Disney in Free Fall (Part One: Star Wars)The Dark Herald
The second episode of The Mandalorian aired last Wednesday and I have yet to hear a peep out of Fort Mickey. Whenever the streamer studios have one of their exceedingly rare wins they screech it from the rooftops. HBOmax pounded its chest about House of the Dragon and The Last of Us. Paramount struts around bragging about Yellowstone’s numbers. Even Amazon felt the need to brag when The Rings of Power debuted (the numbers were a fantasy, but they felt the need to brag anyway. Even Netflix, the permanent king of the streaming hill grinned and enjoyed bragging about… Well pretty much everything they stream really; Netflix mostly competes with itself.
When Mando made his first appearance Disney couldn’t shut up about him. When Luke returned, they were doing handstands in the hallways of the C-suite.
And now? Silence.
Today Samba.TV released its numbers for the opening episode of The Mandalorian and they are b-a-a-a-a-d.
Disney+ ate its own seed corn when the Book of Boba Fett was bombing. Tearing off Mando’s admittedly good third-season starter and stuffing it into the Book of Boba Fett was like pouring an entire bottle of expensive perfume on a pile of shit. It wastes the perfume without making the pile smell any better. Favreau had to slap together a replacement season opener out of spare parts and abandoned scripts. It was a weak start when it needed to come out strong.
Obi-Wan Kenobi’s premier was 2.14 million unique views.
The Mandalorian third season opener was 1.5 million unique views.
This is truly dire for Disney because The Mandalorian has lost half of its audience. It only edged The Book of Boba Fett by 2%. The Advocate Fans have given up. There are a paltry few numbers of the Eric Butts type of fans out there.
However, 1.5 million ride or die, ‘I don’t care if it sucks so long as it says Star Wars in the title’ Advocates is not anywhere near enough to support a franchise as expensive as this one.
Sadly, its corpse will continue to be fucked by Mickey the Great and Terrible for the next few years. The Acolyte is (astonishingly) in production at Shinfield Studios in the UK. This is the strongest proof I have that Kathleen Kennedy threw her support behind Chapek during the Bob Wars. That and Iger was god almighty pissed at her about something when he got his old job back. Sadly, the time to get rid of her was when Solo bombed. Star Wars could have been saved then but it is impossible now. The fans have given up and wandered off.
They will have to trudge through this extremely unwanted High Republic Star Wars series. I think there is another season of Andor in the works. And of course, the $200 or $300 million that is going to be blown on Rey Skywalker’s upcoming abject failure. Honestly, I think that news was the final straw. The Advocates were only tuning into Mando in the forlorn hope that the Reyloverse would be retconned into non-existence. That hope was extinguished before the first episode ran, so there was no point anymore. All roads lead to Reylo because Bob Iger is in double-down mode. Buying stuff and throwing money at failure is what he has done his entire time at Disney.
Short term, What does this mean?
Disney+ no longer has a tentpole.
Bluey can’t support an entire streaming service.* There is nothing on the horizon for Disney+. The Marvel TV shows never moved the needle. The children’s content is now driving parents away. The only parents willing to trust Disney with their kids are the same parents that bring their children to Drag Queen Story Hour. While there are more of them than any healthy society will produce, there are NOT enough of them to support a service the size of Disney+. There is no reason at all to believe that Bob Iger’s pride and joy streaming service won’t continue to cost Disney the equivalent of one sunken cruise ship every quarter. The new movies aren’t pulling any numbers and the classics were already in people’s home libraries.
I’ll take a look at Marvel’s current problems tomorrow.
As for now, a nearly fifty-year-old franchise has perished under Disney.
*Also, it’s cheaper just to buy Bluey in total on Amazon or Apple TV.