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Bob Iger on Wednesday called Disney California Adventure Park an “eyesore,” criticized Dish Network for its ad-skipping DVR and vowed to find a studio team that can release about a half-dozen hit films a year that aren’t either animated or star Marvel superheroes.
The Disney CEO didn’t hint at who he is considering as a replacement for Rich Ross, who resigned his chairmanship of the film studio in April, but he reiterated a desire to release only two to three Pixar and animated films a year, two Marvel films and six to eight Disney live-action movies, “probably closer to six.”
Iger was speaking at the Sanford C. Bernstein 28th annual Strategic Decisions Conference in New York.
“Our results on the live-action front have been inconsistent, and this year in particular,” Iger said, “and the goal is to find a management team that is capable of creating high-quality films under the Disney live-action banner on a more consistent basis.”
The CEO didn’t mince words when it came to his opinion of the California Adventure theme park, which is in the midst of a significant makeover.
“We have a park that was not up to standards,” he said. “It’s a bit of a brand eyesore.”
The most significant improvement to the park, Cars Land, is a few weeks from its debut, and Iger told the Wall Street analysts in attendance that he is “certain” it will be “a real home run.”
On Dish’s AutoHop service that allows users to bypass chunks of commercials if they watch TV shows on their DVRs within a day after they air, Iger said, “I happen to believe that what they’re doing is harmful both to our business and to theirs.”
Fox, CBS and NBCUniversal have sued Dish over AuthoHop; Dish countersued the three and added Disney’s ABC, claiming the networks were trying to stifle innovation.
“It feels like a bite-the-hand-that feeds-you approach,” Iger said Wednesday, adding, “I’m confident in our position legally.”
The CEO also defended ESPN’s rising carriage fees and the notion of bundling cable channels in general as opposed to the a la carte approach that he said would not save the average consumer any money. In doing so, he gave a dig to the cable, satellite and telco companies that distribute pay television.
“It’s an odd business that the very distributors of this great product complain about the cost of the product, and they do that more than selling the value of the product to their consumers,” Iger said. “There aren’t that many businesses that you see doing that.”