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We're All Watching (Or Are We?): The Disney Epidemic

John Woo is a fan of Martin Scorsese films. Marvel and DC? Not so much. When it comes to comic book-based entertainment saturating the market, highly influential action filmmaker isn’t the only one expressing his disinterest. At least eight other notable filmmakers (including Scorsese) have echoed Woo’s sentiment.

But are superhero movies really to blame for what many leaders in the entertainment industry are calling a decline in cinema? Whether we love, hate, or are indifferent to the MCU and the DCEU (set to reemerge under James Gunn’s leadership), superhero films are not the only contender seeking to dominate the entertainment industry.

Can we talk about Disney fatigue?

Disney and Marvel have joined forces making superheroes, fairytales, and other classic tales the front and center of mainstream media. The hero space seems to be the current focus for criticism, but Disney has earned a few side eyes (and eye rolls) from fans for their treatment of classic and popular properties.

While original films like Wish have recently been introduced into the Disney universe, the company giant seems more inclined to capitalize on reimagining its classic animation with live action renditions that have either been lovable hits or lackluster flops.

The live-action version Lion King had an all-star cast but felt more like a documentary on Animal Planet. Many other life-action renditions of classic Disney films have came and went, many with mixed reviews, while others simply faded into obscurity (anyone remember the latest version of Dumbo?). What’s more is the publicity behind Disney’s production focus to update classics with more modern themes and attention to diversity.

The Little Mermaid touched the hearts of many viewers, particularly young Black and brown girls who aren't often represented as Disney royalty. Halle Bailey’s portrayal of the classic character started a movement of pride and empowerment for many in the BIPOC community, but it also received heavy criticism for race swapping its titular character. The film sparked massive debate on the authenticity and quality concerning diverse representation.

More recently is the upcoming Snow White, set to release in March of 2025. The film features Rachel Zegler as Snow White, with Gal Gadot as the antagonist, the Evil Queen. This most recent incarnation of the classic fairytale has been the source of heavy criticism and controversy as the actors and production team attempt to recreate a story that will live up to viewers’ expectation.

From criticism of Zegler’s portrayal of Snow White to rumors of onset difficulties, possible firings, and tension over interview coverage concerning the modernization of the story, the upcoming Disney live-action reimagining has not had a smooth development.

The most recent criticism is in the representation of the seven dwarfs. Identified as “magical creatures” in an effort to avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes, the creative team is under fire for its choice to use CGI to bring these characters to life over hiring actors for the roles. The criticism, according to Screen Rant, addresses the lack of proper representation, inclusivity, and opportunity for these roles, which Game of Thrones actor, Peter Dinklage, has been very vocal on.

Will Snow White and subsequent live-action Disney remakes fail or succeed at the Box Office? That remains to be seen.

While Disney is giant in the entertainment industry, it isn’t the only presence in the game. As streaming platforms rise with their own signature takes on the classics and independent creators and companies develop original content, the market is increasingly saturated with stories that are rivaling and, in some instances, outperforming the entertainment Goliath. One thing is clear. With an increase in classic and popular fandoms flooding the market, mainstream media can’t rest on its past laurels. Fans have options.

What are your thoughts on the state of Disney and superhero entertainment and its effects on cinema? Do you agree with the Woo and other filmmakers or are you loving this Disney era? Let’s talk about it!


About Montrez, Contributor

Montrez is a sci-fi and fantasy author, a freelance editor, and blogger passionate about celebrating and amplifying BIPOC and indie voices in the bookish and blerd community.

Visit her website for more on her books and editing services at .

Follow her on Instagram and subscribe to The Novel Creature Network to connect with your favorite blerds and creatives.

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