The Walt Disney Company
- "Disney" redirects here. For other uses, see Disney (disambiguation).
|Name:||The Walt Disney Company|
|Country based in:||United States of America|
|Focus:||Media and entertainment|
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The Walt Disney Company, founded in 1923 by Walt Disney and his brother Roy, is an American media conglomerate best known for producing many popular animated films for children. Disney also owns the cable channel Disney Channel, theme parks, Marvel, ABC, and other movie studios, and has produced both animated and live-action television shows in addition to the hundreds of movies throughout its existence.
In addition to being well known for its movies, Disney is well known (and hated) for the effect it has had on copyright law in the United States. It is associated with the so-called "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" of 1988, for example.
In 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm, an acquisition that prompted many Disney/Star Wars gifs expressing Star Wars fans' fears of how the look of future Star Wars films would be affected. Disney's acquisition of Star Wars also led to controversy over the canon status of the Expanded Universe (EU). There is a filksong about this called "When You Wish Upon A Death Star".
The unfathomable size of the Disney conglomerate naturally leads to an enormous amount of fandoms associated with its various properties. Some fans describe themselves as being part of a general Disney fandom, though sometimes this is another way of describing the fandom of the Disney Princesses franchise or of the Disney Parks.
There's a veritable cottage industry of fanmade merchandise, encompassing subscription boxes, clothing, Minnie ear headbands, and many other things.
Well-known Disney movies
There are of course fandoms for many individual Disney movies.
- Alice in Wonderland
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Fox and the Hound
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- The Jungle Book
- Lady and the Tramp
- The Little Mermaid
- The Lion King
- Mary Poppins
- One Hundred and One Dalmatians
- Peter Pan
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- The Princess and the Frog
- The Rescuers
- Robin Hood
- Sky High
- Sleeping Beauty
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- Splash- first release under the Touchstone Pictures imprint
- The Sword in the Stone
- Treasure Planet
The theme parks have their own fandom. A certain friction exists between theme park fans and fans of the movies, since the former don't always appreciate the increased prevelance of Disney's movie intellectual properties in the parks.
Comics based on the company's characters are very popular in Europe in particular. A specific incarnation of its fandom is Donaldism, which concerns a very Watsonian approach to the Donald Duck comics.
Status as a conglomerate, discussions of monopoly
Anti-fandom, rivalries with other fandoms
Disney bought and closed several rival companies, in addition to being explicitly against the creation of derivative fanworks of its works, especially those involving Mickey Mouse. I recently buy p Estudio Blue Sky creator of the River and Ice Age trilogy, closing the studio and laying off many employees soon after to later release Ice Age sequels without a few characters due to copyright issues. Many fans accused the company of monopoly and unfair competition due to this.
In Furry Fandom
Disney adults are, as the name implies, adult fans of Disney (generally without children) who strongly and visibly enjoy the parks and movies. This form of the fandom attracts much derision. As professor of Religion Studies Jodi Eichler-Levine puts it:
The criticism of Disney adults doesn’t only stem from their heartfelt devotion to a megacorporation, however. Disney is dismissed because its fandom is often gendered as female (or effeminate) or caricatured as obsessive, limited and perversely childlike. Disney adults are mocked as “overgrown children” or for being overly emotional women. Think pieces on Disney adults also frequently focus on women. Check out the website Etsy, where a woman’s Disney-themed shirt says “Best day ever” while the man’s says “Most expensive day ever,” implying that the man is footing the bill for female obsession.
Don't Say Gay
After significant pressure from its employees, in early 2022 the Walt Disney company's CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against the controversial Floridian anti-LGBT bill known as “Don't Say Gay”. Despite its theme park located in that state facing enormous political pressure in retaliation as well as Chapek since being replaced with his predecessor, the company has not backed down.
Despite the company's overall stance, former employees have accused the company of being hesitant to commit to overt non-heterosexual affection in its animated films. Since then, the company has committed to increase LGBT representation.
Copyright enforcement and legislation lobbying
The Walt Disney Company is infamous for its lobbying that contributed to the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, derisively known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act. At the time the earliest depictions of Mickey Mouse were to soon lose copyright protection. The same will occur in 2024, but to date the company has not given any indication of lobbying for further extensions, instead relying on trademarks to protect their flagship character.
Disney Theme Parks Referenced in Non-Disney Fanworks
- For example: as of 2023, IMDb lists 806 titles associated with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
- See the Copyright Term Extension Act article on Wikipedia for more detail. (Accessed August 25, 2010)
- New York Times: Disney Agrees to Acquire Pixar in a $7.4 Billion Deal
- Disney To Acquire Marvel Entertainment
- Racked: Why Notoriously Litigious Disney Is Letting Fan Stores Thrive
- Los Angeles Times: They’re Disneyland superfans. Why a lawsuit is alleging gangster-like tactics against one social club
- NBC Think: Don’t judge Disney adults. Try to understand them.
- AP News: Disney sues DeSantis, calling park takeover ‘retaliation’
- Business Insider: Disney raised concerns about a same-sex kiss in the unreleased animated movie 'Nimona,' former Blue Sky staffers say
- PinkNews: Disney bosses promise huge increase in queer characters in major step for LGBT+ representation
- New York Times: Justices to Review Copyright Extension
- Artrepreneur: Will the Disney Copyright for Mickey Mouse Ever End?