We hear a lot about Disney gradually taking over the world, with Mickey Mouse-shaped Death Stars hovering above most major cities on the planet these days, but while Mickey and various CEOs named Bob have been loudly expressing their ambitions, a quieter—though no less ambitious—man has been making moves of his own toward global domination. We’re referring, obviously of course, to Chicken Soup For The Soul CEO Bill Rouhana, whose company just purchased Redbox a few months ago.
That might not sound especially encouraging to anyone who has seen a Redbox machine in the last few years (or, god forbid, used one), but in a new interview with IndieWire, Rouhana suggests that it’s all about forcing the company through the right kind of “evolution.” He knows Redbox isn’t lighting the world on fire at the moment, but Chicken Soup For The Soul also owns Crackle and Popcornflix, two streaming services that definitely exist, as well as its famous book series, production company Halcyon Studios, and (apparently) a line of pet food. In Rouhana’s mind, it’s all about finding the right pieces and hoping that things come together in the “best possible way.”
If that “best possible way” happens, Rouhana could see Chicken Soup For The Soul becoming like Disney. “It would be the kind of evolution that Disney went through,” he explained to IndieWire, “from a children’s entertainment company to a company that owns Marvel and Star Wars and a whole bunch of other things that had nothing to do with children’s programming.” That bit’s debatable, since it’s not like Star Wars is conceptually all that different from what Disney has always done, but what he means is that the company isn’t still making exclusively fairytale cartoons and little mouse shorts.
Inspirational books that you give to your troubled teenage nephew are Rouhana’s version of… historically significant and culturally iconic fairly cartoons, and while Redbox might not be his Star Wars, it’s just a matter of growing the company until it finds something that is. That’s a tall order, but here’s our pitch: Just buy Star Wars. The TV shows are hit-and-miss, the movies are divisive, and Disney has easily gotten its $4 billion out of the property, maybe they’d be open to selling it? Maybe all it would take is a well-placed copy of Chicken Soup For The CEO Named Bob’s Soul and Bob Chapek would be happy to let Star Wars go to a new owner?