Former Disney CEO Warns His Successor Over Choosing New Projects

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Image via Marvel Studios

Bob Chapek has only been CEO of The Walt Disney Company for little over a year and a half, but he’s already come under heavy criticism for the Black Widow lawsuit and the distant relationships he has with the studio’s top talents. Many insiders, analysts and former collaborators were adamant that an A-list star suing the company for breach of contract would never have happened on predecessor Bob Iger’s watch.

Under Iger, Disney experienced massive and unprecedented growth, with the executive overseeing the acquisitions of Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and Fox, while he played a huge part in establishing the live-action remakes of animated classics as a multi-billion dollar revenue stream, and laid the foundations for a streaming service that would blow past 100 million subscribers in record time.

One of the major concerns surrounding the Chapek era is his background in consumer products and theme parks, making him much more of a businessman than a creative, whereas Iger came from the world of broadcasting and entertainment. As revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, the former boss urged his successor to look beyond market research and data when it comes to choosing which projects are worthy of getting a green light.

“In a world and business that is awash with data, it is tempting to use data to answer all of our questions, including creative questions. I urge all of you not to do that.”

Iger specifically named Pixar‘s Coco and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Panther and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as Disney-branded blockbusters that would have never existed had data been prioritized over creativity, and looking at the track record of critical and commercial acclaim that defined his era, the man knows what he’s talking about.