Disney’s dive past mediocrity and straight into a toxic pool of political obedience caused it to go from an untouchable and highly celebrated company to one that elicits revulsion in those who hear its name. However, I would argue that the problem started even before Disney fully committed itself to the cause of radical leftism.
At some point, Disney execs got it in their heads that they don’t really have to cook up new and original stories anymore, or even innovate for that matter. All they have to do is take beloved movies and characters from animated movies you adored as a child and repackage them as life-action adaptations.
And then Bippity Boppity Boo, you get nostalgic Gen-X and Millennials dragging their families to see these remakes, reigniting a surge of box office money, merchandise purchases, and goodwill for a company serving your childhood back up to you.
Only these remakes were somewhere between mediocre and terrible. They lacked the magic and charm of the past, and as the political infection in Disney grew, the quality of these movies declined further. Now you can’t get people to show up for a live-action Disney remake. Worse, many people don’t even know some of these remakes are even in the works.
Did you know they did a live-action Peter Pan? Not a lot of people did. Not that it matters. They didn’t miss anything.
But it looks like the man responsible for these live-action atrocities is leaving his position.
According to the LA Times, Sean Bailey, the executive who oversaw the live-action movies Disney produced is now stepping down after 14 years. Why? Because his movies haven’t been doing well and I’d add they’ve severely tarnished the company’s reputation:
The high-level change at the top of Disney’s live-action film unit has been rumored, particularly after the rocky performance of some recent films.
During his tenure, Bailey oversaw a string of blockbuster live-action remakes, including “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Lion King,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Most of those films topped $1 billion worldwide in box office receipts, while last year’s “The Little Mermaid,” raked in $560 million (it struggled in overseas markets).
But despite high-profile successes, Bailey’s division was behind last year’s box office flop, “Haunted Mansion,” inspired by the vaunted Disneyland theme park ride.
The LA Times is being far too kind here. While it’d be wrong to say that some of these films didn’t bring in decent box office results, many of them didn’t have great reviews and were coasting off of Disney’s previously established good name. It’d be more accurate to say that Disney has taught audiences to ignore the company’s releases and the live-action remakes, most of which are huge disappointments cinematically.
Bailey was in talks to move to Netflix to be its film chief, but interestingly, Bailey decided not to take the job. He’s now, instead, working on “Tron: Ares” as a producer for Disney. It’s currently unclear as to why as neither Netflix or Bailey are saying anything about it.
The LA Times reported that Bailey’s replacement has already been announced. David Greenbaum, previously president of Searchlight Pictures will take over. You’ll know him from such movies you’ve probably not seen or even liked such as “The Shape of Water” and “Nomadland,” though he was involved in the making of “The Menu,” which was actually pretty decent.
Despite the change up, I wouldn’t expect the quality of Disney’s live-action movies to improve. The company is still under the control of Bob Iger who is currently in a power struggle with Nelson Peltz of Trian management, a company trying to move its way onto Disney’s board in order to turn the company around.
Unless Peltz manages to exert some control over Disney, I doubt you’ll see too much in the way of upward momentum for the Tragic Kingdom.