The Problem With Bob Chapek as Disney CEO


It was a week of groundbreaking announcements for Disney. First, people “familiar with the situation” said Disney Parks chief Bob Chapek is first in line to be the next Disney CEO. Then Marvel released the Avengers: Infinity War trailer, breaking records and the internet. Disney Pictures announced that it has found the actress who will play Mulan in the live-action movie. If that weren’t enough, Disney announced it is suing Redbox, and they’ll probably win big. Let’s get into it.

Why Fans Should Worry About Bob Chapek

No matter what fans think of Bob Chapek or the reports that he could be the next Disney CEO, there are two facts Disney fans cannot dispute.

  1. Nearly every decision Bob Chapek has made as a leader has made Disney more profitable.
  2. Nearly every decision Bob Chapek has made as a leader has made the customer experience worse

Chapek has a microbiology degree from Indiana University Bloomington and later earned an MBA from Michigan State University. He worked at Heinz and J. Walter Thompson before becoming Disney’s home-entertainment marketing director. Chapek is responsible for taking Disney from DVD to Blu Ray. It’s a slow process that has seen Disney rack up the profits while fans have had to scurry around for blu rays of their favorite movies.

Chapek then went on to head consumer products in 2011.He led the division to double-digit profits by cutting jobs and focusing the business on brands (like Disney Princess) rather than specific lines of merchandise (like shoes). Disney fans will remember this as the period where “grown-up” merchandise disappeared from the Disney store. If you have Frozen fatigue, it’s probably a direct result of decisions from Bob Chapek, who is reportedly a big fan of Disney’s big-budget movies that spawn sequels, toys, and theme-park attractions.

That’s all a little annoying, but Chapek took cost-cutting and profit-making to the next level when he became the head of the parks division. The tiered system of tickets that cost more during peak times is a Chapek product. He eliminated some annual passes and consistently introduces new ways to get patrons to pay extra for perks such as nighttime events and passes to get to the head of the line.

Make no mistake, if Bob Chapek happens to be named as the next Disney CEO, it will be bad for fans.

Star Wars Wants To Be Avengers

There was a time when no movie could match the anticipation fans felt for any movie named “Star Wars.” Avengers: Infinity War is here to bring balance to the universe.

Infinity War became the most-watched trailer within a single day of release, racking up more than 200 million views in 24 hours. According to Marvel Studios, the Infinity War trailer has accumulated 230 million views across all forms of media.

This was to be expected. For 17 films and 9 years, fans have been waiting for Thanos, the ultimate villain, to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, it is finally time.

But this moment is bigger than this. Disney has seven of the top 10 most viewed trailers in the first 24 hours. Three of those are Marvel films (4. Thor: Ragnarok,10. Captain America: Civil War). In fact, Infinity War more than doubled the number of trailer views of the The Force Awakens.

As Star Wars becomes more common at the box office, you can bet Lucasfilm will look to Marvel to keep audience attention and excitement for their movies.

Disney Suing Redbox for selling Digital download codes for Disney Movies

Disney is suing Redbox over digital codes. If that sounds weird, it’s because it is.

These days a lot of Disney blu rays come with a code to allow fans to download a digital movie. Every Disney digital code comes with a statement in bold that reads “not for sale or transfer.” Apparently Redbox thought that was just a suggestion. Redbox has been selling the code directly to customers for a fraction of what the digital copies cost on iTunes or Amazon.

Redbox has distribution deals in place with major studios like Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, but not with Disney. That means Redbox has to purchase retail copies of the studio’s titles so customers can rent them. Now Redbox has been illegally selling the digital codes that come with those physical copies.

This seems like an open and shut case but maybe Redbox has a card up its sleeve. We’ll soon see.

Disney finds its Mulan Lead

Chinese actress Crystal Liu Yifei has been cast as the leading actress in Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan, set for 2019. The casting announcement has been received positively in both China and in the West.

Liu has been acting for more than a decade. Her breakout role came in 2003 and she has starred in Forbidden Kingdom with Jackie Chan and Jet Li. She has been nicknamed “Fairy Sister” for her elegant style and angelic appearance, on and off screen.

The casting directors went on a year-long search to find the leading actress, looking for someone who could meet three criteria: English-language ability, martial arts skills and, star quality.

To hear our complete discussion about these topics, check out the podcast below.

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