When it was first announced that Disney would acquire 20th Century Fox, many people celebrated the fact that some of Marvel’s biggest names, the X-Men and Fantastic Four, would now be under control of the “House of Mouse.” But that is only a small part of the equation. As a result of the acquisition, Disney is now the most powerful entertainment business in the entire world. The question becomes, is that good thing or will it unleash a powerful tool for progressive ideology.
In 2018, it was announced that 20th Century Fox would be purchased by Disney for $71.3 billion. The merger would mean that the number of major Hollywood studios would be reduced from six to five. The properties that were included in the deal were the aforementioned Marvel characters, Fox Studios, Fox Searchlight, Fox 2000 Pictures, FX, National Geographic, another animation studio and a significant stake in the streaming platform Hulu. In addition, Disney already owns Lucas Films (‘Star Wars’ franchise), Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, ESPN, Marvel Studios, Disney Parks, ABC, ABC Studios, various Disney Channels, History Channel, A&E, Vice Media, Lifetime and a variety of other properties.
According to reports, the acquisition resulted in Disney having a 36% share of the movie market, a historic number, and approximately 44% of the U.S. television business. Its closest competitor is Warner Brothers, with about 16% of the movie market. Disney has already broken its own studio worldwide record for box office returns with more than $8 billion this year alone, with Avengers: Endgame now being the highest grossing film of all time. And with other franchise favorites coming out later this year, including the latest Star Wars and Frozen II, that number will continue to grow. For the foreseeable future, it looks like avoiding Disney-influenced or produced properties is next to impossible.
That likely isn’t a good thing. The power Disney now has means that the company can continue to push a progressive, often LGBT-focused agenda in the future without much pushback or competition from other studios. Even if consumers complain, Disney has little reason to change the direction that it is going as it has enough money and clout to do whatever it wants.
The studio is already putting little nods to same sex relationships in various properties for younger viewers, including one aimed at preschool children, which we reported on here at The Daily Citizen. Marvel Studios plans to soon have a gay character and more representation in their films, which started in Spiderman: Far From Home with a transgender cast member. Disney already announced its first openly gay character in The Jungle Cruise film coming out next year. There are also questions about if Elsa from Frozen will be identified as a lesbian in the sequel (this is still a rumor but a highly popular one).
The LGBT content will likely show up unexpectedly and more frequently in Disney’s new streaming service, set to launch later this year. As there is less oversight with streaming services versus broadcasting, it could be a place where Disney could stretch the agenda even further and slip in LGBT-related or other progressive content without most parents knowing until it is too late.
In addition to pushing the LGBT agenda, there is another particularly sad casualty of the merger. Disney decided to dissolve a production deal between Fox and faith-based filmmaker DeVon Franklin, who is responsible for films like this year’s hit Breakthrough and Miracles from Heaven and The Star. It has been difficult for Hollywood to get behind faith-based projects, and for Disney to decide to part ways with Franklin, who produced the only profitable Fox Studios property released by Disney this year in Breakthrough, demonstrates that Disney definitely wants to go in a different direction. It’s disappointing to say the least.
When it comes to entertainment, the House of Mouse is now the undisputed king. However, therein lies the problem. As Walt Disney himself said, “Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards ideals and objectives of normal adulthood.” The more power Disney has in entertainment, the more the company has the ability to shape young lives to its ideology.