Hit movies aren’t hits because only one specific audience goes to see them. They’re hits because all audiences go to see them. So to say any one genre is only for a certain demographic is already shockingly reductive. To say that when the history and existence of your company unequivocally proves it wrong, is something far, far dumber.
In a new clip that’s going around from the Wall Street Journal, Disney CEO Bob Chapek—yes, the top executive in charge of Disney—says the following:
“I always say that when our fans and our audiences put their kids to bed at night after watching Pinocchio or Dumbo or Little Mermaid, they’re probably not going to tune into another animated movie. They want something for them.”
Do you always say that, Bob? Is that true, Bob?
Truly, have you ever seen two dumber sentences from the head of a company? It would be like Tim Cook saying “You know, I think our fans really love Android,” or Elon Musk investing in gas.
There are so many things to break down here, the first one being that, admittedly, the sentiment isn’t universally inaccurate. If your child makes you watch Encanto or Frozen 200 times on repeat, sure, you might want to put on something else to cleanse the palate: a tear-jerking drama, agross-out comedy, hardcore pornography, anything. And Disney, as a company, does offer some of those options (not under the traditional “Disney” brand—that stuff is PG-13 at best, although that’s still very much aimed at kids—but with some of its many other subcategories such as Fox, Hulu, National Geographic, etc). It’s the suggestion that adults don’t want to watch animated movies that’s just plain stupid though.
Has this man seen Wall-E? Beauty and the Beast? Toy Story 3? Up? The Lion King? Basically every single great, hit Disney movie that works both on a very simple level for kids but has themes and situations that speak to adults, too? All of which became hits because audiences of all ages went to see them? Does he think Disney is worth billions because only kids see and love animated films and everything they stand for?
Beyond that, does he think adults stop loving the films they grew up with? Some of the movies he mentions are over 50 years old. Do people who saw them as children and are now senior citizens stop loving them? Has he heard of nostalgia? And what about a huge, huge community of adults who are unabashed Disney fans? The ones who spent thousands and thousands of dollars on Disney merchandise and theme park rides based on these movies? If those people didn’t like animated films, would Bob here be making tens of millions of dollars a year? We think not.
We could go on and on. What are your thoughts on Chapek’s statement? Tell us below.
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