Top 10 Biggest Reasons Why Disney is in Decline

Disney is struggling. It's no secret that 2023 was a challenging year for the House of Mouse. Just one look at their box office numbers is a damning testament to just how difficult things have become for Disney. They released eight major movies in 2023, consisting of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Little Mermaid, Elemental, Indiana Jones: Dial of Destiny, Haunted Mansion, The Marvels, and Wish. Out of these movies, Guardians 3 was the only real win for Disney in 2023, which is a major issue.

Things are looking dark for Disney. I remember a time not that long ago when Disney ruled the film industry. They were unstoppable and had it all. During their golden age, it felt like they could do no wrong. They had acquired ESPN, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel, and FOX; an impressive lineup in itself. Yet, things have gone downhill, and not just downhill, but they have seemingly fallen off the face of the Earth from where they once were.

This isn't an easy problem to pinpoint either. There are multiple factors that ultimately contributed to Disney's downfall. This list will examine some of the biggest issues facing the Walt Disney Corporation at the moment.
The Top Ten
1 Forcing Political Correctness in Everything

One of the biggest problems with Disney is their involvement in politics. We've seen Disney get into battles with Ron DeSantis over the Don't Say Gay bill. Disney has become so left-leaning to the point of delusion, but they aren't just angering one side anymore. They've managed to anger just about everyone. Their PR has tanked so hard. Can anybody defend Disney anymore? They want to have their cake and eat it too. They may appear to be progressive and inclusive and all that, but they don't want to admit their business is contradicting the very message they are trying to convey. Bob Iger would rather fund his own personal estate than pay the employees a livable wage. Disney's whole obsession with being Politically Correct or "woke" has gone completely off the rails.

I don't mind the inclusivity and female empowerment and all that stuff. The problem comes from trying to shoehorn it into every damn project and sacrifice story and character to make it happen. The live-action Snow White movie is just the latest example of what I'm talking about. Even worse is Disney will double down on their political agenda, and anyone who disagrees is labeled misogynistic or racist! No, we just want good characters and stories without all the nonsense! Is that too much to ask?

2 Creating Live-Action Remakes of Everything

I feel like Disney is milking all they can out of the live-action remakes. I've honestly never been a big fan of them from the beginning. It was fine at first, but the novelty has quickly worn away. I could tell from the start it was just a lazy and cheap way to make money by banking on nostalgia when most of their remakes pale in comparison to the originals. They don't capture the magic quite like the animated versions did back in the day.

Granted, there have been a few hits here and there, but the misses far outnumber the hits. Most of these do next to nothing to revamp the original version, maybe a minor tweak here or there. For the most part, though, they don't do enough to justify their existence beyond just a cash grab. The Lion King is one of the worst offenders of this.

Unfortunately, this trend is one that will only continue. Disney will take any IP they can and turn it into a live-action cash cow. Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, 101 Dalmatians, Maleficent, Dumbo, The Lion King, Aladdin, Lady and the Tramp, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Christopher Robin, The Jungle Book, Cinderella, and Pete's Dragon all have at least one live-action adaptation. More are scheduled down the pipeline, including Moana, Lilo and Stitch, Snow White, Hercules, Robin Hood, and Bambi, all scheduled to be getting live-action adaptations in the near future.

The other issue is Disney being so "woke" now that they are essentially altering the narratives of the stories. I don't care about having a black actor play Ariel, but the internet was in a riot over it. I can only imagine the uproar over the Snow White movie. Part of the problem is these are all classic movies. Here's an idea: You want to do live-action remakes? Okay, that's fine, Disney, but maybe do the more obscure movies that could actually be improved on!

3 Being Too Safe and Boring with Their Storytelling

Disney used to excel at storytelling and world-building in their films. They were great because we got to understand and relate to the characters and the struggles they went through. Nowadays, Disney has derailed off course, and it's no wonder why their new IPs haven't landed the same. The plots have become so routine, safe, and boring. It's so formulaic and predictable that it defeats the purpose of caring. Like, there's never a doubt the protagonist will win. Granted, the hero characters always win historically, but at least in the old movies, there was this doubt and fear that they might not succeed. The protagonists had to actually persevere to win the battles they faced.

I can't even remember the last time Disney had a truly great and original villain character. Disney is instead focused on shoehorning female empowerment, instead of actually developing these modern female characters. These characters lack any flaws that make them "relatable" because Disney refuses to make a flawed female protagonist. Or really a flawed protagonist in general. The older movies had messages that spoke to audiences because Disney didn't try to force the message! Now, they try way too hard to force the central message into the plot, and it ends up ruining everything!

