Disney has lately been falling short of meeting the expectations of its fans. According to Moana director John Musker, the key reason behind this is something Disney itself acknowledges. With movies like The Princess and The Frog, Beauty and The Beast, and Aladdin, Disney rose to prominence and attracted fans worldwide.

Moana and Maui
A still from Moana | Source: Walt Disney Studio

However, fans feel that Disney has strayed from what it did best and is now focused on different priorities. This shift has led to financial losses via many of its recent releases, such as The Marvels, The Flash, Indiana Jones, and The Dial of Destiny. Musker’s recent statements clearly highlight what’s stopping Disney from being on the top-grossing list anymore. 

Moana Director John Musker Has an Advice for Disney

John Musker
John Musker | Source: Canadian Animation Blog on YouTube

John Musker, the man behind movies like Moana and The Princess and The Frog, recently shared his thoughts about Disney in an interview with the Spanish news outlet El País, during the 2024 edition of the annual Animayo industry conference. 

When asked by Eneko Ruiz Jiménez whether he and his fellow production crew members were making a political statement by featuring a black princess in the Disney canon, Musker responded with a touch of realism.

He explained that the classic Disney movies were not created to convey social messages to the audience. Instead, they focused on characters and stories that won viewers’ hearts. Before concluding his remarks, Musker advised the media company to prioritize entertainment above all, letting everything else follow naturally. 

I think they need to do a course correction a bit in terms of putting the message secondary, behind entertainment and compelling story and engaging characters.

The past year saw the media conglomerate suffer huge losses with numerous movies. According to Deadline‘s estimates, the movies The Marvels, The Flash, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Wish, and Haunted Mansion lost $237 million, $155 million, $143 million, $131 million, and $117 million, respectively.

While every movie had its reason for the losses, there was a common thing that Musker pointed out. The characters are getting repetitive, which is making people lose interest. This, in addition to the uninteresting plotlines, has also resulted in a sharp decline in revenues.

According to Musker, Disney can put an end to the curse simply by focusing on the basics i.e. by doing what it did earlier. The purpose of movies is to provide entertainment above all and hopefully, the company will realize it soon. 

John Musker Isn’t the Only Disney-affiliated Individual to Suggest Changes 

Bob Iger
Bob Iger | Picture by nagi usano | Source: Wikimedia Commons

Just like how John Musker shared his thoughts about Disney’s current direction during the 2024 edition of the annual Animayo industry conference, last year, Bob Iger too had something to say about his company’s track record.

CEO of Disney, Bob Iger, shared his thoughts on being asked by The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin in 2023 about the criticism that Disney is facing against its “woke” output. Iger admitted that in his absence, it can be said that the creators lost sight of what they were originally meant to do.

I think what had happened over a period of time, and was building and building and maybe it reached a peak of some sort while I was gone, is that creators lost sight of what their number one objective needed to be.

Iger further confirmed that with his comeback, the company has been genuinely trying to return to its roots and entertain people as much as possible, just like they have done for the past 100 years. 

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