Now That Disney Owns All of Entertainment, They’re Trying to Ruin It

After successfully merging with Fox, Disney is basically the largest entertainment company in the world, they have a virtual monopoly on television and movies. So what does the world look like with Disney in control of most of what we watch?

Well, first of all, Disney doesn’t let repertory theaters play their movies. The “Disney Vault” doesn’t just apply to home video, there are no public screenings of any of their old films, either. And it looks like this policy now applies to the Fox library as well.

Repertory theaters have a big place in our culture. Just as an example, Rocky Horror Picture Show is probably best known for being a staple of midnight matinees where people went in costume and sang along at theaters that had weekly screenings for years or even decades.

Sean, who is a great journalist, also brings up another really good point in the tweet directly after this one.

Sometimes things are “problematic” or dated because movies and television are products of their time. They show us the world the way people saw it, and they’re basically historical artifacts. Sometimes that look might make us uncomfortable, but it’s an important window and it’s important to have art that challenges us and makes us uncomfortable.

You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? Via The Hollywood Reporter:

But even some of those green lights are being met with scrutiny. One source says Horn is questioning the apparent plan to have young characters smoking onscreen in West Side Story. “With Fox, we can make movies that right now I say no to. … We always have to think about the smoking policy. The audience for a Disney movie may not know what they are going to see, but they know what they aren’t going to see,” the exec said in a recent interview with THR. “There are certain things we just can’t include because we’ll get letters.”

Awesome, we can’t show gang members smoking in the 50s, people might get the wrong idea. There’s also this:

There are no plans to make Song of the South available on the $7-per-month offering.

Disney really has it in for Song of the South. It’s because they’re making a bold, moral stance, right Bob Iger?

it wouldn’t be in the best interest of our shareholders to bring it back

Yeah, I thought so. But at least you and the shareholders are taking care of your employees, right? Let’s ask Abigail Disney, daughter of Walt Disney’s brother and partner Roy Disney. Here’s what she said in the Washington Post.

I had to speak out about the naked indecency of chief executive Robert Iger’s pay. According to Equilar, Iger took home more than $65 million in 2018. That’s 1,424 times the median pay of a Disney worker. To put that gap in context, in 1978, the average CEO made about 30 times a typical worker’s salary. Since 1978, CEO pay has grown by 937 percent, while the pay of an average worker grew just 11.2 percent.

I mean, that’s not great, but it’s not like they were spending money that could have gone to employee salaries to keep employee salaries low, right?

Disney has pushed back by noting that it pays more than the $7.25 federal minimum wage. This argument fails to acknowledge that the cost of living varies from place to place and few can make do on that, no matter where they live. It also fails to recognize that the company worked quietly to try to defeat a ballot initiative to lift the minimum wage paid by certain employers to $15 an hour in Anaheim, Calif., which passed this past November.

Okay then. Disney owns roughly 50% of movies made in the US and almost all the content on two of the four major broadcast networks. They use that power to keep theaters from showing classic films, something that could very well mean the end of repertory theaters, because they want people to see their new movies instead. They’re censoring old and new movies to meet some “family friendly” standard that maximizes profits. They’ve fought to make copyright law in this country a draconian nightmare and now they’re campaigning to make income inequality worse.

But hey, maybe Wolverine will be in the next Avengers movie and that will make all of this worth it.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rick Happ
Rick Happ
4 years ago

Can someone explain how copyright law comes into play here? Is the law any different for movies than for books? How long does a copyright last before the work passes into the public domain? Googling I see it’s 95 years (for older movies) from the release date – is that correct? If so, Song of the South would enter the public domain in 22 years – 2041 (released in 1946).

4 years ago
Reply to  Rick Happ

The law used to say 75 years. But when Disney saw that their copyrights on Mickey Mouse were about to run out, they went to Congress and got the law changed to 95 years. So that long after the people who had created Mickey Mouse were dead, some people who had nothing to do with it could continue to profit from it for another 20 years. I’ve published 4 books, so my bias is toward strong copyright laws. (I should clarify that my books sell hundreds of copies. I’m sure Disney makes more from Mickey Mouse every 12 seconds than… Read more »

4 years ago

Disney just wants content for its new streaming service. Simple as that. They just bought a ton more content and can now basically try to undercut Netflix, Prime and Hulu. This sucks for consumers, and will make streaming crappy like cable/satellite is. ANd you’ll have to pay for more subscriptions to get what you want.