The counterrevolution at Disney. Bob replaced Bob.

The counterrevolution at Disney. Bob replaced Bob.
Photo by Jayme McColgan / Unsplash

At the beginning of 2020, when the clouds of information storm called "pandemic COVID-19" were already thickening in the world, it was announced that Bob Eiger was stepping down as head of Disney. This provoked a mixed reaction from the industry. Replacing an extremely effective and incredibly influential executive, who actually created the modern Disney empire, with the little-known head of the amusement park department, Bob Chapek, seemed strange. Especially at such a difficult time, when without any pandemic, the film industry was at a turning point due to the rapid development of streaming platforms. Nevertheless, the revolution did take place. Chapek's reign, however, proved short-lived. Two and a half years later, in a counterrevolutionary coup, Bob Iger returned to his post.
Chapek had little experience in dealing with top talent and maneuvering through difficult political situations, and this became evident after he made a number of obvious and, most importantly, public blunders.
One of the most important was an open conflict with Black Widow performer Scarlett Johansson, who found herself disagreeing with Disney's decision to release the solo film simultaneously at the box office and streaming Disney+, which significantly reduced her income as it was tied to a series of box office bonuses. This prompted the actress to sue, and Chapek, instead of trying to settle the dispute, compounded the mistake by endorsing a public statement that "Johansson proved to be greedy and insensitive to the challenges of the pandemic." Many in the film industry were stunned that Chapek so openly insulted a movie star who was asserting her contractual rights. The head of a rival studio said at the time that it was "the most embarrassing thing he had ever witnessed in his entire career.
In addition, Bob Chapek Chapek had long resisted pressure to oppose a Florida law restricting discourse in schools about gender identity and sexual orientation, which critics called the "Don't Say Gay" bill. Chapek chose to remain neutral even after Bob Iger tweeted his disagreement with state authorities.
The scandal led to employee layoffs. Many were particularly outraged when Chapek suggested that the best way for the company to make changes was to create "inclusive content." It turns out that while Disney removed a gay kiss from the "Buzz Lightyear" cartoon. The scene was reinstated after Pixar employees wrote an open letter criticizing the studio's management.
Just a couple of months after that, Chapek shocked the industry again by firing Peter Rice, chairman of Disney General Entertainment Television, who was one of the most respected executives in the industry. In doing so, Rice was seen as a possible challenger for Chapek's own position when it became vacant, a move seen by many as a preemptive strike against a formidable rival.
And yet, in the summer of 2022, the Disney board renewed Bob Chapek's contract for another three years, and then a counter-revolution happened a few months later. The final straw that prefigured it was the company's next financial report.
Last quarter, Disney missed analysts' expectations for revenue by more than one billion dollars and also missed earnings per share (EPS). The company reported a much larger-than-expected loss of $1.5 billion in its direct-to-consumer business, more than double the previous year's loss.
Bob Iger is back. But can the man under whose stewardship such assets as Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and the most profitable movie universe in history have been acquired give the Disney empire a new lease on life?