4 Over-Saturating the MCU

It's no secret that Marvel was once on top of the world during the Endgame/Infinity War era. However, since then, Disney has run into a problem, and it relates to Disney+. To have a successful streaming platform, you need to have a steady inflow of new content to keep people engaged. Otherwise, these people will leave the platform for other similar streaming platforms.

The problem with the MCU is that Disney has released so much MCU content that it's becoming tedious and borderline impossible to keep up with all the timelines. People have just gotten fatigued by all the content. Marvel movies used to be an event where people felt like they had to see it. Nowadays, it's just too much to keep up with.

On top of that, they killed off some of the most beloved characters in the franchise, and people have less trust in the franchise with mixed feelings about Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Eternals, Thor: Love and Thunder, The Marvels, and Secret Invasion.

5 Ruining the Star Wars Franchise

Remember a time when Star Wars generated excitement? Ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm, it's been a downhill slide for the once beloved franchise. It's actually impressive how Disney has driven this IP into the ground. I remember back when The Force Awakens came out, people were excited. Star Wars was back, and fan theories were everywhere! Disney was raking in the money and had basically made back the money it spent to acquire Star Wars initially.

Then came The Last Jedi, which was the catalyst behind this downfall, and The Rise of Skywalker was the icing on the cake. TLJ had its admirers and, granted, it did well at the box office, yet it derailed what was a promising trilogy because it didn't do anything new or different to innovate. People saw right through Disney's attempts at cash grabbing and playing on nostalgia.

Now, Star Wars is solely relying on The Mandalorian to keep it relevant. After 2 seasons, The Mandalorian has fallen off. You know things are dire when even bringing back Vader and Obi-Wan wasn't enough to resurrect the franchise. Don't even get me started on Ahsoka.

Now, Andor was actually decent enough, yet nobody saw it, which is a big problem because people have lost faith. Disney is directly to blame. The best thing to come from Star Wars in the last few years has to be the video games because they actually tell interesting stories with interesting characters.

6 Other Film Companies Being More Innovative

Remember when Disney and Pixar were frontrunners in innovation? A large part of what made Disney and Pixar so successful in their heyday comes from the animation and pushing the boundaries of what was possible. Nowadays, it feels like they have gone stagnant in their animation style. Disney and Pixar try way too hard to make everything super realistic. Soul, Lightyear, and The Good Dinosaur feel like borderline live-action movies. Don't get me wrong, I can respect the attention to detail in these movies, and the novelty looks cool at first, but after a while, it becomes stale.

Just look at what Sony accomplished in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. It's a breath of fresh air in animation and really goes above and beyond to push the boundaries of what's possible in animation. With its blend of 2D and 3D animation, it creates a unique and exciting aesthetic. It's no wonder people loved it. Spider-Verse was an animation masterclass. Even Puss in Boots: The Last Wish took on this new approach.

The TL;DR of this is simple: The animation industry is evolving, and other studios have caught on, leaving Disney and Pixar behind.

7 Making Sequels That Nobody Asked For

Disney and Pixar are both in the same boat here. They are obsessed with making sequels to their beloved franchises. The problem is that they don't usually live up to the standards of the original movies.

You can only go to the same well so many times before people start to realize that you're just milking the franchise dry, and they won't be as likely to support it. Currently, there are plans for Frozen 3, Toy Story 5, Zootopia 2, and Inside Out 2. The over-saturation of beloved franchises will turn the fans away. Case in point: Marvel and Star Wars. They know they're in a bad spot and they expect all these films to do well just because they have Toy Story or Frozen slapped on it.

The issue is that it comes at the cost of watering down some franchises such as Toy Story. Toy Story 4 goes out of its way to undo the ending to Toy Story 3, which perfectly wrapped up the trilogy. And did anyone ask for Lightyear? Didn't think so. I'm not saying some franchises don't deserve sequels. Inside Out deserves a second movie, but sequels have a lot to live up to. Cars 2, Finding Dory, and The Incredibles 2 weren't as successful as their originals. I'd rather not have one at all than a bad one.

Monsters University contradicts the original, which claimed Mike and Sulley were lifelong friends, granted Monsters University was a decent movie. Sequels should add to the original story, not contradict it, and not make side comedic relief characters the main character. Toy Story 2 and 3 got it right. All I'm saying is, you can't just pump out Frozen and Toy Story again just because you can!

8 Having Budgeting Problems

Budgeting is a significant aspect for any company. It's critical to understand how a business's budget works and how vital it can be to the success of the company. As an accounting major, I have learned about the importance of a good budget for any business, let alone a massive corporation like Disney. Let me tell you something and be as straightforward as possible. Disney's movie budgeting is terrible!

