Sunday night the entertainment world was rocked when it was announced that not only was Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek out of a job, but that his predecessor, Bob Iger, would be returning to the position. Usually, when a major player like that leaves, you tend to see the person leaving being wished well in their future endeavors, but in this case, it’s almost been a party. People are largely thrilled that Iger is back and Chapek is gone, and that includes the head of AMC Theaters.
Adam Aron, CEO of the largest theater chain in the U.S., took to Twitter to literally shout from the mountain top regarding the level of respect that he had for Disney’s new old CEO. There wasn’t even a mention of the old CEO in the tweet, it was entirely focused on Iger and it’s clear the AMC boss is very happy to have Iger back at the head of the massive box office juggernaut that is Disney. Aron said…
It’s perhaps not that surprising that the head of a massive theater chain is happy to see Bob Iger back. It was under CEO Bob Chapek that we saw a shrinking of the theatrical window for Disney releases, as well as day-and-date releases on Disney+ as Premiere Access titles. While those were pandemic era decisions that most other studios also made, certainly Iger doesn’t have those decisions attached to him.
Bob Chapek also implemented a major reorganization of the media side of the company that was designed to put more emphasis on streaming, and it’s already clear that Bob Iger plans to change that, as he was reportedly not happy with much of what Chapek did as CEO. Kareem Daniel, the head of Disney’s Media and Entertainment Division, the new vertical created by Chapek, has already been let go and it’s clear Iger plans to revert things back to the previous structure or something closer to it. Aron’s tweet came before any of that happened, but he’s likely even happier now.
As Aron said, Disney is a box office champ, and while certainly things still have not returned to pre-pandemic norms, Disney hasn’t led the global box office in the same way under Chapek as it did under Iger. A successful Disney theatrical environment is good news for all movie theaters.
We’ve likely only seen the beginning of what’s about to change at the Walt Disney Company under its new leadership, but a lot of people, both simple fans, and major industry partners, have a very positive outlook on where things may go from here.