‘Avatar’ Box Office Fuels Disney’s Biggest Drop in Nearly 50 Years

    Disney employee Nicholas Maldonado holds a sign during a protest outside Walt Disney World on March 22, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. |

    In 2022, “woke” didn’t work for some of Hollywood’s biggest studios.

    The Walt Disney Company, Netflix, Comcast and other media giants lost more than half a trillion dollars in market value last year, according to a Financial Times report.

    In fact, the market value of the Dow Jones Media Titans Index (DJMT), a barometer of the financial health of 30 of the world’s largest media companies, plunged from $1.35 trillion to $808 billion, a drop of around 40%.

    In what one analyst called a “perfect storm of bad news”, Disney shares fell about 45% – its biggest drop in nearly 50 years – after the studio’s Avatar sequel dropped. underperformed at the box office.

    Paramount and Netflix also lost 42% and 52% of their market values ​​respectively. CNN’s parent company and new Warner Brothers Discovery saw their value plunge 63%, according to the report.

    TV brands weren’t immune to the downturn either: AMC Networks ad revenue fell 10% last quarter, as did Paramount, which saw ad revenue from CBS and its other networks fall by about 3%.

    Cable companies Charter Communications (53%) and Comcast (31%) were also hit hard by the decline in share price, according to the DJMT index.

    “I’ve covered this industry for a long time and I’ve never seen such poor data point collection before,” Michael Nathanson, media analyst at SVB MoffettNathanson, told the FT.

    Disney’s dismal performance comes as the once-invincible media giant is set to drop $100 million on Strange World, a sci-fi comedy with an LGBT subplot that fell short of box office expectations over the holidays of Thanksgiving.

    With the story of a family of explorers on a mission to save the planet from a mysterious ecological crisis, strange worldearned less than $19 million against its $180 million budget, Variety reported.

    Earlier last year, Disney announced that its Disney+ “family” streaming platform would feature six TV-MA rated Marvel TV series, meaning they would include content for mature audiences.

    In late November, recently returned Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke at a town hall with Disney employees where he was asked about Disney’s advocacy against Florida HB 1557 under former chairman Bob Chapek.

    Iger replied, “I was sorry to see us dragged into this battle.”

    During his interview with employees, Iger promised to work to “smooth things up” after the turmoil between the company and the state of Florida. He said the fact that the company was “engulfed in controversy” was “distracting”, adding that “it can have a negative impact”.

    In recent years, Disney has incorporated more LGBT characters and “woke” stories into its programming.

    “This company has been telling stories for 100 years, and those stories have had a significant and positive impact on the world, and one of the reasons they have had a significant and positive impact is that one of the core values ​​of our storytelling is inclusion and acceptance and tolerance, and we can’t lose that,” Iger said.

    He added that he doesn’t think “telling stories and trying to be a good global citizen” is political.

    Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be contacted at: ian.giatti@christianpost.com.

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