Are Woke Movies Finally Done?

Charlie Eggers, Editor

Has the movie-going experience been different in recent years? If so, you are not alone. In recent years the movie industry has been pursuing progressive themes that appear in almost every film now made in the industry. 

What are progressive themes? Progressive themes can be best described as ongoing social issues such as sexuality and race. By no means am I saying that I am against these themes, but they shouldn’t be something that you experience in every single movie you see? 

Looking back 5 years ago, the movie and tv industry were able to balance themes in their movie and make them where they were built into the story and either add to the character arc or the final resolution to the story. Recently, the industry has strayed away from this balance.

 In the years following the covid pandemic, movies have felt as if they are just a list of progressive themes that are getting checked off as the movie goes on. Moreover, the themes are added and are briefly shown in the film and have an emphasis on the moment, but then never mentioned again.

The one production company that has been overloading its films with progressive themes is Disney. In almost every Disney movie from Marvel to Pixar there has been a progressive or “woke” theme that doesn’t really fit.

Moviegoers didn’t mind the themes at first, which can be seen in the revenue generated for each movie that year. This year however has been different. Disney is expected to take their first substantial loss in a movie. Disney’s latest animation Strange World is expected to lose more than $100 million and is the worst performance a Disney animation has had in 20 years. The film is also one of the most progressive animated Disney films to date and it is no surprise that they are facing substantial losses for doing so. 

This movie is not the only one that has been seeing bad box office performance. Marvel has also seen a large dip in movie revenue in recent years and seems to be steadily declining. At first, this trend seemed like it was set to continue, but recently the yearly financial report came out for Disney. Disney lost approximately $4 billion this past year. In addition, shareholders were recently getting upset at the “woke” scenes displayed in kid’s movies. In response to these various issues, Disney announced a major CEO change.

Recently CEO of Disney, Bob Chapek was ousted after two years and was replaced with past CEO Bob Iger. Bob Iger was CEO of the major revival of the company and was a key factor in the acquisition of Marvel and Star Wars. He retired in early 2020 but returned just after 2 years to take over and rebound the company. In addition, Iger is expected to scale back the amount of progressiveness within movies and make more strategic implementation of these themes into Disney properties. 

This is the trend in the right direction and the hope is that movies will revert back to what they were pre-2020.

Currently, it seems like moviegoers are responding finally that they are tired of politics and agendas being in movies. Many moviegoers do not want to be reminded of such issues and just want to escape and be entertained. Students at the University of Minnesota agree that they only watch a movie for entertainment and not for the political commentary of a company.

People are realizing that checking off a list of woke topics is not what they want to see. The hope is that the peak of “wokeness” in movies has already passed and production executives are realized that moviegoers don’t want political commentary but just entertainment.