Saturday, November 18, 2023

The One Book Every Disney Exec Needs to Read

Disney is in a rut.

The Marvel Character Universe seems to be stalling, with each successive superhero epic yielding less and less interest.  The Star Wars Universe seems to be doing no better.

It's getting to the point where Disney is as flat as they were in the 1970s and 1980s.  Sure, I went to see The Cat from Outer Space and Pete's Dragon in theaters, but they were embarrassing movies, movies for children who didn't know any better.  You love 'em when you're eight, but they're only lovable ironically if you're thirty eight.  No self-respecting adult would see 'em on their own.    

Then again, those films were cheap to produce.  They didn't have to succeed wildly, because they were burped out on a shoestring budget.  They didn't steer the zeitgeist, and they didn't pretend to be important.

But after the Disney Renaissance that began in 1989 with Little Mermaid, the studio has come to think of itself in a different way.  Important.  Something everyone cared about.

Which we did, for a while.  For nearly two decades, Disney and Pixar could do no wrong.  Their films were brilliant.  New.  Exciting.  

Now?  Not so much.

This is clearly baffling to the suits in the C-Suite at Disney.  They go back, and they do what worked.  Look!  Here's the same film again!  Here's the same thing we've been doing!  Hey!  

And it isn't working.

Fortunately, there's a book that contains the answer to all of their problems.  A book that specifically names the issue they're having.

If they read it, and understand it, they'll have an accurate diagnosis of their predicament, which is the first step for any organization in overcoming a conundrum.

The name of that book:

Bread and Jam for Frances.  

It's a little technical, I'll admit.  Filled with complex concepts, real leading edge.  It might be beyond the grasp of all but the most discerning executives.  

Perhaps they can hire McKinsey to explain it to them, although given McKinsey's track record, I'm reasonably sure they'd draw the wrong conclusions.   But within the pages of that volume lies the core problem with Disney today.

Because sure, we might like a thing.  Bread and jam.  Superhero movies.  It might even be our favorite thing.

But that doesn't mean that we want it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day, for the rest of our lives.