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Friday, May 10, 2019

Disney Dominates and That's Bad For The Cinema

Disney will account for roughly 40% of U.S. box office admissions this year - and that is NOT good for the industry. Yes, Disney makes great films. Yes, Disney has the movie franchises that generate the really big box office bucks (Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Avatar, to name several). Yes, Disney deserves all the kudos it gets for being a well managed mass media/content company. BUT, is this good for the movie industry?

In looking at the Disney movie roster the theme is all about catering to a younger audience. Fan-based films with high-impact special effects, light plots with cult-driven character development, all bolstered by massive marketing budgets and tie-ins with merchandising and theme park attractions.

Star Wars fans were all aglow recently when Disney announced that it would be producing three more franchise films after 'The Rise of Skywalker' which will be released later this year.


The question: Is it good for the industry to have one studio dominate the box office the way Disney does?  Should the 25 of so films that generate close to 50% of the box office gross bode well for the film community in the long-run?

CMG's take is that it doesn't matter! The top 50 films, out of a universe of 600+ each year, account for about 70% of the entire box office - and this scenario has been going on for years. CMG has termed the other 550+ films (which includes all of the films that win all of the awards) marquee fodder. Fillr'-ins between the releases of the big, currently Disney-dominated, franchise films.

Right or wrong this is the current state of the cinema business and the only competition to Disney are the content streamers. I don't believe Bob Iger worries too much about the other HWD studios, but he does lose sleep over Netflix, Amazon, and Apple.

Jim Lavorato
President, Entertainment Equipment Corp.

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