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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Disney is dying: TV shows are to blame.

Empires always fall and Disney is no exception, but where did they go wrong?
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
Empires always fall and Disney is no exception, but where did they go wrong?

Is anyone excited for Disney’s next animated film “Wish”? I keep up with the Disney machine rather well, knowing about every upcoming project they have for franchises such as “Marvel,” “Star Wars,” “Pixar,” and classic live-action remakes. However, this flew under my radar for a big reason, but not because it isn’t part of a large franchise.

Recently released independent Disney films, like “Elemental” and “Encanto,” have gotten my attention, but not “Wish”. The concept, in theory, is also interesting enough, a 17-year-old girl named Asha wishes on a star when she senses a darkness in the Kingdom of Rosas that no one else does.

So why has this just escaped me and what looks to be most other Disney fanatics? Even the main trailer reflects this, getting only 7.5 million views in a month vs the “Inside Out 2” trailer’s 11 million views in just 7 days.

Disney has driven itself into a corner that will lead to a downward spiral for the empire. This all began the second Disney started buying out other franchises, and now that they have so much content they honestly just don’t know what to do with it. 

Pixar animation studios, in my opinion, was one of Disney’s best investments, buying them in 2006 gave them creative storytellers and incredibly skilled artists. The problem is that they were outdoing them in terms of creative content, while Disney was producing nothing on the same level as Pixar. 

“If you can’t beat them, buy them out” must have been Disney’s motto as they continued to buy out the most creative content we’ve seen in modern times. In August 2009, Disney bought Marvel Entertainment and in 2012 bought out Lucasfilm and became the owner of the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises.  

Now, Disney has an excess of stories and fans’ expectations grow rapidly. The response is, of course, to produce all the different content. How do they do it? Make a bunch of weekly TV series of course! Who needs the million dollars we make at the box office from producing feature-length films?

Well if you aren’t releasing it in theaters where does the content go? Easy, the streaming service we’ve made for only $13.99 a month is the 3rd most popular streaming service. This is one of Disney’s big problems. They aren’t charging more for these dozens of series they’re making. If they did they would get a bunch of fun backlash from fans. 

But now the question is, where are they making this money back? They aren’t. We see it in all their recent content, where there’s lower quality in production, advertising, and just fan excitement. 

This idea of using shows to fill in the blanks between movie releases is incredibly flawed. Not only are they producing way too many shows for the average fan to be able to consume, but they aren’t making as much money back as a theatrical release because only so many people will buy a streaming service. Spoiler: If they haven’t by now they aren’t going to.

From a storytelling standpoint, there are some shows that I think do benefit from being TV shows. “Loki”, which just had its season two release, benefits from this because it’s such a big concept with alternate timelines outside of the MCU than what we’ve seen thus far. Yes, this will affect the larger universe but it has its own story.

A bad example of the Marvel show not working in the bigger universe, specifically with inconsistent character development, is “WandaVision” with “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” coming directly after. We watch Wanda make the same mistakes in both and what I hate even more is that the show did it better! 

A show I wish had been a movie is “Secret Invasion”.  Disney has no defense for this, it is meant to be the biggest twist in the MCU ever and having it as a side story spy-thriller show was just awful.

Disney has proven they can make a TV show work but the question they need to answer is, “Is it worth making a TV show work at the cost of a film”? With the release “The Marvels,” which is already tanking with a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I hope Disney decides to invest more in quality over quantity. 

My bet is Sony or DreamWorks will take over the top spot in creative storytelling in animation, they’ve been doing good work.


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About the Contributor
Bree Lavine
Bree Lavine, Editor-in-Chief
Bree is a Freshman from High Point, North Carolina who is a Creative writing major and a film minor. Bree was a staff writer for the Guilfordian last semester and is now the Feature editor and is writing her own column 'Bree's Breeze on Culture' that explores things like anime, T.V. Shows, and movies. Aside from that Bree spends her time playing video games, drawing, hanging out with friends, and working on her own novel.

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