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Bob Chapek’s Hail Mary

Bob Chapek
Disney C.E.O. Bob Chapek. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
May 12, 2022

I’m on a text chain with a couple executive friends at Disney, so the three of us decided to live-chat yesterday’s much-anticipated earnings reveal. I’ll spare you most of the dumb jokes and poop emojis; it’s safe to say it got pretty cynical, pretty fast.

When reporters started tweeting that Disney+ added 7.9 million subscribers in the second quarter, beating estimates and avoiding the dreaded Netflix loss, the messages began flying: “We’re saved!” one of them wrote, following up with that gif of Elaine from Seinfeld dancing wildly in Jerry’s apartment. “Streaming is hard,” the other wrote when I texted a trade headline noting that Disney took a $900 million hit on its direct-to-consumer efforts, triple the loss in the segment a year ago. “Pam n tommy alert!” the same friend wrote when C.E.O. Bob Chapek shouted out the Hulu hit, almost certainly the first time a piece of content featuring a talking penis was plugged on a Disney earnings call. Then, toward the end (or when the three of us started losing interest), the most biting text of all: “Dammit chapek didn’t eff up.”