In case anyone was wondering, Disney is fully aware they control a staggering portion of the world’s entertainment, and they don’t really seem to care who knows it. At least, that’s 100% the vibe given off by Walt Disney Studios co-chairman and chief creative officer Alan Horn at the Variety Business Managers Breakfast at the Montage Beverly Hills on Wednesday.
During the program, Horn acknowledged that Disney has a stranglehold on the entertainment industry the same way LeBron James might respond to someone accusing him of being unfairly good at basketball. “We do have an outsized share of the market for sure, that’s because people get up, go to the theater, pay their money and watch our movies,” Horn said, avoiding the fact that Disney aggressively pursued and assimilated the Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and 20th Century Fox brands to the tune of several billion dollars to ensure that the majority of the movies available for people to get up and go watch at the theater belong to Disney.
“I think, for me, I can’t apologize for the collective market share we enjoy,” Horn continues. “I know we enjoy a huge segment of the market share available, but I don’t want to apologize for it. I think our films are very different from one another, but it’s fair to say, ‘Gee whizz, these guys and ladies enjoy a very hefty percentage of the box office.’ But that falls outside of my job description, my job is the shepherd the making of these movies as best I can.”
Nobody was expecting a Disney executive to seriously address monopoly allegations, but Horn’s bizarre, rambling rationalization veers towards seemingly deliberate obfuscation at several points. He seems to defend against the accusations by pointing out that Disney makes a wide variety of films (the two topics are wholly unrelated) while admitting only that Disney enjoys “a very hefty percentage of the box office” without acknowledging that the studio has bought out most of its meaningful competition.
Horn also had a few things to say about a possible film adaptation of The Mandalorian, the highly-anticipated live-action Star Wars series that premiered on the company’s new streaming platform Disney Plus this Tuesday. “The Mandalorian is already proving to be a big thing, so if that series proves to be so compelling that we reverse engineer it into a theatrical release, a two-hour film or whatever, O.K.,” Horn said.
It’s not exactly a committed response to get excited over, but it’s nice to know Disney is open to the idea. So far, The Mandalorian has received an overwhelmingly positive response to its premiere episode. If it maintains that momentum for the rest of the season (and brings in the subscriber numbers to back it up), it seems entirely possible that we’ll see the titular bounty hunter make the leap to the big screen.