Disney CEO Bob Chapek Says He Thinks Adults Don’t Like Animated Films

Disney CEO Bob Chapek has received a slew of backlash over a comment that he made that insinuated that adults don't like animation and that animated movies are only for kids.

By Kristi Eckert | Published

Adult Disney fans, and fans of animation in general, have reason enough to be pretty perturbed with Disney CEO Bob Chapek. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Chapek insinuated that adults don’t care for animated films. He highlighted his belief that adults watch them as a means to quiet their kids before bedtime.  

“I always say that after our audience puts our kids to bed after watching Pinnochio or Dumbo or Little Mermaid, they’re probably not going to tune into another animated movie. They want something for them,” said Chapek in a Wall Street Journal Tech Live Interview. In his response, Chapek essentially seems to be insinuating that not only are animated films not meant for adults but that adults don’t get enjoyment or fulfillment from them. Perhaps, Chapek needs to pay a visit to one of the company’s theme parks and take a look at all the adults sans children that enjoy them. 

Needless to say, adults young and old have taken to the internet’s various social media platforms to tell the Disney CEO just how offended and appalled by his comment they are. One Twitter user referenced a quote from Walt Disney himself that expresses the idea that animated movies are for people of all ages and that “adults are only kids grown up,” and highlighted his anger over the likelihood that Chapek doesn’t understand the very foundation of the company he runs. 

An author from Geek Tyrant astutely observed that they were “…pretty sure that he’s the adult that doesn’t like watching Disney animated movies, which is funny considering his position.” Others couldn’t hold back their shock and simply stated that they couldn’t believe a narrow and stunted view like that exists, let alone existing as one from a person that runs a company that was built on a premise that defies that logic. 

Moreover, others were quick to point out how in other countries, like Japan, animation frequently is developed specifically with adult themes. Another user on Twitter called out the Disney CEO for his blatant ignorance by stating that he “clearly has never seen an animated movie outside of Disney animation.”

Overall, it seems like the Disney CEO shot himself in foot, regardless if people are misconstruing his intent or not. That said, speculatively, with this comment Chapek may have been trying to highlight Disney’s push to include more adult-focused content on the Disney+ family of streaming platforms. 

For instance, following Disney’s acquisition of Marvel, Disney brought over six wildly popular shows that originally aired on Netflix – Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Punisher,  Iron Fist, and Defenders – to its Disney+ platform. Those shows have mature themes and language that were originally developed for adult audiences. 

Disney has also not been shy about adding more adult content to Hulu to leverage its already-established viewer base there. On Hulu, users can find now-Disney titles like Alien and Predator. As well as classics like Armageddon