Disney (almost) officially purchased the entertainment side of 21st Century Fox, and while
Lemmings fans rejoice, here comes a dose of reality. What’s happening is a bad thing. An awful thing. For several reasons. And while the dreams of a new entry into the cookie-cutter Marvel Cinematic Universe now featuring the X-Men might seem worth it, the consequences of this ever-growing monopoly are certainly not worth its weight in CGI.
Disney is not known for pushing the envelope.
Let’s pretend Marvel films are good and not forgettable b-movies with 300 million dollar budgets. Okay, fine, I’ll believe the truth, and you can keep pretending. X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool and the rest are now part of the MCU. Each franchise will now get the focus-group treatment. And we’ll get more superhero movies. Great. But what will we get? More of the same. Part of the appeal of Deadpool is that it wasn’t more of the same. Logan pushed the envelope of what a comic book movie could be. Disney is not known for pushing the envelope. If anything, they’ll just mass-produce the envelop and put the Disney logo on it.
So, above, is the mildly good, short-term news. Here’s the long-term reality. Disney is already pushing to monopolize theaters with Star Wars. With even more power, this is going to happen without much resistance. Disney will eradicate all competition at many local movie houses, leaving the chance for the next Star Wars or great pop culture gem from making a mark. The film industry as a whole, outside of Disney, will suffer.
But Disney’s move to vacuum up all geekiness
has political consequences too.
The streaming game has now changed too. The Fox deal gives Disney a majority control of Hulu. The move puts them in the game with Netflix and Amazon to suck up streaming viewers. It all makes sense considering the recent announcement of Disney’s plans for a new streaming home for its content. And sooner or later, Disney will either buy Netflix too or pull all its content, and FOX content, off of Netflix.
We’re a pop culture site focused on the fun, geeky stuff we all love. But Disney’s move to vacuum up all geekiness has political consequences too. Fox is selling all the entertainment portions of its operations which gives its news side more capital to play with. Consider that Disney just gave FOX News more money to peddle their brand of cable-news nonsense.
The biggest problem with a deal like this is that it just makes it even easier for Disney to grow more. With more power like this and more control over major brands, other studios like NBCUniversal will struggle to keep pace. Ultimately, barring some sudden shift in pop culture or the economy, Disney will be big enough to buy Universal too. And then what?
A deal like this only ends with Disney owning the vast majority of Hollywood, giving them ultimate power to control what we see on a daily basis. As it is, choices are limited already, and this only makes it all the worse.
A shadow is looming over the entertainment industry,
and it’s in the shape of mouse ears.
UPDATE (12/15/17): Don’t want to believe my gloom and doom message? How about the Writers Guild of America, yeah, the people who write the movies we all love? They had this to say …
“In the relentless drive to eliminate competition, big business has an insatiable appetite for consolidation. Disney and Fox have spent decades profiting from the oligopolistic control that the six major media conglomerates have exercised over the entertainment industry, often at the expense of the creators who power their television and film operations. Now, this proposed merger of direct competitors will make matters even worse by substantially increasing the market power of a combined Disney-Fox corporation. The antitrust concerns raised by this deal are obvious and significant. The Writers Guild of America West strongly opposes this merger and will work to ensure our nation’s antitrust laws are enforced.”