on Disney+ is what created the problem.

Even without the money that went to black widow on Disney+ Premier Access, the movie would have struggled to earn more than movies like Ant Man. A prequel movie, it didn’t feel all that necessary to understand the upcoming story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet, black widow It ended up being a beloved classic, in part because it’s Scarlett Johansson in her prime. black widow it was the fourth highest-grossing film of the year domestically, with the previous three also being Marvel films. Still, with a total box office of less than $400 million, the film underperformed. If anything, the direct-to-consumer money helped boost profit margin, but Chapek apparently didn’t reach out to Johansson, the film’s star and executive producer.

Bob Iger would never make such a mistake. During those tense months when Spider-Man was all but out of the MCU when talks between Sony and Disney fell apart, star Tom Holland made his case directly to Iger. If Iger had been in charge of black widowJohansson’s pitch, he probably would have involved Johansson at every turn and effectively sold him on the plan.

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Iger and Chapek couldn’t be more different in style.

Iger Chapek

Bob Iger has a very different leadership style than Chapek, and given his management of the company, it makes sense to bring him back. The culture of CEOs, especially in the United States, is very strange. Some people cheer them on as their favorite quarterback. Of course, if any of these billionaires lives up to the hype, it’s Iger. He is either a genius level 3D business chess thinker or a reckless high-stakes player with incredible luck. He was responsible for Disney buying franchises like Marvel and Star Wars. Only the box office earnings from those studios paid off their bets. He also initiated the acquisition of 20th Century Fox to bring back Marvel, its X-Men and the original trilogy that pre-credits fanfare.

Without all of these properties, the Disney+ that Bob Iger envisioned would never have come to fruition. Iger believes in the direct-to-consumer model, but has proven smart enough to know that he has to make others believe in it. Johansson waited over a decade to headline his own solo movie, and he definitely didn’t want it to be the only Marvel Studios movie that wasn’t a theatrical exclusive. Chapek seemed unconcerned about it at best. Iger would have made Johnasson an offer and probably got her in on the scheme. The breakdown of that relationship was the first sign to the public that Chapek didn’t have the magic that Iger did. So while Disney shareholders are celebrating, Iger may not be able to spend his way out of this mess. If he buckles down, it will be crucial to maintain relationships with creative talent on both sides of the camera. It’s exactly the kind of thing Iger is good at.

It’s unclear what the future of Disney will look like with Iger, especially since he’s inheriting a company in worse shape than when he left it. Still, whatever he does, he’ll take a talent-first approach because he knows the best people to “sell” Disney to the world are his biggest stars.



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