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23 Dec, 2023 05:18

Disney’s woke virus threatens US movie industry

The company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has hurt its stock price following a string of box office flops
Disney’s woke virus threatens US movie industry

In a surprising disclosure, the Walt Disney Company acknowledges in its latest filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that its recent embrace of a ‘woke’ agenda has adversely affected its financial performance.

Despite claiming a 7% revenue increase in fiscal 2023, a figure that seems less impressive given the post-coronavirus shutdown context, the company grapples with challenges such as a reduction in content production spending, significant layoffs, and the abandonment of a planned corporate campus in Florida.

The filing underscores the risks associated with misalignment with public and consumer tastes, emphasizing the imperative to create content that resonates with evolving consumer preferences.

Disney's stocks on the New York Stock Exchange have experienced a considerable decline. From their valuation of $197 in 2021, their current value stands at approximately $92, marking a substantial 53% decrease from the 2021 figure. In contrast, the broader stock market has experienced a positive trend of about 10% over this timeframe. The notable reduction in Disney's stock value prompts the question: Could there be a connection between the adoption of woke ideologies and financial decline, reflecting the sentiment encapsulated by the saying "go woke, go broke"?

Despite these challenges, Disney remains steadfast in its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The company's inaugural digital platform, dedicated to amplifying underrepresented voices, signifies a bold step. Beyond the platform, Disney aims to strengthen its enduring dedication to DEI principles, reflecting proactive efforts of Disney employees influencing workplace dynamics, content creation, and community engagement.

Amidst a barrage of criticism for 'woke' box office disappointments, Disney, particularly with "The Marvels," prompts scrutiny of the efficacy of socially conscious messaging in popular media. As consumer boycotts against woke brands gain traction, the repercussions extend beyond Disney, causing a ripple effect leading to the unraveling of other brands.

In the intricate landscape of contemporary corporate challenges, the decision by the Walt Disney Company to delay the release of the live-action version of “Snow White” and its entanglement in legal disputes with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reflect an impending period of uncertainty for the entertainment giant. The ongoing clash with Governor DeSantis stems from Disney’s criticism of a controversial anti-LGBTQ law in Florida, triggering retaliatory actions by the governor. As the conflict intensifies, it raises fundamental questions about the convergence of corporate strategies, societal dynamics, and financial viability.

In an enchanting turn of events, Disney has opted to push back the release of "Snow White" to 2025, a decision seemingly influenced by the considerable backlash against the perceived 'woke' remake. Additionally, there are indications that Disney has abandoned the use of "diversity creatures" in favor of CGI dwarves that closely resemble the characters from the original production. This shift suggests a response to public sentiment and raises questions about Disney's adaptation choices, reflecting the ongoing dialogue surrounding the film's creative direction and societal expectations.

The resolution of the protracted SAG-AFTRA strike marks a pivotal moment for Disney, allowing the resumption of film productions after a prolonged hiatus. However, the aftermath of this strike resolution unveils a significant challenge for Disney, as the company announces a strategic reorganization of its film release calendar. In a recent official statement, Disney disclosed the necessary adjustment of release dates for several high-profile projects. "Deadpool 3", initially slated for May 3, 2024, will now see its theatrical debut on July 26, 2024. "Captain America", another flagship title, faces a shift in release date to February 14, 2025, while Marvel's "Thunderbolts", originally scheduled for December 20, 2024, is rescheduled for July 25, 2025. "The Blade" reboot experiences a similar fate, moving from February 15, 2025, to November 7, 2025. Beyond the Marvel universe, Disney has also recalibrated the release date for the prequel to its 2019 CGI remake of "The Lion King". "Mufasa: The Lion King", initially set for July 5, 2024, is now slated for release on December 20, 2024.

Disney's longstanding success in animated filmmaking, characterized by classics like "Dumbo" and recent hits like the "Frozen" movies, faces scrutiny in the current environment. The studio's commitment to timeless classics with meaningful narratives and memorable characters is challenged as it navigates the impact of its woke pivot on financial performance and public perception.

In conclusion, Disney's woke pivot appears to be a risky gamble that is threatening the magic kingdom. The company's admission of financial setbacks, clashes with influential figures like Elon Musk, and the broader industry challenges paint a complex picture for the iconic entertainment giant. As the company navigates these complexities, its fortunes in the wake of the woke pivot remain uncertain, and the magic of the kingdom faces an unprecedented test.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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