“Failing CEO” Bob Iger Under Fire for Comments on Latest Disney Project

in Disney, Entertainment

Bob Iger with Disney logo

Credit: Inside the Magic

The Walt Disney Company is becoming slightly notorious for making up-in-the-air announcements that are expected to take several years to come to fruition. The same is happening with their latest Epic Games partnership announcement, and it’s just another black mark fans have against the entertainment company.

The most recent examples of this issue can be seen with Disney’s lack of response when it comes to Universal Orlando’s Epic Universe reveal. The recent expansion projects involving the Disney parks have primarily been described as “possibilities” that are several years out. Their recent park reveals also took much longer than originally expected, with the EPCOT Overhaul project lasting five years instead of the initially promised two and TRON Lightcycle / Run earning criticism for taking over seven years to be built. Despite the company promising $60 billion in park investments for expansions and additions, the investments will take place over the next 10 years, and no official plan for the money was revealed.

TRON Lightcycle Power Run at night at Shanghai Disneyland, where a guest claims taking photos without his permission violates his privacy
Credit: Disney

Now, Disney is planning another partnership that will expand its entertainment reach. Just ahead of the Q1 Earnings Call earlier this month, it was revealed that Disney would be partnering with Epic Games, the video game studio most known for the Fortnite series, as well as Gears of War, Fall Guys, and Rocket League. The collaboration between Disney and Epic Games is expected to bring an all-new entertainment universe inspired by beloved Disney stories. In a release from the Walt Disney Company, it was also revealed that fans can expect:

“In addition to being a world-class games experience and interoperating with Fortnite, the new persistent universe will offer a multitude of opportunities for consumers to play, watch, shop and engage with content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more. Players, gamers and fans will be able to create their own stories and experiences, express their fandom in a distinctly Disney way, and share content with each other in ways that they love. This will all be powered by Unreal Engine.”

Disney announces new collaboration with Epic Games and Fortnite.
Credit: ITM

Speaking with CNBC earlier this month, Disney CEO Bob Iger shared his excitement for the project along with the new possibilities the partnership will bring, including all-new digital and physical goods that fans can purchase, similar to the craze that Fortnite has brought. However, there’s one glaring thing of note when it comes to this “epic” crossover.

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When asked for a timeline on the project, Iger responded by saying, “I can’t give you a specific launch date. I’m not even going to speculate right now. It’s not going to be immediate. It takes a while to build this. It’s not years, you know, maybe a couple of years, but we will see.”

This statement echoes those of other anticipated Disney projects, with a combination of nothing specific while still being “a couple years” out. The response has made its way to X (formerly Twitter), where Disney fans are sharing their disappointment with yet another “no comment” response.

Disney castle logo with Bob Iger in the foreground
Foreground Image Credit: Glennia, Flickr

“Major “How do you do, fellow kids?” vibes. This should have been started 5-10 years ago if he was paying attention,” shared @Mickey_Central.  “Does Disney have any other vocabulary other than “Blue sky,” “We’ll see,” and “We don’t know?”” demanded @plebcy.

Others blamed Iger himself, who’s already been in the hot seat since taking the company back over at the end of 2021. Recently, Iger has been facing down questions about his ability to control the company. Billionaire activist Nelson Peltz and his Trian Fund Management are some of the biggest Disney stockholders, and recently went head-to-head against the Disney board and Bob Iger in a power grab attempt for control of the company.

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“Translation “we were desperate to announce something because this Peltz guy is on our ass, so we needed to manipulate the stock price a little to cover up my failure as CEO”,” said @McDermottsClap. @PhotonEmpress shared a similar sentiment, asking, “That hurts my brain. How can it both be not years *and* a couple of years. And how can the CEO of a company not have a solid grasp on project timelines? Am I missing something or not understanding something here?”

Disney CEO Bob Iger looking worried in front of the Walt Disney Company building.
Credit: Inside The Magic

“It’s sort of funny how Disney announces this and yet still can’t provide a time frame, and universal drops a version of theme parks in Minecraft with no prior announcement outside of a tease the day before,” @AParkMind replied, addressing the recent partnership between the Universal Parks and popular video game series MinecraftOthers questioned whether this partnership will ever come to actual fruition, or if it was just smoke and mirrors. “Disney needs to stop announcing products if they aren’t planning to launch within 12 months. Otherwise, it’s all vaporware designed to manipulate stock price,” stated @franky_1991_.

A common complaint about the Walt Disney Company is that they always seem to be several steps behind the rapidly-changing trends and interests among fans in the theme park and entertainment industry. Despite knowing that Epic Universe was coming since at least 2019 when it was announced to the public, Disney has made no effort to announce a rebuttal. Universal Destinations & Experiences also confirmed national and international expansions with a park underway in Frisco, Texas, a year-round Halloween Horror Nights experience coming to Las Vegas, and a park being seriously considered in the UK.

Universal Orlando Resort Celestial Park concept artwork.
Credit: Universal’s Celestial Park

It remains to be seen if this partnership between the Walt Disney Company and Epic Games will ever actually release anything, or if the proposed “entertainment universe” comes to fruition, but for now, the general consensus seems to say “no.” Even if it does, it’ll likely be at least several years before fans hear any further updates on the projects.

Do you think the Disney X Epic Games partnership will actually release anything soon? Or do you think Disney is slowing down in its efforts to stay number one? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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