The Pillars of Chapek

The Pillars of Chapek

I didn’t want to write about it but there are too many people treating this like it’s actual news, rather than a distraction from the fact that Coke got jacked up to $5 a bottle at Disney World today.

Bob Chapek sent out a companywide memo today outlining his grand strategic vision that will be based on three pillars.

I was expecting something like this when Spiderman crossed the $1 billion mark. Disney has had an absolutely brutal year in the theaters.  However, Chapek could go to the investors and say, yes, we had it rough but so did everyone else too.  No one can succeed in this current environment.

Except someone just did.

While I hate being fair to Chapek, there really wasn’t anything he could do about this year’s film slate.  It was Bob Iger who fired John Lasseter and let Kevin Feige run wild and free to the outlands of Super Woke.  

But Chapek is now the guy who has to say something to the institutional stockholders, so he sent out this memo and made sure it hit the trade media. 

Like I said I knew it was coming for a while and so did a lot of other people. The funniest guess I heard about the contents of this memo was:

Dear Bob,

I’m glad you’re gone.

Love

Bob

But he actually had more to say than that.

Sort of.

Anyway, Bob Chapek released this grand strategic vision for Disney.  Most of it was corporate buzzword bingo word salad. But there were his Three Pillars upon which all of Disney will be built during his tenure as CEO. Let’s unpack it.

First, storytelling excellence. What makes Disney so unique is that the stories we tell mean something to people. They inspire, give hope, bring us together, illuminate the world around us, and create memories. That is Disney magic, and we must continue to set the creative bar higher and higher. To that end—and in addition to all my other creative meetings—I am establishing a new standing monthly meeting with our senior creative leaders to discuss the opportunities we face as a storytelling enterprise. This will encourage collaboration, sharing of best practices, and stimulate cross-studio ideation.

Translation: He is forcing the studio heads to sit down at a conference table once a month with him at its head and then report to him about what they are doing.  Part of this is a monthly surrender ritual. Once a month they are forcibly reminded of their subordinate position to the CEO.  It’s holding court on a regular basis for people that were used to not having to do so with Iger. All the big wigs must attend the monthly Grande Levee now because Big Bald Bob says so.  

And once you have a court, you have court intrigue, with the crown showing favoritism to some courtiers at the expense of others.  This means the courtiers will start plotting with each other against each other.  And thus weaken each other as a whole.

In theory, this also means something creative might happen but frankly it never does at this kind of a meeting.

The “cross-studio ideation” thing means he found out how much money Demon Slayer made for Shueisha and he would like to report a $9 billion gross for a single property to the stockholders someday.  It won’t work like that for Disney.  Most of what makes a Japanese success story like Demon Slayer possible is a combination of culture and standing infrastructure that are substantially different from anything in America.  Copying their playbook won’t work, but some expert told him it will.

Second, innovation. Since Steamboat Willie, we have been the world’s foremost innovative storytellers. That must continue as technology evolves, giving our creative teams new canvases like the metaverse on which to paint. We should be especially innovative as we seek to bring stories to life in new ways—particularly if they enhance what many call our “franchise ecosystem,” which is one of the things that sets us apart.

The Metaverse?!?! Oh, no!

Here the Boomer is clearly and obviously out of his depth.  Zuckerberg has decided that Bill Gate’s prediction about the Segway being bigger than the PC needed to topped.  If you aren’t familiar with Metaverse, here it is in a nutshell.  The Facebook founder saw Ready, Player One and got super excited about it.  Just substitute “Cyberspace” for “Metaverse” and you pretty much have most of what he wants to do.  The problem is simple enough the tech isn’t there and even if it was, Mark Zuckerberg is the last guy to do anything useful with it.  He got lucky once and thinks that makes him a terrifyingly vast intellect of unearthly proportions. 

He’s going to fail but the Metaverse is now the flavor of the month with Boomer CEOs that want to catch a ride on the next big thing.

Now, “Franchise Ecosystem” means using Deepfake to keep characters on the screen long past the point where the actor is too old to play them, or just isn’t alive anymore.  Honestly, I saw this coming because the big dream of all producers is to get rid of actors and just use copyrighted avatars.  It probably will happen eventually but not in the next three years.

And third, relentless focus on our audience. We are a big company with many constituents and stakeholders, all of whom have a place in our decision-making. But at the end of the day, our most important guide—our North Star—is the consumer. Right now, their behavior tells us and our industry that the way they want to experience entertainment is changing—and changing fast thanks to technology and the pandemic. We must evolve with our audience, not work against them. And so we will put them at the center of every decision we make.

At first, the third pillar looked to be just standard, “the customer is number one” boilerplate, except for that second to the last sentence. “We must evolve with our audience, not work against them.  

