Disney just announced that Disney+ subscribers will soon have less content to watch on the streaming platform.
During Disney's second-quarter earnings report, CFO Christine McCarthy announced plans to remove select content from Disney+ in order to cut costs and focus on curating quality content.
The question fans and subscribers are left asking is what does Disney intend to drop and will any of the axed content belong to the Marvel brand?
Is Disney Removing Marvel Content from Disney+?
While this announcement is new, the Disney+ purge has been underway for some time now.
Following Disney CEO Bob Iger's return and in advance of this news, a number of Disney+ series have already been canceled, such as Willow, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, and National Treasure: Edge of History.
Still, this new step is different in that removing content requires the company to absorb impairment charges which, as reported by The Wrap, range from $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion and are expected to appear in Disney's third quarter.
This strategy mirrors that of Warner Bros. Discovery which removed its own original content from HBO Max last year.
And, like Warner Bros. Discovery, it's possible that Disney will be able to classify its newly cast-off shows/films as tax write-offs.
Fortunately, it's unlikely that Disney will drop any of Marvel Studios' shows and films.
As data has shown, MCU Disney+ series are some of the highest-viewed content on the streamer and are a massive contributor to its success.
While the same could be said for Star Wars projects, and particularly The Mandalorian, Lucasfilm has yet to release a theatrical Star Wars film since 2019.
Meanwhile, Marvel Studios releases several theatrical films per year which traditionally dominate the box office before becoming available on Disney+ to subscribers.
Another point in Marvel's favor is its interconnected universe where its various projects contribute to the other, a trademark that's only expected to expand throughout the ongoing Multiverse Saga as non-MCU Marvel projects are being incorporated as well.
It simply wouldn't make sense for Disney to remove any of its valuable MCU content, nor would removing any other Marvel-branded entertainment ahead of its resurge relevancy.
Why Disney Cutting Content is Good for Marvel
The reasoning behind dropping content is part of Iger's long game, and it's expected to benefit the MCU.
According to the Disney CEO, "we made a lot of content that is not necessarily driving sub growth" and he prefers not to spend "money marketing things that are not going to have an impact on the bottom line."
As previously stated, MCU shows and films are huge contributors to Disney's bottom line, and Iger actually expressed interest in getting to "lean into those more:"
"We actually believe we have an opportunity to lean into those more, put the right marketing dollars against it, allocated more away from programming that was not driving any stops at all."
Still, that's not to say that no Marvel Studios projects will emerge from Iger's initiative unscathed.
In fact, Iger's interest in aiming for less content in exchange for higher quality has already impacted the MCU's 2023 slate.
As of now, only Secret Invasion and Loki Season 2 are confirmed to release on Disney+ in 2023.
The release dates for other previously announced shows such as Echo, Ironheart, Spider-Man: Freshman Year, and more are currently unknown.
At the moment, it's hard to imagine Marvel Studios ever producing the same volume as it did in 2021.
However, given MCU's drop in quality and connectivity of late, the strategy of less is more may be just what the red brand needs.
Further details concerning Disney's plan for its streamer, as well as new MCU announcements, renewals, and greenlights, may be revealed during Disney's Upfront presentation on Tuesday, May 16.