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Disney's dark centennial

The company is celebrating its 100th anniversary in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, both at the audiovisual and especially at the administrative levels.

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What seemed to be Disney's most magical year since it was born in 1923 has slowly turned into the company's darkest one. The Walt Disney Company has spent the last twelve months announcing its centennial while praising its achievements from the last 100 years.

However, 2023 will not go down in history as a magical year for the company but, instead, one of the worst, both financially and especially administratively. Its movies, amusement parks and external (and internal) struggles have been in the spotlight during this rough patch.

The situation goes back a long way. Walt Disney Corporation has been at war for a year with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and that began to affect its management and finances. The Republican replaced the Reedy Creek District oversight board with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board and that's when the administrative problems with Disney World Resort began.

They could no longer govern the place where their theme park was located. Ron DeSantis replaced them with other people that he appointed and entrusted them with the task of preparing a report detailing, as thoroughly as possible, the corporatist practices of the company during its 53 years of self-governance.

Disney's worst-grossing year since 2014

In the audiovisual field, things have not been much better. Just look at the box office data and you can see that this has been Disney's weakest year in terms of box office numbers since 2014. Not a single one of its films managed to rack up more than $1 billion at the box office. Not even the company's highest-grossing film this year, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" (and forth most successful of the year), which came close and finished its run in theaters with $845,555,777, according to data provided by Box Office Mojo.

On the other hand, the rest of the movies managed to bring in profits well below expectations. Neither "The Little Mermaid" nor "Wish," the movie that pays tribute to the company for its 100th anniversary, managed to exceed the company's expectations in revenue. What's more, both these and other movies recorded significant losses and caused Disney to plunge into a worse economic crisis than it has ever experienced.

However, "The Marvels" was the worst flop. The movie that was expected to save the company was an absolute failure and after less than a month in theaters, the company announced that it would no longer report its box office data. The movie ended its run in theaters at $197,208,974, according to Box Office Mojo.

It is also striking that the global losses, which Breitbart estimates at $745.5 million, affected the company the same year that the company released three Marvel movies, one Pixar movie, the long-awaited animated movie for its centennial and the new installment of the "Indiana Jones" archaeologist saga. All this should have been profitable for Walt Disney Studios but they were not.

Are woke policies what caused Disney's decline?

It seems that the company has found the cause of its low earnings. For the first time since it decided to implement progressive policies, it blamed woke measures for its low earnings. It did so during its annual report to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). This report was accessed by The Hill's Jonathan Turley.

In this document, the company acknowledged experiencing "risks relating to misalignment with public and consumer tastes and preferences for entertainment, travel and consumer products":

In an implied nod to Smith, the company observes that “the success of our businesses depends on our ability to consistently create compelling content,” and that “Generally, our revenues and profitability are adversely impacted when our entertainment offerings and products, as well as our methods to make our offerings and products available to consumers, do not achieve sufficient consumer acceptance. Further, consumers’ perceptions of our position on matters of public interest, including our efforts to achieve certain of our environmental and social goals, often differ widely and present risks to our reputation and brands.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, that could be one of the reasons why the company has decided to reduce spending on its audiovisual content to $25 million in 2024, two million less than in 2023. The company is trying to recover from the economic losses of the double Hollywood strike. At the same time, it's trying to change its vision and win back the people who have turned their backs on the company.