That is a major dig.  While I don’t like Chapek, I had to laugh at that one.  That line is an explicit admission of the adversarial relationship various factions within Disney have had with their supposed audience.  Under the Iger, it was “The Thing That Was Not Mentioned.”  But now it has been.  In truth, it means little or nothing if there is no kind of enforcement.

Will it come to anything?

Don’t be silly

Okay, I’m done here.

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Comments (9)

  • EXALT Reply

    “I am establishing a new standing monthly meeting with our senior creative leaders”

    DOCTER: O Chapek,—
    CHAPEK: Hence! wilt thou lift up Olympus?
    FEIGE: Speak, hands, for me!
    [Feige stabs Chapek in the neck. Chapek catches hold of his arm.
    He is then stabbed by several other Conspirators, and at last by
    Kathleen Kennedy.]
    CHAPEK: Et tu, Kathleen?— Then fall, Chapek!
    [Dies.]

    January 11, 2022 at 11:20 pm
    • Wazdaka Reply

      Exactly
      The supposedly behind-the-scenes has become the main stage

      All the world’s a stage I suppose

      January 12, 2022 at 6:43 am
  • Chief_Tuscaloosa Reply

    The meetings will continue until morale improves.
    The actors which bring characters to life will eventually be replaced with CGI to save money.
    Employees of DIS will stop actively pissing off our customers.

    The first two are unsurprising based on what you’ve told us of Chapek.
    And the last is pretty rich coming from the guy in charge of $5 Cokes.

    January 12, 2022 at 12:19 am
  • furor kek tonicus ( Joe Biden identified WITH evil, stupid pedophiles because Joe Biden identifies AS an evil, stupid pedophile ) Reply

    If you aren’t familiar with Metaverse, here it is in a nutshell. The Facebook founder saw Ready, Player One and got super excited about it. Just substitute “Cyberspace” for “Metaverse” and you pretty much have most of what he wants to do.
    .
    are you sure that’s what this means? is there something else you didn’t quote which goes into more detail about how they mean for the nuts and bolts of the Metaverse to operate?
    .
    because it sounds to me like it could be
    SO.
    MUCH.
    WORSE.
    than a “cyberspace” environment.
    .
    what do i mean? well, Bob is talking about “encourag[ing] collaboration, sharing of best practices, and stimulate cross-studio ideation” and “particularly if they enhance what many call our “franchise ecosystem,” which is one of the things that sets us apart.
    .
    and what does this speech tell us about the Metaverse? try this on for size:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt-2cxAiPJk&t=129s
    .
    .
    yes, yes, i know. Metaverse is totes not the same thing as the Multiverse. right? please? can we stop this nightmare now, i want to get off?
    .
    if Rey Palpatine shows up in Toy Story i’m going to need an Ambien, a gallon of Zornarita and a 10′ tall, 400lb woman to rock me to sleep.
    .
    OT:
    i kind of miss Naterants about the indomitable superiority of Alabama.

    January 12, 2022 at 3:19 am
    • Wazdaka Reply

      These idiots won’t be able to think beyond putting Mickey in a stormtrooper suit
      Maybe goofy crashing the millennium falcon

      January 12, 2022 at 6:47 am
      • furor kek tonicus ( the Eye of the Vogon gazes upon his Hellscape of Mickdor ) Reply

        these idiots dont care about DisneyCorp history ( maybe Bob does, in his Vogon way, but nobody else ) and both Mickey and Goofy are coded as male. so yes, maybe Goofy crashes the Falcon but the primary goal of the Woke will be to cross polinate their Representation and Equity and Bestest Characters EVAR!

        January 12, 2022 at 4:49 pm
    • Codex Reply

      Kingdom Hearts was popular with the kiddos back in the day. Is Disney past that kind of thing?

      January 13, 2022 at 4:33 am
      • The Dark Herald Reply

        Probably.

        Bob Iger’s tenure as CEO was incredably corrisive. As he is nearly seventy he’s too old to be a proper SJW himself but being a “good liberal” he was delighted to hire and promote them.

        Disney isn’t so much Converged as it is Infested at this point. It can no longer perform it’s core functions.

        Chapek would like to turn Disney back into a money making organization but he has no idea what he is up against. He is a Boomer himself. And though not an SJW, he is undoubtedly a Democrat. Iger wouldn’t have let him get as far as he did otherwise.

        Chapek’s corporate line of “this ain’t no hippy commune, keep your politics at home,” will fail. Esspecially with the generation of vipers whose entire identity is built around their politics.

        The only thing that can save Disney is a major, targeted and complete purge of all it’s political activists. Do you really think Bob Chapek is going to be the guy to do that?

        January 13, 2022 at 12:26 pm
  • Malcolm Vu Reply

    “…the opportunities we face..”

    Genius? Stupidity?
    You be the judge.

    January 12, 2022 at 5:56 pm

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