Please Stop The “Stop Disney Paying Critics” Controversy

Marvel Money

Um, I have some bad news to tell all of you, bad news that might be some how hard to take. For years, we have all thought that the rise of Marvel Studios came about through hard work, hiring inventive directors, casting great actors, and keeping true to their comic book roots. Unfortunately, we have all been living a lie. Because, in reality the success comes down to Disney paying off critics.

At least that’s what the person or persons behind “Free Critics From Disney” would have us believe. They have started a petition to “Stop Disney from paying critics.” In case you don’t wish to follow that link, allow me to post their sales pitch here, so you can gaze at it in all its glory:

There is  growing evidence Disney has been continually paying critics to attack Non MCU movies. MCU movies are safe. They’re not challenging at all. Just like a comic book movie is “supposed to be”. They’re not divisive or thought provoking. First they bashed Batman V Superman.They cleared BvS out of the way, gave Civil War (which wasn’t a perfect film) an Oscar, now they’re going to work on moving Apocalypse out the way…then they get offended when they’re accused of accepting gifts. Films like Days Of Future Past did receive good reviews due to the fact it came out in 2014 when there was hardly any competition from  MCU films. Had the movie been released in 2015 against Ant-Man it would have gotten the Man of Steel treatment. Deadpool would have also suffered the same fate however it was released in February when there was no MCU movies being released at the time and was not an immediate threat. Films like the Force Awakens which essentially just a modern day rehash of the First Star Wars also get universal praise since Disney acquired the rights.We need to raise awareness of this global plan to keep our films creative or risk have everything fall under the Disney label. Each studio brings their own distinctive and creative work and Disney needs to stop being greedy and understand this. Support DC and keep Marvel at Fox.

Yes, that is reprinted as is. It was all one paragraph, as all good manifestos are.

As conspiracy theories go, this one is a pretty lousy one. This screed gives plenty of reasons why. And tearing apart this call to action might be plucking low-hanging fruit, well, I’m still going to point out the flaws. Well, three of them anyway.

  1. Bribery“There is  growing evidence Disney has been continually paying critics to attack Non MCU movies.” No, there isn’t. You know how I can say that? Because these guys never provide any. There is no critic who has gone on record saying they received a bribe, no paper trail of the funds being transferred, nothing but the reviews themselves as proof of the conspiracy.And that’s not evidence of anything.
  2. “They cleared BvS out of the way, gave Civil War (which wasn’t a perfect film) an Oscar, now they’re going to work on moving Apocalypse out the way…” I’m going to give this guy the benefit of the doubt and say that was an attempt at sarcasm with the whole “Oscar” comment and instead focus on the “cleared out of the way” comment. Cleared out for what? And has BvS really been “cleared out?” It made three times its budget worldwide! Many studios would kill for that kind of hit! Yeah, odds are they aren’t going to make the $1 billion they wanted, but its still in 1,500 theaters. If the cabal of critics were meant to chase it away to give Civil War no competition at the box office, then this was money poorly spent by Disney.
    And what is Apocalypse being cleared for? Doctor Strange in November? To improve Civil War‘s numbers? Or maybe for Marvel to bring that back into the fold like it did Spider-Man. Speaking of which…
  3. “Films like Days Of Future Past did receive good reviews due to the fact it came out in 2014 when there was hardly any competition from  MCU films.” Except for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which came out two months before it and Guardian of the Galaxy which came out two months after it. If Disney wanted to “clear out” BvS for Civil War, it’d make sense they want DoFP out of the way for GotG with the same amount of time between them.
    And there was a perfect example of a film that would have worked in this conspiracy theory: The Amazing Spider-Man 2. That film had lofty, $1 billion expectations that was laid to waste by horrible reviews. And it was released the SAME MONTH as Winter Soldier. And it’s now back in the Marvel Studios fold. Hmmmm…
    Also, when a critic of your conspiracy theory comes up with a better example of for your conspiracy theory than you do, then you don’t have much of a conspiracy theory. Just sayin’.

And as for the “getting offended for accepting gifts” part, well, duh. That doesn’t prove that the critics are on the take. It proves they don’t like being accused of being on the take.

I long for the glory days of conspiracy theories like “Oswald didn’t act alone!” and “The moon landing was staged,” because back then theorists showed their work. But this is the post-Internet, hot take era. You don’t necessarily need facts to back up your opinions, you just have to shout them louder than anyone else. Or, in this case, create a petition for like minded individuals.

I could talk until I am blue in the face about how ludicrous the idea is that Disney paid the 239 reviewers that hated BvS for their negative reviews or even the 261 reviewers that liked Civil War for their good ones. But that’s the beauty of conspiracy theories. Any thing I could say would be just part of the conspiracy. When logic and reason leave you, you don’t have to listen to anyone’s logic or reasoning. Their trying to prove you wrong is just proof that you were right all along.

But, hey, I like to think I’m open minded. My challenge to all these conspiracy buffs is this, if you have hard evidence Disney is indulging in a bit of payola, show it. Prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Disney is doing this. If you can’t, to quote a Disney princess, then let it go.

Speaking of which, if I can speak to Disney, just wanted to say my daughter loves your characters and films. I’m not saying sending free swag my way for her will make me take it easy on you, but I’m not saying it won’t. Unless you’re talking all-expense paid trips to Disney World every year, then it definitely will.

Avatar für William Gatevackes
About William Gatevackes 1983 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken, and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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February 11, 2017 10:10 pm

how much is disney paying you to get on your knee’s and shill for them? Bet it is not a lot. Price of a critic is pretty low today.

In any case, you are dead wrong (probably lying as I am betting you are on the take as well). Disney is bribing critics, which you can see due to the massive popularity of Suicide Squad and BVS among fans despite critics bashing it.

For decades radio stations were taking kickbacks, so it is not a surprise this industry copied the idea.

March 28, 2020 3:21 pm

Brought to you by Walt Disney. Bribing film critics all the way to the top.

Peter File
Peter File
March 28, 2020 3:14 pm

Wrong. Disney is bribing critics. Look at what they did to Suicide Squad.

Rich Drees
June 20, 2020 3:26 pm
Reply to  Peter File

Bring some recipts to prove your point. And also a receipt to prove that you bought that joke off of the writer of THE IT CROWD and didn’t just steal it.

Matthew Murray
Matthew Murray
June 18, 2020 11:42 pm

This trash is still up? Everyone knows that Disney pays off film critics. Me a DC movie coming out time to get paid right? Make sure to bash it really hard so people like me can’t get the movies that they want.

Rich Drees
June 20, 2020 3:25 pm
Reply to  Matthew Murray

Cute fake name and email address. Way to lend credence to your baseless and factfree argument.

Benjamin Dover
Benjamin Dover
December 17, 2020 10:19 am

William received 10,000 dollars for this article from Disney. Never forget that.

Rich Drees
December 18, 2020 10:05 am
Reply to  Benjamin Dover

Hey Ben, have you stopped beating your wife yet?

(Baseless accusations are fun.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Rich Drees