Excuse Me, Did You Think Monopoly: Or How Disney is Quickly Becoming Our Media Overlords

So, I don’t know if I’ve made this clear, but I am not a supporter of capitalism with the 1% having everything and the rest of us kind of living paycheck to paycheck. I’m sure Theodore Roosevelt would be rolling around in his grave if he knew the extent of Disney’s holdings.

Before we get to the Mouse, however, let’s define the monopoly and what holdings Disney actually has, then we’ll talk about the Fox merger, the Spider-man thing, and how the Mouse seems to also pretty much be cool with Star Wars and Marvel doing their own thing.

A Monopoly (from the Greek) exists when an enterprise (or person) is the only supplier of a particular commodity (in this case, entertainment, though we do have some other media conglomerates currently).  They are characterized by a lack of economic competition to produce a good or service, a lack of viable substitue goods, and the possibility of a high price that leads to a high profit.

So let’s look at this logically: Disney doesn’t really have competition or a spending rival so to speak, as it appears in the media. They bought Fox straight up and the juggernaut of Star Wars and Marvel are also under the umbrella. Of course, they always had the Disney princess lineup and their films, but this seems a bit more than the classic Walt Disney I grew up.

Here’s where it gets interesting: In many jurisdictions, competition laws restrict monopolies (hi Teddy Roosevelt!), but holding a dominant position or a monopoly in a market is often not illegal in itself. BUT there are certain categories of behavior that can be considered abusive and can incur legal sanctions when a business is dominant. (Which we have yet to see and as the Senate is vastly pro-corporation, it’s doubtful to happen in this election cycle.)

Now, what are Disney’s holdings: Well, we have Walt Disney Pictures, ABC, Fx, Freeform, National Geographic, Marvel Studios, Star Wars, Disney Parks (Including Disneyland, Disney World, and EuroDisney among others), D23 (their exhibition every year), Fox Searchlight Pictures, Pixar, Blue Sky Studios, Lucas Film (including Industrial Light & Magic), LucasArts, Skywalker Sound, Buena Vista Theatres, Disney Music Publishing, Hollywood Records, Walt Disney Records, Disney Theatrical Productions, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Radio Disney, It’s a Laugh Productions, ESPN, A&E Networks, Lifetime (yeah, Disney owns your mom’s soul too), The History Channel, The Disney Store, Disney Magazine, Disney Cruise Line, Disney+ (coming in November), ESPN+, Hulu, Oh My Disney, several international channels in various countries, Marvel Comics, Marvel Animation, Disney Legends, and that’s only naming a small fraction of the holdings. There’s a bunch of holdings they have that I’m not even sure what they are or what they do.

So like I said, Disney owns a lot. So, my friend Leon who runs Renegade Cut, a video essay series on YouTube, summed up the Spider-man deal here:

Side note: I have not seen Venom or Spider-man: Far From Home.

Other side note: Good on Sony for not being strong armed by Disney. Come at me, haters.

And yes, I know the fanboys are all like “But Spider-man should be in the MCU still and Sony sucks.” Yeah, well, unless you’re sitting at the negotiating table? Slow your roll there, Chad.

Disney owns about 36% of the entertainment industry which is a LOT. And as this is very close to the ten year aniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe being a Disney entity, I figured it would be worth mentioning exactly why people think it’s a monopoly, which Leon pretty much summed up extraordinarily above.

But that doesn’t mean, I have nothing to say. According to The Verge, Disney has had the most successful year of any movie studio ever with 7.67 billion dollars in the first SEVEN MONTHS of 2019.

I mean, it’s okay that Disney now owns the Fantastic Four and the X-Men for Marvel again? But is it really worth it for them to be our corporate entertainment overlords just so we can get a decent Doctor Doom who’s not a whiny so-and-so?

I mean, I don’t exactly see how it’s good that they are gobbling up everything, but hey, I only have a degree in superheroes right? I mean IndieWire has discussed that Fox Searchlight Pictures can become New Line Cinema which would be a good route for it to go, but as far as that goes, we’ll have to play the time game.

But Disney isn’t all bad: I mean, it’s a huge part of my childhood. Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and a few others basically are my nostalgia trip. And Disney + looks promising with new shows and vaulted stuff coming. The packaging of Hulu, ESPN, and Disney + doesn’t hurt either as I already have Hulu, I want to watch hockey, and I would like to see some of the Disney Channel original movies again. I mean: “At launch, Disney+ will have more than 500 feature films and over 7,500 show episodes, including Disney’s entire movie library and its full Pixar and The Simpsons catalogues.” So, it’s going to basically be Netflix, but better because Disney? They keep touting quality over quantity, but we’ll see about that.

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Don’t get me wrong, Moon Knight, The Mandalorian, and freaking Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) all look amazing, but they are part of an empire that keeps expanding under Iger.

I will say though that Snow White is still awesome for helping that autistic boy.

Look, the Mouse is in our lives now, but that doesn’t mean we should just give up and love the monopoly. Teddy Roosevelt is so disappointed in the fanboys of the MCU right now, you guys. Just so disappointed.

Posted on September 2, 2019, in Cultural Sustainability, Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. There’s a lot that I’m expecting from the Disney+ service, but there may be things that Disney will hold back (i.e., Song of the South, the original unedited Fantasia, some of the 1970’s comedies that have not … aged … well).

    Also, there’s a whole universe of Spider-Man that Sony can exploit without needing to integrate with the MCU – we still haven’t seen villains like Kraven the Hunter, which would be a totally psychological battle. And I still hold out hope for a Spider-Man team-up with Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland in a “Spider-Verse” style episode (hell, throw in Nicholas Hammond from the 1970’s Spider-Man TV series and I’ll be in heaven). Plus, you’ve also got characters like Black Cat, Spider-Gwen, and an updated Venom that will help Sony print lots of money. In other words, Spidey in the MCU is amazing … but Spidey can be amazing on his own. Remember, the comic was originally titled “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

    Just wait until Disney buys DC Comics in oh let’s say 2025 or so … you want to see fanboys go nuts over a Batman-Wolverine team-up? It would happen so quickly …

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