"There's nothing in any way inherently off in terms of the Marvel brand," Iger said during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference on Thursday. "I think we just have to look at what characters and stores we're mining, and you look at the trajectory of Marvel over the next five years, you'll see a lot of newness. We're going to turn back to the Avengers franchise, but with a whole different set of Avengers."
Iger's comments come after a disappointing box office performance for Marvel's latest installment "Ant-Man and the Wasp in Quantumania." Tickets sales for the third "Ant-Man" movie were down 69% from its $105 million debut in its second weekend, according to Variety, making it the biggest second-weekend drop in the franchise's history. Moreover, the movie has grossed only $424 million worldwide in the nearly four weeks it has been in theaters.
"Sequels typically worked well for us," Iger said. "Do you need a third and a fourth for instance? Or is it time to turn to other characters?"
Iger is currently conducting a broad restructuring of the media company, seeking to cut costs by $5.5 billion, which includes an annualized reduction of $3 billion for non-sports content costs.
That cost reduction plan extends to all films and TV shows outside of Marvel too, with Iger looking to "reduce the content that we're creating for our own platforms," adding that there may be opportunities for the company to license content to third parties. However, its core branded content, like Star Wars, Marvel and other exclusive Disney characters will remain on its platforms.
"Streaming platforms require so much volume, one has to question whether that's the right direction to go, or if you can be more curated ... about what you're making, and to concentrate on quality and not volume," Iger said.
Moreover, Iger said he believes the company was "spending too much marketing platforms" and not enough on "marking the programming that was on the platforms," which may have negatively impacted the company's potential subscriber growth.
Still, Iger noted that he is "bullish" towards streaming, particularly the company's profitable Disney+ offering. However, the company is continuing to weigh whether it should seek to buy out Comcast's
While Iger believes Hulu is "a solid platform" with strong original content and is an attriave platform for advertisers, "the environment is very, very tricky right now and before we make any big decision about our level of investment, our commitment to that business, we want to understand where it could go," he said.
Iger, who previously served as CEO of Disney from 2005 to 2020, returned to the company as interim CEO after the departure of Bob Chapek last November. He plans on leaving the company in two years.
"Now it's about getting our content pipeline right, making sure that we're making the right decisions and making sure that we're making the right number of decisions in terms of how much we're making," Iger said. "And then it's I think really being mindful of a world that is not getting any less complicated, and in fact that technology only is going to disrupt more, and making sure that we're positioning those great brands and this great content-generation business in the right way to deliver the kind of value that shareholders need long term."