Scratch off the list of things that the Walt Disney Company is worried about: superhero “fatigue.” The company’s senior vice president for investor relations said during a panel Wednesday in New York that Disney’s comic book franchise films are sufficiently diverse and audiences abundantly welcoming. He said good times should continue to roll for the shiny offerings.
“They’re not all thematically the same and I think that creates diversity and audiences don’t feel like they’re seeing the same movie every time,” said Lowell Singer, Disney’s top investor relations exec, speaking on a panel at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit. “If they’re fun and exciting and they give great action and a lot of exciting stories, people will come and see them. So, it’s not something that we talk about at all or are at all concerned about.”
Jay Rasulo, Disney’s chief financial officer, and Singer, Disney’s senior VP for investor relations, told host Michael Nathanson that the power of Disney content allowed the company to slough off economic cycles, currency shifts and other variables that might slow other companies. Rasulo credited Disney CEO Robert Iger with maintaining a strategic vision. “Eight or nine years ago, Bob Iger laid out a crystal clear strategy about content, about embracing technology and taking our brand franchises, products into a bigger global footprint, and we have really stuck to that,” Rasulo said.
Singer told the audience in New York City that concerns about Disney’s heavy investment in its Marvel comics franchise films reminded him of similar fretting a about big investments in cartoon features.
“DreamWorks got very aggressive in this business, Sony was getting in this business,” Singer recalled. “And I used to get this question all the time about animation: ‘Are you worried about animation? There is too much animation in the market.’ And I think what we have learned, and I think what market has come to appreciate, is great content lifts all boats.”
He told the audience that “All superhero films aren’t the same. They’re not all created equal.” Singer added: “ ‘Captain America’ was really a period piece. You look at ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ that was really an intergalactic space movie. They are not all thematically the same, and I think that creates diversity, and audiences don’t feel like they are seeing the same movie every time.”
Singer even called rival Warner Bros. DC comics projects “exciting,” adding: “The better their films are, the better our films are, we will all stand to benefit from that. … At the end of the day, audiences want to see great films, and Marvel has turned out incredibly high-quality films.”
Since Disney’s acquisition of Pixar, Disney’s 13 animated films have averaged $650 million at the box office. Marvel films have performed even better; eight of them averaging more than $800 million worldwide at the box office.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story attributed the comments about super hero films to Rasulo, rather than to Singer.