By Corey "Salty Truth" Floyd
Discrimination at Disney has always been an issue. It's not hard to look up their troubled past. But things are better now, right? “We even have a Black Superhero!!” I hope you read this as sarcastically as I wrote it. I'm saying this because I'm noticing a trend coming from the House of Mouse. They are showing their discrimination in a new way—lack of Marketing.
Look at Strange World. It came out on November 23rd twelve days after Black Panther Wakanda Forever. It's almost as if they sent it out to die. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabrielle Union, and Jaboukie Young-White. White plays a significant role as Ethan Clade a Black Gay adventurer into parts unknown. I'm intrigued. Why would they do this movie like that? Putting a new IP in an already stacked market is unfair. They certainly didn't give this the type of push that movies like Onward or Lightyear were given. Hear me out, what if the new strategy is to make these movies with progressive characters and themes but not give them the traditional marketing push like they do with their “traditional” (Caucasian) counterparts?
Look at Encanto, this film was made by the same writers and directors behind Zootopia, Entangled, & Moana. Plus, Lin - Manuel Miranda who did the music for Moana did the music for this film as well. So how did they set this up for failure? A very weak marketing campaign because to be honest, the trailer did not give us anything especially music-wise. They released this movie on November 23rd just a few weeks after Marvel's Eternals. Ghostbusters Afterlife also was released a week before Encanto. You see how Disney already a movie had out there that was dominating the market putting another film out there at this time was setting it up for failure. In the US the film did not make 100 million, but international sales were at 134 million after everyone gets their share the film was still bombed and was rushed to Disney Plus where it thrived and became a hit, especially with the music.
Here's another minority-led film that was sent out to die. Turning Red is an exceptional coming-of-age film. Its characters are hilarious and remind me of the early 2000s. This movie was released on March 1st of this year. There were no big hits in February. Disney didn’t even wanna put it in theaters; they only released it in countries where Disney plus isn't available. It made 20 million but is considered a success by Kareem Daniel, President of Disney Media and Distribution. He was asked about his decision to not put it in theaters and his response was.
"Due to the delay in the recovery of family films in theaters caused by the ongoing pandemic" - Kareem Daniels
Don’t get me wrong, that sounds good on paper, but in December of 2021 Marvel put out Spiderman: No Way Home in theaters. So, what’s the excuse now? Recently Daniels left the company over the return of Bob Iger. Does that mean things will get better? I don’t know but I'm getting tired of seeing companies give us one step forward and then two steps back. From the outside looking in, I got an eye on the House of Mouse. Maybe I'm just crazy, or this is all in my head. But I see a pattern hopefully you do too.