Hollywood Special: Death of a Franchise with Christian Toto – In The Tank #429

Published December 28, 2023

The Heartland Institute’s Donald Kendal and Jim Lakely are joined by entertainment writer Christian Toto for our annual end-of-year look at movies, TV, and pop culture. This was, by even the accounts of the suck-up mainstream entertainment press, a disastrous year for Hollywood. Disney Studios set records for box office bombs, and delivered them one after the other in 2023: “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantummania”; “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”; “The Little Mermaid”; “Elemental”; “Haunted Mansion”; and “Wish.” Those productions alone, predicted to make billions, instead racked up at least $1 billion in losses for the once-infallible studio. And then there is Warner Bros., whose DC Comics Cinematic Universe tried its best to keep up in the bomb department with “Shazam! Fury of the Gods”; “The Flash”, “Blue Beetle”, and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” Those movies combined to nearly wipe out the studio’s $1 billion profit from its smash hit “Barbie.”

Have we just witnessed the death of the “big franchise” movie? Was it “woke” that killed the beast? What about the effect of the writers’ and actors’ strikes on Hollywood? It sure looks like the events of 2023 created a perfect storm that will either force modern Hollywood to start putting entertainment above “The Message,” or become culturally irrelevant. Speaking of that, with the success of foreign products – namely, “Godzilla Minus One” – that aim to entertain its audience instead of lecture and berate them, is Hollywood vulnerable long-term from foreign and independent productions?

Finally, we will discuss the possibility that there is an emerging and growing generational creative gap in Hollywood. Do Gen Z and late Millennials “creatives” have the skills and acquired wisdom to create hit movies and run studios? Where is the Gen Z Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, or Jon Favreau – Gen Xers who created unique and compelling movies with broad appeal?

We will talk all this, and more, with one of the best entertainment writers in the business, Christian Toto – who will also be able to offer some recommendations for good entertainment you might have missed. BTW: If you have not yet picked up his book, “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul,” do so today!

Show notes:

Visit Hollywood in Toto


Visit Christian Toto’s YouTube Channel


Christian’s book, “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul


Hollywood in Toto – Disney’s Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad 2023


Hollywood in Toto – Toto’s Worst Movies of 2023


Hollywood in Toto – Toto’s Best Movies of 2023


Hollywood in Toto – 8 Pop Culture Miracles That Give Us Hope for 2024


Variety – Box Office Report Card: Grading Disney, Warner Bros. and Other Studios on 2023 Movies


Variety – Disney’s 10 Biggest Moments of 2023: Layoffs, Box Office Bombs, Board Fight, DeSantis Feud and More


The Hollywood Reporter – The Biggest Hollywood Winners and Losers of 2023: From Margot Robbie to Marvel


The Hollywood Reporter – See You in 2025? Box Office May Take $2B Hit Next Year Amid Delays


The Hollywood Reporter – Why Japan Is on the Precipice of a Content Boom


The Hollywood Reporter – Marvel Studios Taking Stock of Strategy Amid ‘The Marvels’ Meltdownhttps://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/marvel-studios-rethinks-movie-strategy-marvels-1235645119/