It’s a weird fact of life, but Disney currently produces 90% of the popular movies and tentpole blockbusters that we’ve spent the past decade going crazy for (I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve spent at the movies since Iron Man). It’s been a slow take over, but the Power-House of Mouse has become a serious name in the game.
From their full acquisition of Pixar in 2004 to their acquisition of Marvel in 2009 and their purchase of Lucasfilm, THX, and Skywalker Sound in 2012, it was a little concerning how much studio influence they were building, and then the Fox merger happened.
If you don’t know Disney recently purchased 21st Century Fox for a grand total of $71 Billion dollars. You can read more about the deal in my previous article.
Today, Disney basically owns the market in kids and family animation, tentpole blockbusters, as well as wedging into the streaming game with their new Disney Plus. They’re also in the Oscar game now that they own Fox’s subsidiary, Fox Searchlight (a branch of Fox responsible for producing just about every best picture nominee of the past few years including: The Shape of Water, Birdman, and 12 Years A Slave).
Not to mention, 2019 looks to be one of Disney’s most lucrative years with their streaming service launching (which will include live-action Star Wars and Marvel series and is projected be on its way to becoming a $6Billion business. 2019 is also going to be seeing films like Captain Marvel, Avengers 4, Toy Story 4, and the live action Lion King and Aladdin films. Two of those movies (Avengers 4 and Toy Story 4) are sequels to films that have grossed over $1Billion dollars and with Lion King pretty much assured a Billion dollar turn out… Disney is already looking at well over several billion in movie profits in 2019 alone; Disney really is the place where dreams come true.
So what does this mean for the rest of the players in the game? Well for the time being, it looks like other movie studios are going to be dredging anything up that remotely had financial success. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Warner Bros. is bringing back their Harry Potter franchise in a big way, for better or worse shelling out five Fantastic Beasts movies and creating the Wizarding World multimedia franchise that all future Harry Potter films will be bannered under.
Sony’s definitely not letting go of their Spider-Man rights anytime soon, I can tell you that much. And their confusing decision to try and make their own shared universe around their leftover Spider-Man characters makes way more sense now. As well as the news that Universal is rebooting their Shrek franchise. Every movie studio is desperately wishing upon a star and trying to do anything that will give them any kind of edge against Mickey and his borderline monopoly.
While that might sound scary that’s actually good news for movie goers. The film industry is changing fast. Not only is Disney taking over everything, but there’s a rise in creator driven content. Netflix changed the game by offering up hundreds of independent titles and YouTube Red financing their own films and T.V shows puts us in a new world where more and more films can gain an audience without big studios all together.
It means we’re probably going to see a few more mindless blockbusters that are probably geared towards a Chinese audience (Take last year’s The Meg as a blueprint) before studios realise that’s not sustainable. Afterwards, it’s my guess that studios will turn towards freshly graduated film students and indie directors for help. This happened before in the 70s after a studio shake up, executives turned to newbies Lucas, Spielberg, Scorsese and Coppola, you know the guys that gave us every movie we’ve ever loved.
To make a long story short, yeah Disney is terrifying, but they could be the necessary evil we need in order to bring in a new era of how to make movies and creativity into Hollywood.