The Pros and Cons of the Disney Empire
I am an avid Disney fan. From my earliest days I can remember some of my happiest memories coming from the creations made by the Disney Corporation. From their vast array of entertainment products and services, the level of satisfaction that I have with their productions are incredibly high. That enjoyment has only increased as I've gotten older, especially as a parent, as I am now able to share in the experience with my children.
There is a level of quality that I can easily associate with when it comes to Disney-helmed productions is one I am always comfortable presenting to my children while also knowing that it won't be a bore to me. It is an organization that has grown to absurd proportions, however, that can be considered concerning. In 2019, one out of every 3 movie tickets purchased were for a Disney production. While that may signal how beloved their films are, it also shows a strong lack in diversity and what audiences either attend or are exposed to. They are also ruthless with business practices. For example, Disney required all movie theaters that wished to have the most recent Star Wars film played that if they had IMAX screens it must show Star Wars on that screen and nothing else...even though the most recent Star Wars film wasn't shot in IMAX, but other films that wished to be released around that time were.
As much as it is easy to criticize Disney for many of their business practices, consumers still have other options to spend their money elsewhere, and yet they continue to return to the Mouse House. Other studios spend millions upon millions marketing their products, and yet the customer continues to support Disney.
It’s hard to say whether this is just a very hot time for the company, as 2019 was the culmination of many large properties coming to a conclusion (Marvel with “Endgame”, and Star Wars with “Rise of Skywalker”), highly demanded sequels being released (Frozen II and to a lesser extent Toy Story 4), and just about every Disney Animation Renaissance movie having received their live adaptation, Disney already cashed a lot of their chips, and will now need to create new intellectual properties to stay on top.
Disney World is still a highly desired vacation destination, but if the past year taught the company anything, it’s that they can’t rest on their laurels and just assume that because they are so popular that they aren’t required to innovate and dazzle tourists to remain loyal. Despite the hype of the park’s Star Wars Galaxy Edge expansions, 2019 was not nearly as profitable as they were hoping.
The demands from those who focus more on spreadsheets and ticker tape may seem to be the death of creativity and innovation, but the history of the company has proven that whenever Disney sacrifices artistry and focuses more on efficiency, it has caused the company more harm than good. Disney is at its best when they push themselves to be the best, and thanks to them having the resources to do such a thing, the end result is usually to the advantage of us, the patron.
Corporations becoming all-consuming and a monopoly is never a good thing. It isn’t good for the economy, and once any legitimate competition is destroyed, the quality of the monopoly’s work begins to suffer. Still, despite Disney’s size, they are still at the mercy of us, the consumer, and as long as we are vocal not only in our words but our pocketbooks, we should hopefully see their commitment to quality and excellence remain.
Originally published on January 14, 2020