Avatar 2 Better Work For Bob Iger’s Sake

in Avatar, Disney, Movies

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) in Avatar: The Way of Water

Credit: 20th Century Studios

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) is the make-or-break moment in the justification for The Walt Disney Company’s $71 Billion blockbuster deal to acquire 21st Century Fox.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his son in Avatar: The Way of Water
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Avatar: The Way of Water is set to release in theaters later this month, and there’s little doubt that the sequel will attract a sizable audience. According to industry experts, it is expected to be 2022’s top-grossing film.

The real question is, will it be enough to justify the enormous price tag CEO Bob Iger spent to bring 21st Century Fox into the Disney family?

A lot is riding on the line here. As Bob Chapek steps away from Disney and Bob Iger returns, this will be one of the first actual tests in his short return to see if some of his late decisions the first time around were the right ones.

The deal was at first deemed a clear winner for Disney, says Geetha Ranganathan, an analyst with Bloomberg. During Disney’s entrance into streaming, Fox’s deep and diverse catalog, ranging from Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) to The Simpsons (1989) to National Geographic, proved a strong draw for subscribers and excited shareholders.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his son in Avatar: The Way of Water
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Wall Street, however, has now begun to focus less on streaming subscriptions and more on profitability. In its fiscal fourth quarter, the company posted a loss of $1.5 billion from the division that runs the Disney Plus streaming service, causing investors to start questioning the deal.

A strong showing at the box office would help push perceptions of the Fox acquisition back into the win column for Disney. It will also provide a measure of validation for the board’s decision to rehire Iger.

Anything less than a slam dunk will raise further questions about Disney’s strategic direction and the board’s decision to bring back Bob Iger.

Do you think the Fox acquisition was good for Disney?

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