Growing up, Disney movies were my primary form of entertainment. From animated movies like "Aladdin" to the classic Disney Channel afternoon lineup with "Gargoyles," a lot of my adolescence was shaped by a company focused on making families happy around the world. Disney has been successful in creating a generation-spanning series in their Marvel Cinematic Universe and bringing in record box office numbers year in and year out. Unfortunately, all that glitter is not gold. When it comes to the preservation of the industry as a whole, frankly, Disney does not give a damn.
We are over a decade into Disney's relentless overtaking of the film industry that has seen numerous studios get pulled into its bubble, most noticeably Lucasfilm Ltd. and Fox. Not to mention, we absorb a massive amount of Disney on television with any ABC owned network being a subsidiary of Disney. According to Carlos Aguilar from Cartoon Brew, television channels like History, Lifetime, Vice, A&E and ESPN are all subsidiaries of Disney.
Disney is even taking over streaming, having numerous movies contracted out to places like Netflix and Amazon as well as running their own service. The reach of Disney is far, and while this is a little off-putting, it is not even the biggest issue the company's expansion presents.
For years, Disney has relied on the "Disney Vault" to drum up the scarcity of their products, removing them from time to time to artificially increase prices for new generations. It has happened with VHS to DVD and DVD to Blu-Ray, and now, we are seeing some movies released from the vault for the UHD era. It is a nice little trick, making your fanbase pay $40 for "The Lion King" for the fifth time because it will "look better in 4k." I suppose it is a company you can trust with upscaling their animation considering the ratio of "The Simpsons" on Disney Plus cut entire visual gags out of the frame, as reported by Richard Lawler from Engadget.
According to Ryan Faughnder with the LA Times, the placement of Fox's library into vaults may not seem that big of an issue, but there is an entire industry of indie-circuit theaters which rely on replays of Fox films such as "Fight Club," "Die Hard," "The Princess Bride" and "Alien" to keep their business afloat through the years.
These theaters are not big enough for Disney to care about housing their large MCU or Disney/Pixar releases. On top of that, their decision to pull the plug on allowing films like "Fight Club" and "Die Hard" to be shown drastically hurts smaller, local movie theaters.
Who cares about old movies you can buy or stream at home? The death of small theaters takes away a large beacon of hope for underrepresented filmmakers to put their works out for people to see. This is another threat to an industry that is already controlled by a handful of titan companies.
Disney does not care about the art of filmmaking anymore, opting to replace the classic style with exhilarating thrill-ride concepts. They are leaning into what the people want to see. Disney wants to play underhanded tricks and eliminate anything that takes eyes off of their new products as quickly as they can. Disney is the evil, mustache-twirling villain they have presented to us for years.
There is nothing wrong with liking the films they provide, but ignoring the repercussions of Disney's actions on the industry as a whole is problematic. It is really ironic to see people argue about underrepresented groups in filmmaking, which is still needed, but in that same social media post, they praise Disney and defend them for keeping their backlog out of independent theaters.
You should make an effort to support a production company that not only cares about equal representation but also does not try to constantly bring your attention to it. It always sucks to see your heroes live long enough to become the villain, but perhaps we should have known they were the villain after "Song of the South."