Is Bob Iger WRONG About “Woke Agendas” in Movies?

It hasn’t been a great year for Disney movies at the box office.

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CEO Bob Iger shared his thoughts on what he thought went wrong with The Marvels, and even shared some recent criticisms about “woke agendas” and messaging in movies. But, is Bob Iger wrong about what people want to see at the box office? 

After initial box office struggles (looking at you, Elemental), and even further disappointments at the theater, 2023 might not be a triumphant year for Disney at the box office. Analysts have shared their thoughts on what might have caused such an abysmal drop, but it’s Disney CEO Bob Iger’s own comments that have been proven wrong.


During The New York Times DealBook Summit, Iger spoke about the direction of future Disney films. He shared that Disney creators have lost sight of what their jobs should be. Iger states that the purpose of their role is first to entertain, rather than to get a message across.

He added that storylines and films filled with “positive messages for the world” are a bonus, but shouldn’t be the main focus of a film.


According to Iger, the problem worsened when Chapek took over as CEO until 2022. It was during this time that films like Turning Red and Luca debuted, which caused controversy as the films seemed to subliminally take political stances.

Iger seeks to bring Disney back to being more apolitical in the future — but is that a good idea? Maybe not.


Other studios have found success at the box office in 2023 despite still including messaging — whether it be political, social, or otherwise. Per ScreenRant, messaging isn’t crucial to a movie’s success but it doesn’t necessarily mean people will be purposely skipping it, either.


Using emotion and real experiences can make films feel more personal and relatable — something that the biggest box office hits of 2023 both had in common.

Barbie and Oppenheimer were incredibly successful, and neither film shied away from putting forth some sort of message. Barbie was the highest-grossing movie of 2023, raking in over $1.4 billion during its run.


Oppenheimer became the second highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time after its stint in theaters, not to mention all the Oscar buzz surrounding the film. Real-life politics are not skipped over in Oppenheimer, and Barbie offers social commentary and provides positive messaging for women.

So, what gives? If two of the most popular movies of 2023 were rife with commentary, why would Disney movies be any different?


While we can’t be certain, Iger might think messaging is behind Disney’s box office failures simply because the company has received a lot of negative press over the past year. He’s also recently commented that he thinks Disney makes too many sequels, but not before announcing a potential fourth Frozen movie.


We’ll ultimately have to wait and see what the future of Disney movies looks like, but you can guarantee we’ll be here for it all!

Stay tuned to AllEars for the latest Disney movie news and more.

Bob Iger Comments on What Went WRONG with ‘The Marvels’

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4 Replies to “Is Bob Iger WRONG About “Woke Agendas” in Movies?”

  1. The cold, hard reality is that including social politics is almost never helpful for the success of a popular media product. In some cases if the public imagination is overwhelmingly supportive such as Hotel Rwanda the ‘message’ is the subject of the film. Otherwise social politics is, at best, tolerated by the paying customer and possibly doesn’t detract from the story or push away too many customers.

    Disney and many in Hollywood have failed to understand this. They seem to feel (incorrectly) that putting ‘messaging’ ahead of good stories and then insulting and accusing the disinterested patrons when the product fails is somehow a profitable strategy.

    Less, or zero social politics appears to be the best way.

  2. I think he is absolutely correct. How about we just have a movie that is fun and light-hearted? Kids deserve a chance to just enjoy the simple things in life. They have their whole lives to deal with adult issues.