But Disney has one problem that its competitors do not, and it involves Mr. Chapek’s biggest move during his time as chief executive.
In 2020, Mr. Chapek restructured Disney to give priority to the company’s streaming services (Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+). He took away profit-and-loss responsibility from the executives who run Disney’s movie and television studios, and gave it to a protégé, Kareem Daniel, who was named chairman of a new division, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution.
The loss of that turf — along with control over when and how films and shows would be released — upset longtime Disney executives, including Alan Bergman, the chairman of Disney Studios Content. Making the situation more touchy, Mr. Daniel had little experience in the vast area he was given to oversee. Mr. Chapek repeatedly insisted that his deeply unpopular reorganization was, in fact, the opposite, with “100 percent buy-in” from Disney managers.
Mr. Daniel’s division is notably the one that contributed the $1.5 billion in “peak” streaming losses for the recent quarter, up from $630 million a year earlier, surprising investors.
Mr. Iger ousted Mr. Daniel on Monday. In a note to employees, Mr. Iger said a new company structure was on the way that “puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs.”
Mr. Iger faces other challenges.
A competitive frenzy has erupted around sports broadcasting rights, with Apple, Amazon and others driving up prices, which has hurt ESPN’s bottom line. Sports betting is viewed by some investors as the new streaming — a fast-growth master fix — but fully embracing that business could taint the family-friendly Disney brand.
Animated movies, the heartbeat of Disney, have started to struggle, with Pixar’s “Lightyear” bombing in June and “Strange World” expected to disappoint at the Thanksgiving box office.