For example, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny had a budget of 300 million dollars. Guardians of the Galaxy and the Little Mermaid both come in at 250 million dollars each. Haunted Mansion was 150 million. Encanto and Strange World were both somewhere in the neighborhood of 135 million to 180 million each. Elemental, Turning Red, and Lightyear all clock in between 175 million and 200 million each. This does not include money spent on marketing and advertising campaigns, so those numbers are all higher. Granted, movies aren't cheap to produce.

Compare that to other popular movies that have recently been released in the past year from other studios. John Wick 4 and Oppenheimer both check in right at 100 million dollars each. Barbie falls right around the 150 million dollar mark. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem was just 70 million dollars to produce. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and the Mario Movie were each right at 100 million dollars.

Long story short, other studios are making movies that have all been home runs at the box office that are half to a third of the budget price of Disney. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it's easier to make a profit on a movie that costs 100 million dollars versus 200 million dollars. Disney can throw money around like it's not an object all they want because they can and think they're "Too Big To Fail," but the numbers aren't lying.

9 Increasing Prices at the Parks

This one isn't too surprising. With how bad inflation has become, it was only a matter of time until Disney raised the prices of their park passes. They do this consistently every year, but because inflation is so high, it's turning some people who would vacation at Disney World or Disneyland away. It's not cheap to vacation at Disney under normal circumstances. With inflation, people just don't see it as worth the money.

Disney opened Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel and closed it after about a year because the prices were just so insane. Nobody in their right mind would stay there. We're talking like $6k for two nights. Now, it's a little unfair to throw Disney under the bus on this considering traveling in general is expensive right now. But that still doesn't change the fact that Disney is increasingly expensive.

It'll cost you between $109-$189 for a one-day park pass per person over the age of 10, and even the cheapest hotels, the All-Star Resorts, are pushing $200 per night. That doesn't even include other add-on costs such as meals, souvenirs, Genie+, or parking/other transportation costs. You can find better rates for Universal Studios, especially when it comes to resorts.

10 Sending Movies Directly to Disney+

People are quick to point out Disney's lackluster performances at the box office as of late, but not many people are addressing the other catalyst for their problems at the moment, and it has to do with their streaming service. Back during the COVID era, it made sense to release movies directly on the streaming service, but now that things have returned to a normal state, people aren't as willing to go to the theaters anymore because of the rise of streaming services. This has posed a problem for Disney.

Part of the problem is they have set expectations of having big opening weekends in theaters, but what they're not realizing is it's far cheaper to watch the same movies from the comfort of their own home in a few weeks than watching it at the theaters. In 2023, the average ticket price was $10.53 in the US, so it would cost a family of four just short of $50 just to watch the movie. Add in the fact they love to upcharge for snacks and drinks, and you're looking at $75 just to go see Disney's Strange World, which was available on Disney+ just a month after hitting theaters.

Pixar got the worst of it with Soul, Turning Red, Luca, and Onward all having little, if any, theatrical runs because of the pandemic. People are associating Disney with Disney+ experiences instead of theater experiences now, and it's up to Disney to catch on to this. Literally, all they have to do is wait a little longer before releasing their new movies on Disney+.

The Contenders
11 Refusing to Listen to Criticism

If only they listened to criticism.

12 Funding Far-Right Political Campaigns

A lot of instances with these happened in 2020. It took only until last year for them to fire the chairman who donated around 10 million dollars towards Trump's re-election. However, there's still half a million that circulated in that year by staff who might not hesitate to do it again. Mickey Mouse sure is a two-faced liar.

13 Releasing Few Original Movies
14 Censoring Old Movies
15 Race-Swapping Characters
16 Failing to Make Good Stories
17 Donating $2 Million to Relief Funds for Israel
18 Neglecting Good Ideas
19 Gender-Swapping Characters
20 Thinking They're "Too Big to Fail"

No, you're so big that if you fail it will cause a whole catastrophe.

21 Including Misandry in Their Movies
22 Using Too Much 3D CGI
23 Having Sora Included in Smash
24 Not Updating Park Attractions

For example, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is still themed to Aerosmith, and they aren't relevant anymore. Plus, they didn't do anything involved with Disney. Plus, they're on a farewell tour. This means the attraction is overdue for a retheme to stay true to today's relevant and popular culture.

Another problem is the restraints used are still the old horse-collar restraints, which many people hate. If only they replaced them with the new vest restraints, which are just as safe but much more comfortable.

25 Making Bad Casting Choices
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