Disney suffered its worst year since 1974 in 2022 as tens of billions of dollars were wiped from the “woke” company’s market value.
The losses resulted in a staggering $123 billion being wiped from Disney’s market value in 2022 alone.
Share prices for Disney ended 2022 at $86.88, the culmination of a downward trend spanning the last week, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Disney’s controversial “woke” political agenda, a shocking and sudden CEO change, costly streaming strategies, and a slow start for “Avatar: The Way of Water” all contributed to a dramatic decline in the stock, leading to the company’s worst year in almost 50 years.
While it was a troubling year for many media companies still reeling from the pandemic and a slowing streaming market, it was especially tough for Disney after the company dug its own grave by persuing a radical political agenda.
The company had to navigate a PR crisis earlier this year owing to its controversial response to Florida’s parental rights bill.
Disney also replaced CEO Bob Chapek with his predecessor, Bob Iger.
On top of that, the recently released blockbuster “Avatar: The Way of Water” failed to meet expectations.
While there can be little doubt that The Way of Water is making a big splash at the box office, most of its gains will count into 2023’s numbers.
The sequel opened in the US to $135 million, which fell significantly under analyst expectations, which estimated opening numbers between $150 and 175 million.
It had even more trouble finding an audience in China, where the Chinese Communist Party’s Covid lockdowns and other restrictions have severely impacted film attendance.
While the film opened in China at $56 million, it has thus far only grossed $104 million and is projected to earn just $143 million over the entirety of its theatrical run.
But the biggest challenge for Disney in 2022 was the change in management when former CEO Bob Iger came back to replace “woke” Chapek.
This came after several months of what was reported to be internal disputes, with many executives hoping for leftist Chapek to fail or resign.
Iger’s return to the company appeared to restore faith, as Disney’s stock price rocketed shortly after his return was announced.
Prices soared to $97.58 per share from $86.28 in the week following the news.
While no major changes have yet been announced, Iger has dismissed certain rumors that have arisen, including rumors that he intends to end his two years as CEO by selling Disney to Apple.
He has assured shareholders that there are currently no major acquisitions being planned.
However, banking giant Wells Fargo has made a 2023 prediction that Disney will end its ownership of TV networks ABC and ESPN.
Bank analysts are predicting that some of the “big changes” Iger promised to initiate will include shedding the TV network and the cable sports network, both of which have been losing viewers, Fox Business Network reported.
“Spinning off the two networks is the best path forward and a probable late 2023 event, leaving the Walt Disney Company an attractive pure play intellectual property company,” FBN wrote.