Disney officially took control of Fox this week, to the seeming delight of most nerd culture websites. There were endless articles about what this would mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for X-Men, for the Fantastic Four, but very few about what this meant for the industry and world at large.
You see the thing is with the acquisition of Fox Disney now owns pretty much all of pop culture. That’s not hyperbole that’s just a fact. They own their original stable of Disney characters of course, as well as Pixar and its characters. They own Marvel and all that that entails, and they own Star Wars. With Fox under their belt too they own X-Men, Deadpool, the Simpsons, Planet of the Apes, Avatar, Alien, Predator, and a fair few more.
Disney owns a terrifying amount of franchises now. Chances are that any cinema in the land, yes including the Phoenix Cinema, will have at least two films owned by Disney playing at all times. That kind of pervasiveness is, frankly, terrifying.
We’re in Cornwall though. We tend to be quite sheltered from the big decisions down in our sleepy little corner of the world. It doesn’t matter to us, right? Wrong.
From just a quick look at what’s on at the cinema this week I can see three different movies owned by Disney. If we look at the UK box office for this year only two companies really dominate, Warner Bros and Disney. Last year is the same, with four of the top five grossing films of the year coming from Disney or Fox.
This is seeming rather like Disney building a monopoly over pop culture if you ask me. Now not a monopoly in the traditional sense, but more in the way the Amazon, Facebook, and Google have created monopolies. While the classic monopoly is a case of a single company dominating a market place so you have to go to them, and then cranking up the prices of their products or services, they new age monopolies seem to be a bit more insidious.
Yes they’re making money by the boatful, but it’s not by pushing prices up. It’s by dropping them so low that smaller companies cannot afford to compete. Its by buying out competitors so that no matter where you shop they get a bit of the cash. It has been going on for years and antitrust laws should have stepped in by now, but lawmakers seem to be stuck on that archaic view of monopolies.
Perhaps they should see just how much Disney now owns and reconsider their position.