Discover more from Don Surber
It is not that they are woke; it is that CEOs are incompetent.
Two action adventure films hit the screens in July. One pulled in $379 million at the box office while the other pulled in $205 million. Disney had the distribution rights to both but kept the former and dropped the latter.
That sounds like a good decision but the first film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, cost $300 million to make.
The second film was Sound of Freedom, which cost $15 million to make.
I am not the only one to notice that woke scripts are not killing the film industry. Costs are. Ace of Spades asked this weekend, “Did Disney Actually Make Any Money On Its Terrible Star Wars Movies?”
Spoiler alert: Nope.
Granted, Indiana Jones was a woke dud but there is an audience for the blame-straight-white men preaching. What made it and the last five Star Wars movies bomb was Disney spared no expense making the movies. Disney should not have been so generous. The Star Wars films cost $294 million for the cheapest one and $667 for the most expensive one.
George Lucas made the first one (and only one I have actually seen) for $11 million.
It brought in $775 million. Adjusted for inflation, that is revenue of $70 in tickets sold for every buck it cost to make the film.
His previous film was American Graffiti. Its budget was less than a million bucks (which was all Francis Ford Coppola could give him). Its box office was $100 million. It brought in more than $100 for every buck it cost.
Easy Rider cost half what American Graffiti cost to make and brought in $60 million. That’s (pulls out calculator) is even more bang for the buck.
All three movies had great storylines, great casts and great soundtracks. But most of all, they had meager budgets pried away from miserly bean counters.
I will go against the grain here and say woke movies could make money if Bob Iger paid any attention to the budgets. Disney blew billions. Now he’s peddling ABC to the highest bidder because Iger knows ABC no longer is the cash cow it was. Firing Roseanne over a bad joke was idiotic. I can assure you the highest bidder will make money on a network Iger apparently cannot.
Of course, he would not be woke if he knew what he was doing. He created the world’s largest media conglomerate, which made it too large to be nimble enough to survive in a changing media world. Embracing tranny rights was a bad idea but it was the mismanagement of the amusement parks, the streaming services and film studios that really did Disney in. Much of that is also on Iger’s predecessor whom he hand-picked to run the show as CEO.
As I watch Disney and other brands nosedive, I realize that woke is the symptom and not the disease. Woke applies leeches to the corporate body. Leeches did provide temporary relief in the 18th century.
But leeches were not the cure and I am pretty sure that everyone at the time knew that; the people who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the like were not idiots.
Idiots are people who embrace having kindergarteners determine what their sex is.
Next up is beer. Bud Light was a stagnant brand, which is why the brand reached out to Dylan Mulvaney to gin up sales. The day the story broke, I knew the whole Budweiser brand (and maybe Busch) was in trouble. The CEO did not. Instead of firing his marketer and apologizing profusely, he did nothing for a month.
This weekend the New York Post reported, “Bud Light, which has been displaced as the nation’s top-selling beer following the Dylan Mulvaney fiasco, is in danger of falling farther behind its rivals when retailers reset shelf space this fall.
“Wholesalers, industry experts, and a former Anheuser-Busch executive told ABC News on Friday that Bud Light could lose refrigerator space at retailers such as Walmart and 7-Eleven.”
No refrigerated Bud Light? Americans don’t drink warm beer. This isn’t England. Bud Light will eventually make money again but as the No. 10 beer or so.
Contrary to the opinion of the woman who hired Mister Mulvaney, Bud Light’s core customers are not frat boys, who are so few in number that they don’t matter. Its base is rednecks. From Alaska to Florida, rednecks like beer.
The rest of the country is going to hard cider and hard lemonade and just about any low alcohol beverage that doesn’t taste like beer. The ATV crowd likes beer. There are plenty of brands not named Bud Light to go around.
She tried to expand her brand into trannyland. Now she is in the unemployment line and the Clydesdales are not that far behind.
Dove said hold my soap.
National Review reported, “The soap brand Dove is facing calls for a boycott after a controversial Black Lives Matter activist revealed she is partnering with the beauty brand as an ambassador to promote fat liberation.
“The activist, Zyahna Bryant, made headlines in 2020 for her efforts to get a white University of Virginia student expelled for making what Bryant deemed to be threatening comments about a group of Black Lives Matter protesters. She later acknowledged that she likely misheard the student — but not before campaigning to get her suspended from campus.
“Bryant revealed on Instagram late last month that she is partnering with Dove.”
Now even if Bryant were as pure as Ivory soap, this is a dumb idea because being fat is a bad thing.
50 years ago, feminists blamed Barbie dolls for anorexia, which is starving yourself to death. They are silent about the promotion of gorging yourself to death.
I don’t know enough about Dove to say whether a boycott will work. My guess is women still will buy it, given that so many cosmetic and women’s personal care companies are ditching beautiful models for people I really don’t care to see. A boycott seems unlikely to succeed.
But hiring a fat racist activist also seems like a Dylan Mulvaney moment for the brand. We will see what happens.
We already know what happened to Silicon Valley Bank. It takes a spectacularly special kind of stupidity to go bankrupt in the second richest place in America (after the DC area, of course).
But by golly, they were up to the task, telling customers, “We embrace diverse perspectives and foster a culture of belonging.
“We are intentionally and strategically working for a world where every client and employee has the opportunity to bring their bold ideas to life. We also know that diverse perspectives and inclusive environments ignite new ideas to power innovation. That is why we’re building a culture of belonging with a global workforce that celebrates greater dimensions of diversity and reflects the markets we strive to serve.”
It should have worked harder on diversifying its portfolio because it invested too heavily in T-bills and when interest rates rose, its liquidity fell.
Woke has a market, I suppose, but you need some penny pinchers to make it work.
Spending $667 million to make a woke Star Wars sequel is nonsensical when the original Star Wars cost 1/60th of that.
Then again, it makes no sense for a company whose customer base is families to embrace LGBT and transsexual operations for children.