Kristin Lene Hole
Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Film and University Honors
Mass media -- Social aspects, Walt Disney Pictures, Motion picture industry -- United States, Independent filmmakers
The Walt Disney Company is undoubtedly a monopoly in the media industry space. Their impressive acquisitions have expanded their portfolio to corner the market in nearly every genre. Most recently, the company has hired independent directors in hopes of re-invigorating and creating variety between multiple brands and franchises. But the directors’ authoritative voices are lost under the Disney brand, which I argue overshadows independent autonomy and potentially envelopes the rest of the media market. Brandishing this massive media force, Disney (and its other subsidiary branches) promotes palatable, conservative leaning “family friendly” content that leads to a wider chance of profit. Despite a desired variety, the directors still work under a multi-billion-dollar business that expects to sell to the widest market available. This foregoes the power of independent cinema as a commanding voice and perpetuates a commercialized industry where artistry is lost to the promise of profit. To look at this problem, I will be in conversation with the discourse of media industry, media convergence and monopoly. This examination provides a detailed history of Disney’s business model that has set the rest of Hollywood in financial submission. I will also look at two directorial collaborations (Black Panther (2018), Thor Ragnarök (2017)) and critical and scholarly discussions surrounding them, highlighting the censorship of topical issues, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, neo-colonialism, masculinity, and indigenous directors. By using these specific analyses in reference to the media industry, I reflect upon the negative effects of the standardization under the Disney Monopoly.
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Dawson, Hannah Z., "Disney's Reign Over Independent Cinema: How Mega-corporations are Commercializing Creativity" (2020). University Honors Theses. Paper 941.