Culture Movies Politics

The Dark Side of Disney

Like many suckers, I saw Star Wars opening night.  My local independent movie theater runs a promotion where you can see a movie for $6 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  They released Star Wars on a Thursday, so I rolled up to the counter with twelve bucks, ready to pay for me and my boyfriend.

“That’ll be $24,” said the teller.

“But it’s Thursday.”

“Special engagements excluded.  Sorry.”

My boyfriend handed over his card and we stepped out of line.

Then a senior woman tried buying a ticket.

“That’ll be $12.”

“Oh, but it’s Thursday.”

“Special engagements excluded.  Sorry.”

“I am also a senior,” the lady said, reaching for her ID.

“Sorry, Ma’am.  Disney has really been cracking down on ticket prices.  Everyone pays $12.”

I’ve got a few opinions on this.  Before I begin, let me say this blog is called Critic of Everything and I just used the word “opinion”, so if you’re planning on reading my article and flaming me for being an obnoxious armchair critic, duh.  Of course I am.  If you thought Star Wars was fantastic and worship at the altar of Star Wars or Marvel every season, good for you.  But I’m not going to mindlessly praise a company that, quite frankly, wants too much.

Second of all, what do you think made people critics in the first place?  You had to have a TV show.  A newspaper.  A magazine.  A website.  Not everyone can have a website.  GUESS WHAT.  We are the real critics.  And guess who decides which movies are hits and which movies are flops?  We do.  Me and you.  The paying public.  Not any of a small handful of people who control the film industry.  Not journalists.  We buy the tickets.  We have the power.

That said, the paying public is quite susceptible to effective marketing (see also: The 2016 election).  That’s why “critics” (like me) feel the need to share opinions contrary to marketing, as marketing usually says “SEE THIS MOVIE IT’S AMAZING”.

Whether Star Wars was good or not is really not the point.  The point is, Disney has a net worth of $92 billion,  made over $55 billion last year, ranks #52 on the Fortune 500 List, and has enough money to buy whoever they want (Read: Fox).  CEO Bob Iger makes $44 million a year. And they STILL won’t give a little old lady a discount on Discount Thursday.

The problem I have is this: Disney pretends to be a wholesome company.  Their movies have themes like following your dreams, believing in magic, and good triumphing over evil.   Disney doesn’t care about your dreams.  They care about their money.

Hollywood is a dark place.  I was raised in Los Angeles and the #MeToo campaign surprised no one.  This is an industry practiced in treating people poorly.  It’s one of the industries that still has strong, active unions to protect workers’ rights, though even those can get pretty cutthroat.

Women aren’t the only people working in Hollywood who have been abused, and sexual isn’t the only kind of harassment.  Hollywood studios like Disney have been treating people unfairly FOR YEARS.  Disney’s reach extends way beyond the entertainment industry.  They have stakes in tourism, food, apparel, and even politics.  It’s important to me that companies with a lot of influence also have a lot of accountability, and that companies don’t treat people like trash.

We vote with our wallets.  I hope you don’t just mindlessly see a Disney movie because “OMG Disney”.  By all means, Disney makes some great movies.  But think about where they’re coming from.  Disney is not on the same side of the force as Rey and Luke.  They’re on that weird Benecio Del Toro character’s side.


I’ll probably still see the next Star Wars… but I’ll wait till its $6.

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