Is anyone else perturbed by the fact that a conglomerate founded by a bodiless Nazi-symapthizer owns just about every beloved character in the history of cinema?
Okay, maybe just about every is an exaggeration. Batman, Superman, The Loony Toons, Harry Potter, and James Bond are free from the clutches of Mickey Mouse and his questionable band of beloved icons. However… the same cannot be said about many others, including: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Indiana Jones, Captain America, Captain Jack Sparrow, Thor, and most important of all, Mr. Feeney.
Not only does Disney own these characters and the rights to all future film properties, but some—if not many—fans are encouraging the house of mouse to swipe up the rights to the rest of the Marvel characters, Star Trek, and literally every other franchise under the sun if it means more consistent crowd-pleasers. Why are people so comfortable with one company monopolizing the industry’s blockbusters? What is it about formality that has people flocking to theaters to see movies that are light on plot, depth, and maturity?
The answer is simple.
Disney is a childhood staple of the millennial generation. Trips to Disneyworld are sacred, and recollections of going to the theme park are essential to any middle or upper class child’s memory. We may not have grown up with the original line-up of animated characters but in their place we had Woody, Buzz, Simba, Ariel, and the list goes on.
This generation in particular has, in a subtle way, slowed or ceased maturity with the use of the internet. Nostalgia is a click away. Netflix has every show from your childhood. There are others out there, just like you, that miss the good ole days of playing with building blocks and watching KaBlam! (Yes, I know that KaBlam is a Nickelodeon show, but the idea still applies.)
Childless 20- to 30-year-olds are lining up at the theater to be first in line to see the next Pixar film. They’re creating Tumblr blogs and fan-sites that not only celebrate Disney princesses and heroes, but alter their depictions and sexualize them in a way that is disturbing to imagine.
There is, in fact, a blog dedicated solely to anonymous ‘Disney Sex Confessions’ where people reveal their inner most desires about these cartoon characters. How a person could ever work up a hard-on over Scrooge McDuck is beyond me.
At the end of the day, Disney’s monopolization of blockbusters outside of the Warner Bros. lot will have a mixed effect on the film industry. On one hand, it’s almost a sure guarantee that you’ll see more ‘kid friendly’, formulaic versions of Marvel-vehicles and Spielberg/Lucas properties. On the other hand, it’ll provide an opening to new ideas and rival concepts. Studios will have to bring something new to the table to compete with Disney’s worldwide popularity. The dawn of a new wave, free of superhero and child-centric moneymakers, may be upon us sooner than you think.
Or… we’ll be smothered to death by more of the same; force-fed well-packaged, predictable movies from a company beloved so dearly, while the rest of the industry bleeds out. And we, like the childhood-clinging millennials that refuse to let their nostalgia breathe, will sit back and embrace it.