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Disney Has “Killed A Few Projects” Amid Studio Overhaul, Says Bob Iger; “We’ve Not Been That Public About It”

Disney CEO Bob Iger said the studio has “killed a few projects already that we just didn’t feel were strong enough,” as the company tries to reverse a box office slump.

“We’re doing a lot. When we talk about improving our film, slate, there are really three approaches. One is you have to kill things you no longer believe. And that’s not easy in this business. Because either you’ve gotten started, you have some … costs. It’s a relationship with either your employees or with a creative community. And it’s not an easy thing. But you got to make those tough calls.”

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He said, “We’ve actually made those tough calls. We’ve not been that public about it.” He didn’t name names today either.

“You have to look at everything you’re making, that you do believe in. And you have to take a position that good is not good enough. You have to basically strive for perfection,” he said during an investor conference Q&A.

Disney’s had some misfires at the box office including areas where’s its dominated for years like animation and superhero fare, which activist investors are using as one cudgel as they push to get their outside candidates onto the the Disney board.

“A lot of people think it’s audience [superhero] fatigue. It’s not audience fatigue. They want great films. And if you build it great, they will come,” he said. He noted that has made nearly $30 billion from 33 films. “We got to return to something akin to that. And I actually am confident that we will.”

“As a studio, that was number one at the box office for seven out of eight years, that was not an accident. That’s a combination of both, obviously, the IP that we have, but also the execution — both the management execution, the execution from the creative side.”

He said the fix “basically means spending a lot of time with the creators, watching these films, giving detailed notes … engaging in a respectful process that results in improvement. And actually, when I talked about being relentless, it’s not letting certain things get in the way of making something great. Whether it’s more resources … or more time.”

And, “You have to put into the pipeline things you really do believe in. And we know we’re working on that as well.”

In a shakeup late last month, Disney’s Sean Bailey departed as president of Motion Picture Studios after 15 years and Searchlight co-president David Greenbaum entered in av newly created role, president of Disney Live action and president of 20th Century Studios.

“Most importantly, in all of this discussion,” he said, is “focus.”

“Disney is incredibly linked to the quality and the success of our films.”

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