Disney's battle plan? Just look around Comic-Con

For those seeking to understand Disney's strategy under CEO Robert Iger, just take a look around the colorful halls o...

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 4:26 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 4:26 PM

For those seeking to understand Disney's strategy under CEO Robert Iger, just take a look around the colorful halls of Comic-Con: Thousands of people who spent hard-earned cash trekking to San Diego -- in some cases great distances -- to savor their favorite pastimes, many dressed in purchased or home-made costumes.

Over the past dozen years, Disney has assiduously pursued a plan built on tapping into the most passionate fan bases, with multi-billion-dollar acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Those deals provided the foundation for blockbuster movies, but also merchandising and theme-park tie-ins, feeding the company's coffers on a variety of fronts.

With Comcast dropping its bid for 21st Century Fox, Disney is positioned to add those assets to its portfolio, further consolidating its hold over such properties by adding Fox's "Avatar" and other Marvel titles -- Fantastic Four and X-Men -- that the company had let slip away years ago, when Marvel was forced to shed certain assets because of financial difficulties. (Spider-Man, the other one that got away, remains affiliated with Sony.)

That murderer's row of fan-oriented entertainment has already positioned Disney as the foremost gateway into the fan community, a position with enormous benefits -- witness the box-office results this year for "Black Panther," "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Incredibles 2" -- as well as an assorted trove of headaches (see the backlash triggered by "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," and the surprisingly disappointing returns for "Solo").

Still, Disney's guiding philosophy is hard to dispute -- namely, that in a world overflowing with entertainment options, there's no substitute for possessing brands in which audiences feel personally invested. That also feeds directly into the challenge of getting people to pay directly for access to content, from streaming services to movie and theme-park tickets. (Disclosure: My wife works for a division of Disney.)

Tellingly, Disney has already made inroads in directly exploiting and serving the fan experience, mounting its own Comic-Con-like convention, the biennial D23 Expo, named after the year Walt Disney founded the studio. Disney doesn't release attendance figures, but last year's event drew tens of thousands to Anaheim's convention center, not far from Disneyland.

Disney's longterm objective is clear: To take the middle man out of the deal, whether that involves distribution services like Netflix (which is assembling its own vast content library) or intermediaries like Comic-Con. While every big media player has adopted a version of that approach, Disney appears to have a huge head start in getting there.

Like the Marvel universe or "Star Wars" galaxy, the entertainment/media industry remains filled with unforeseen threats, even to the kind of super-team that Iger has put together. But Mickey Mouse has a lot of powerful friends and is about to get more, putting him one step closer to the goal of many mythical heroes, or for that matter, villains: controlling their own destiny.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 591445

Reported Deaths: 7367
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1224421730
Ramsey51212875
Dakota45791452
Anoka41604438
Washington26834283
Stearns22196222
St. Louis17734303
Scott17244124
Wright16009139
Olmsted1322598
Sherburne1167187
Carver1047545
Clay814492
Rice8037107
Blue Earth749641
Crow Wing663189
Kandiyohi654283
Chisago596651
Otter Tail574078
Benton568297
Goodhue477272
Douglas466375
Mower464832
Winona453950
Itasca435556
McLeod422559
Isanti419664
Morrison418260
Nobles407648
Beltrami394459
Steele386715
Polk383568
Becker379751
Lyon360251
Carlton345054
Freeborn341529
Pine327822
Nicollet325643
Brown305040
Mille Lacs303253
Le Sueur290922
Todd281632
Cass271328
Meeker255740
Waseca235922
Martin230531
Roseau209019
Wabasha20513
Hubbard188341
Dodge18453
Renville179743
Redwood174037
Houston171616
Cottonwood164821
Fillmore155910
Wadena155922
Pennington153619
Chippewa152138
Faribault152119
Kanabec144326
Sibley143110
Aitkin134736
Watonwan13219
Rock128119
Jackson121712
Pipestone115426
Yellow Medicine114120
Pope11006
Murray10619
Swift105218
Stevens90411
Marshall88117
Clearwater86616
Koochiching82715
Wilkin81112
Lake80919
Lac qui Parle75222
Big Stone6004
Lincoln5813
Grant5748
Mahnomen5469
Norman5399
Unassigned48993
Kittson48622
Red Lake3957
Traverse3695
Lake of the Woods3243
Cook1620

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 366827

Reported Deaths: 5937
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57596625
Linn20845335
Scott20025241
Black Hawk15803308
Woodbury15128228
Johnson1447483
Dubuque13368208
Dallas1117898
Pottawattamie11113168
Story1061248
Warren577088
Clinton555593
Cerro Gordo539789
Sioux514474
Webster512393
Marshall482975
Muscatine480799
Des Moines455766
Wapello4299122
Buena Vista424540
Jasper418872
Plymouth401180
Lee375755
Marion362575
Jones298957
Henry291637
Carroll285752
Bremer284360
Crawford266440
Boone264534
Benton256455
Washington254150
Dickinson248343
Mahaska230351
Jackson221742
Clay215525
Kossuth215364
Delaware209541
Tama209571
Winneshiek196834
Page192622
Buchanan191232
Cedar190023
Hardin185243
Fayette185041
Wright184637
Hamilton179849
Harrison179573
Clayton169456
Butler164934
Mills162322
Madison162219
Floyd160542
Cherokee158738
Lyon157941
Poweshiek154734
Allamakee151551
Iowa148724
Hancock147834
Winnebago142431
Cass138554
Calhoun138413
Grundy136333
Emmet134140
Jefferson132335
Shelby131037
Sac130319
Union128333
Louisa128049
Appanoose127949
Mitchell126342
Chickasaw124015
Guthrie121530
Franklin120021
Humboldt119126
Palo Alto112723
Howard104622
Montgomery103338
Clarke100124
Unassigned9710
Keokuk95831
Monroe95229
Ida90535
Adair86532
Pocahontas85522
Davis82924
Monona82830
Osceola78616
Greene77610
Lucas77323
Worth7478
Taylor65812
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Van Buren55818
Ringgold55624
Wayne53923
Audubon51010
Adams3384
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