The Rise of Disney

This week the Walt Disney Company expanded their brand once more by announcing their streaming service, DisneyPlus. With original content and hundreds of titles, DisneyPlus shows us just how diverse Disney’s brand has become.

Photo Credit: Disney

In 24-hours, 16 million people watched the new teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Now sitting at just under 25 million views, the teaser marks the end of the Disney-led Star Wars era – at least for now. And while many were suspicious of Disney’s foray into the galaxy far far away initially, it seems as if those same people will be the ones mourning the end of an era come December 19th. The Star Wars franchise has made Walt Disney over $4.8 billion dollars – a profit from the 4.08 billion they spent purchasing Lucasfilm initially in 2012. Back then, the purchase was a surprise for many and a worry for some. There were fearful whispers of Disney’s growing monopoly over the film industry and a paranoia that all of Hollywood would soon be painted with those signature Mickey ears.

The purchase came just three years after Disney bought Marvel for $4.24 billion and six years after they acquired Pixar in a deal worth $7.2 billion. If Disney was staging the economic equivalent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, then they were doing so with building momentum. Just last month these fears reignited when 20th Century Fox fell victim to the expanding Walt Disney conglomerate.

These days we’ve accepted – perhaps with some resignation – the various faces of the Disney corporation birthed from these deals. During the announcement of their streaming service DisneyPlus last week, it was no surprise to see such a divergent range of titles. There’s all of Marvel, The Simpsons, Deadpool, The Sound of Music, The Princess Bride and Star Wars. What we expect from Disney: the princess fantasies and talking woodland creatures coated in pixie dust, are there too, but they’re just one part of an increasing number of cinematic worlds. In fact, Disney already has a majority ownership of Hulu and ESPN; so even DisneyPlus is just one singular world amid an expanding universe of streaming.

It might be easy – and perhaps warranted – to look at the colossal state of Disney with fear; to imagine that Disney has constructed the economic equivalent of a Death Star. But amid these continuing discussions about Disney monopolising competition, or homogenising the market, the Disney brand still shimmers with gold. Basically, despite their expanding diversity, the Disney brand remains relatively unscathed and even increasingly constant.

It may have seemed an impossibility to imagine Deadpool, Star Wars and Frozen in the same vein ten years ago but Disney has successfully embraced (consumed) them without sacrificing how consumers see their brand. Storm troopers march through Disneyland beside a laughing Donald Duck, and the white towers of the Magic Castle cast an embracing shadow over them both. Despite the differing cinematic styles, characters and settings that now fall under the Disney company banner, the whimsy – and the nostalgic history – of an animated mouse wearing white gloves is too strong to shake and there’s something terrifyingly artful about that.

Plus, Disney has had corporate domination ingrained into its image since the beginning.

Are you as excited as we are for DisneyPlus? Let us know in the comments below.