You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney CEO Bob Iger Touts ‘Black Panther’s’ Franchise Potential

Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger on Monday said that despite the rapidly-changing entertainment environment, he envisions a future where viewers still choose to subscribe to Disney content, even as they continue cutting the cord on more expensive cable packages.

During a question-and-answer session at the annual Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Iger outlined a hypothetical scenario where a majority of U.S. households have an entertainment bundle that costs between $30 and $50. Consumers, Iger surmised, are not likely to bank the roughly $70 in savings from cord-cutting. “We think they’ll actually spend it on more entertainment,” Iger said. “That’s where an expanded ESPN app, a Disney app, a Hulu app, can benefit greatly.”

Iger’s appearance — his first at the Morgan Stanley conference — comes as Disney is in the middle of a number of strategic shifts, as the media conglomerate prepares to launch two new streaming services: ESPN Plus this spring, and a Disney-branded platform in late 2019.

Disney is also in the early stages of securing regulatory approval for its bid of Fox’s television and film assets in a deal worth $52.4 billion. If successful, the acquisition would give Disney access to a vast library that would help expand its content offerings for its forthcoming Disney-branded streaming platform, coming in late 2019.

Pushing back on characterizations that Disney’s streaming platform will be a rival to Netflix, Iger said he sees two distinct businesses. “Netflix is a completely different business in the sense that they’re a very-high volume business,” he said. “We’re going to be in the business of less volume, but more branded content.”

Iger argued that Disney’s brands, which include Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, “are in enough demand, that we believe it’ll enable us to take a product to market with less volume.”

Disney studios will be making original content exclusively for the Disney streaming service, including four to five new series — among them “Star Wars” and Marvel properties — as well as four to five original films, Iger said.

On creating franchises, Iger said that it’s hard to predict which properties or characters will become the next “Avengers” or “Star Wars.” But Iger was bullish that “Black Panther,” which has so far made $400 million domestically, has become a franchise that will have staying power.

“I pretty much guarantee you around Halloween, you’re going to be seeing a lot of Black Panther merchandise on the marketplace,” Iger said. He noted that at Disneyland, the wait to meet and take pictures with the Black Panther character is an hour long.

But Disney doesn’t always launch franchises with each new film offering, Iger said. “Coco,” the Oscar-nominated animated feature about the Mexican cultural holiday Day of the Dead has captured hearts around the world, but I’m “not sure that’s necessarily a franchise, but we’re very proud of that fact that we made it.”

It has earned a number of awards for best animated feature, and done extremely well at the box office, Iger noted. “That’s not a bad thing,” he said.


More Film

  • Peter Rabbit trailer

    Australia Box Office Recovers, Grows 3.8% in 2018

    Gross theatrical box office in Australia grew by 3.6% in 2018, to $890 million (A$1.25 billion). The score was propelled by a rebound in the performance of the top local films. Data from the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia published Tuesday showed aggregate cinema revenues recovering after a dip in 2017. While the 2018 [...]

  • Megan Mullally70th Primetime Emmy Awards, Arrivals,

    Q&A: Why Megan Mullally Won't Talk Politics While Hosting the SAG Awards

    Megan Mullally is funny. The “Will & Grace” star can also sing and dance. While she’s not picking up the Oscar hosting gig after the Kevin Hart fiasco, Mullally will take center stage on Sunday, Jan. 27 when she makes her debut as the host of the 25th annual SAG Awards. Variety caught up with [...]

  • Glass trailer

    'Glass': Five Box Office Takeaways From M. Night Shyamalan's Thriller

    With his fifth No. 1 box office opening, M. Night Shyamalan has plenty to celebrate. “Glass,” the conclusion to a trilogy that consists of the 2000 cult hit “Unbreakable” and 2016’s box office sensation “Split,” topped the box office last weekend — though its win comes with a few caveats. James McAvoy reprised his role [...]

  • Berlin: Patra Spanou Picks Up Panorama

    Berlin: Patra Spanou Picks Up Panorama Title 'Family Members' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Patra Spanou has picked up world sales rights to “Los miembros de la familia” (Family Members), which will world premiere in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section. Variety has been given an exclusive first look of the film’s trailer. The film is the second feature from writer/director Mateo Bendesky, and is produced by Agustina Costa [...]

  • Great Point Media, The Development Partnership

    Great Point Media, Development Partnership Join Forces on Slate of Movies

    Great Point Media and The Development Partnership, the development and production arm of the talent agency the Artists Partnership, are joining forces to develop, package, and co-produce multiple films, kicking off with three projects, including “Chasing Agent Freegard,” starring James Norton (“War & Peace”). “Chasing Agent Freegard,” which is being produced by “Captain Phillips” co-producer [...]

  • Berlin: FiGa Acquires ‘Landless,’ Drops ‘Hormigas’

    Berlin: FiGa Acquires ‘Landless,’ Drops ‘Hormigas’ Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sandro Fiorin’s Miami-based FiGa Films, a leading sales agent on the independent Latin American scene, has announced the acquisition of Brazilian doc “Landless,” and released a trailer for the Costa Rican-Spanish drama “El despertar de las hormigas.” Both features will play at this year’s Berlinale Forum and come from young Latin American filmmakers making their [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds Cancels Arm Surgery to

    Ryan Reynolds Cancels Arm Surgery to Promote 'Deadpool 2' in China

    Ryan Reynolds canceled surgery on his arm to fly to China and charm “Deadpool” fans in Beijing on Sunday ahead of the franchise’s unexpected China theatrical debut. Just last week, Fox suddenly announced that a re-cut, PG-13 “Deadpool 2” would hit Chinese theaters starting this Friday – the first time the notoriously blood-splattered and foul-mouthed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content