Movies, magic and more. This is what, for over 75 years, the Walt Disney Company has stood for. From theme parks which represent the pinnacle of resort vacationing to films which have captured the hearts of viewers since 1939’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the Disney logo is stitched within the fabric of modern day entertainment. However, has the magic kingdom of Disney become an empire?
On March 20, 2019, the Disney Company acquired Fox Studios. This purchase has already been regarded as one of the most monumental and controversial in film history. After months of legal debate, the Federal Court decided to allow Disney the purchase of the dying studio. However, many—both in the industry and out—felt the purchase was unethical, and allowed the Disney company to have a monopoly over one of the most profitable industries in the world.
Previous to their acquisition of Fox, the Disney Company acquired Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm—all under the guidance of CEO Bob Iger. This gave Disney the ownership of three of the most profitable film franchises of all time: Pixar Animation, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars. The purchase of Fox is merely another feather in Iger’s cap, allowing president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige access to the incredibly popular X-Men. In fact, the last X-Men film released by Fox before the Disney acquisition—“Dark Phoenix”—crashed and burned brighter than its protagonist Jean Grey (played by Sophie Turner of “Game of Thrones”) at the box office, while fans began to speculate who would be cast as Wolverine and Mystique—two of X-Men’s most popular characters.
Labeled “The Disney Empire,” this new Disney Studios has multiple verticals: their animated musicals, live action remakes, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars, has already proven nearly impossible for other studios to compete against. All five of these verticals consistently produce $1 billion pictures at the box office. One of Disney’s greatest competitors,Warner Brothers, sat out the summer of 2019 in fear of competing against Disney’s films. The highly anticipated sequel to Wonder Woman was pushed back to 2020, only to find a new Disney competitor in Marvel’s solo Black Widow movie.
Already the monopoly the Disney Empire holds has taken effect over Hollywood—with Disney taking 35 percent of the 2019 box office so far and getting a record-breaking five films into the billion dollar club. And with predicted animation juggernaut “Frozen II” coming out this November, a lineup of three Marvel films a year through 2021 and highly anticipated streaming service Disney+ launching this Thanksgiving, it does not appear Disney’s hold will slacken anytime soon.
Mickey Mouse has put on his boxing gloves, and is prepared to take on all of Hollywood. Who will step into the ring?
Kathryn Spadafora can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org