How can Disney ensure that its movies stay relevant to consumers?

Disney can ensure its movies stay relevant to consumers by continually evaluating its protagonists and the messages they send and by continuing to incorporate diverse characters in their movies.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As an avid Disney fan, I think Disney does a pretty good job of this already. Disney movies have really evolved in the past two decades, bringing a host of diverse characters to the big screen representing a variety of character strengths.

One of my favorite examples of this is Moana. She's not built like the Disney princesses of the 1950s, having instead a strong, muscular body type instead of being a waif-like girl with a Barbie-like hourglass figure. She also reflects a different skin tone than Disney princesses of the past, and her natural curls fly as free as her spirit. She doesn't look for a prince to solve her problems, instead relying on her own courage and quest for adventure to tackle the problems of her island. Moana is physically strong, courageous, and resourceful all on her own, and this is a sharp deviation from the Disney princess culture in its early years, reflecting a change in societal standards of the expectations for women.

You also see Disney looking around to other movie franchises which are doing well and absorbing those into the Disney empire. Star Wars is now owned by Disney, providing relevancy for all the science fiction lovers who crave otherworldly adventures. Disney now also owns Marvel, acquiring ownership of Spiderman, the Hulk, Captain America, and more.

In order to continue this sense of relevancy, it's important that Disney continually evaluates its protagonists and heroes, always considering the impact such characters have on society and the messages they send about strength, resiliency, and honor. Tiana is a wonderfully diverse princess, for example, but where is her superhero counterpart? As children look to the big screen, they need to see characters who look like themselves in some way, showing them the ability to persevere and overcome, regardless of circumstances. Nemo provided an opportunity for the physically challenged to identify with an onscreen character in the early 2000s, and this is one example of Disney creating a character who responds to challenges and does so by blending this challenge naturally into a story of other challenges.

In order to continue being relevant to an ever-evolving society, Disney will need to constantly keep a pulse on the concerns, social challenges, and triumphs of an exceedingly diverse customer base. Its ability to do this well, constantly evolving with society's changes, is reflected in the company's longevity, its worldwide loyal customer base, and the success of theme parks around the world, where children and adults can meet and interact with the heroes they identify with most.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team