Returning Disney CEO Bob Iger was on an earnings call for the first quarter when he made an unexpected announcement.

“Today I’m so pleased to announce that we have sequels in the works from our animation studios to some of our most popular franchises, Toy Story, Frozen and Zootopia,” Iger said. “We’ll have more to share about these productions soon, but this is a great example of how we’re leaning into our unrivaled brands and franchises.”

Disney’s first quarter numbers have given shareholders concerns prompting the company to cut thousands of jobs and implement over five billion dollars in cost savings. With their recent animated films not hitting earning projections in the wake of Covid, it makes financial sense to return to the brands that have a proven track record with audiences.

Frozen, Toy Story and Zootopia have not only grossed collectively almost four billion dollars at the box office, but the features have gotten recognition from critics with awards nominations for both the films and their music.

While the brands have recognizable appeal, I fear diminishing returns for the sequels. Zootopia was a great standalone film that ended with a great, lighthearted message to viewers. It would be a shame if Disney felt the need to go darker with a sequel. Toy Story has always been an emotional ride for the audience as they experience these characters grow and evolve and a fifth movie could derail their journey. Frozen has always been about personal discovery for Elsa and finding out who she is and her place in the world. I’m not sure what journey she would take in another sequel that wouldn’t require her to go backwards in her evolution.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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