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Disney CEO Bob Iger says “The Marvels ”flopped at box office because of lack of 'supervision' on set

The studio chief also admits that Disney has made "too many" sequels.

Disney CEO Robert Iger has addressed The Marvels flopping at the box office, pointing a finger at pandemic-related production restrictions.

"The Marvels was shot during COVID," Iger said during a panel at The New York Times’ recent DealBook Summit, reports CNBC. "There wasn’t as much supervision on the set, so to speak, where we have executives [that are] really looking over what’s being done day after day after day."

Directed by Nia DaCosta, the first Black woman to helm an MCU film, the female-led superhero flick features Brie Larson's Captain Marvel teaming up with Iman Vellani's Kamala Khan — a.k.a. Ms. Marvel — and Teyonah Parris' Monica Rambeau to fight evildoers. Though reviews of the movie were fairly solid, fans did not rush to the latest Marvel release with the same fervor as they have in the past.

When it opened in theaters earlier this month, the 33rd installment in the MCU premiered with a franchise low of $47 million domestically. The film currently sits at $77 million ($187 million worldwide), putting it on track to become the first MCU title not to cross the $100 million mark domestically.

Reflecting on the movie's lackluster box office performance, Iger added that after so many years spent watching Marvel movies exceed expectations, the studio might have to be more “realistic” about each film’s potential.

<p>Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty; Laura Radford/Marvel</p> Disney chief Bob Iger; 'The Marvels' star Brie Larson

Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty; Laura Radford/Marvel

Disney chief Bob Iger; 'The Marvels' star Brie Larson

“I’m not sure another studio will ever achieve some of the numbers that we achieved,” Iger said at the press conference. “I mean, we got to the point where if a film didn’t do a billion dollars in global box office, we were disappointed. That’s an unbelievably high standard, and I think we have to get more realistic.”

The Marvels star Vellani recently commented on its box office turnout, telling Yahoo Entertainment, “I don’t want to focus on something that’s not even in my control, because what’s the point? That’s for Bob Iger.”

She added, “I’m happy with the finished product, and the people that I care about enjoyed the film. It’s genuinely a good time watching this movie, and that’s all we can ask for with these films."

This year will mark the first non-pandemic year since 2014 that Disney has not launched a billion-dollar movie, Variety reports, after disappointing openings for films including Wish, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

On the subject of Disney’s overall output, Iger cited the rise of streaming for the company’s theatrical struggles. “Disney+ you can get for $7 a month,” he said. “That’s a lot cheaper than taking your whole family to a film. So I think the bar is now raised in terms of quality about what gets people out of their homes into movie theaters.”

Another cause for concern? The deluge of franchise films. “I don’t want to apologize for making sequels,” Iger said. “Some of them have done extraordinarily well and they’ve been good films, too." However, he added, "I think there has to be a reason to make them. You have to have a good story. And often the story doesn’t hold up to — is not as strong as the original story. That can be a problem.”

Laura Radford/Marvel Studios Iman Vellani, Brie Larson, and Teyonah Parris in 'The Marvels'
Laura Radford/Marvel Studios Iman Vellani, Brie Larson, and Teyonah Parris in 'The Marvels'

Iger admitted that Disney has made "too many” sequels in recent years, but he was quick to clarify that "it doesn’t mean we’re not going to continue to make them."

Said the Disney chief, "We’re making a number of them now right, as a matter of fact. But we will only greenlight a sequel if we believe the story that the creators want to tell is worth telling.”

Disney’s 2024 slate has plenty of sequels. In the next year, the studio is expected to release Deadpool 3, another multiversal MCU project; Inside Out 2, a follow-up to the 2015 hit; and Mufasa: The Lion King, a photorealistic animated prequel to 2019’s The Lion King, itself a remake of a classic Disney film.

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