This is the second in a two-part exploration of the Disney-Fox deal. You can read part one here.
Though the Disney Company’s $71.3 billion bid to acquire 21st Century Fox has been met by pop-culture fans with rapturous glee, the threat of Disney establishing a modern monopoly on the entertainment industry may become a reality in this deal. There’s a logic to Disney purchasing the company that owns major stock in the streaming market plus intellectual properties closely tied to them, such as James Cameron’s Avatar (2009). The deal, however, will lead to Disney owning an estimated 30% of the film industry. Many may not mind a company like Disney owning so much stake in one industry, but there’s major concern when one considers the mediocre quality of the art Disney has produced in the last decade.
This is the first in a two-part exploration of the Disney-Fox deal. Part two can be found here.
In July of 2018, the Walt Disney Company acquired 21st Century Fox, as well as its many assets in film, television, and streaming services, for a reported $71.3 billion. This should be no surprise, as Disney has been a face for cold American corporatism for decades. The squeaky clean façade Disney desperately upholds in the face of their relentless pursuit of capital has made them an easy target for both harmless lampooning and legitimate criticism. Unfortunately, conversations about media are swamped by a nostalgia-fueled pop-culture, further amplified by social media echo chambers. Whereas many fans will worship Disney’s purchase in hopes of the Fox-owned X-Men getting name dropped in Avengers 7: The Quest for More Money (2026), this acquisition should instead be met with grave concern about the effect a modern monopoly may have on the quality of future art across the entertainment industry.
Dr. Michael Gillespie of FIU’s English department, who is currently teaching a film noir course, describes it as a genre “that gives examples of individuals who succeed in resisting dominant authority and provides viewers with an example of someone who sustains his or her integrity.” In other words they are movies about rebels. Selfish, sexy people working for their own gain, these are slick talking, criminally clever characters who never fail to impress.
For its 20th anniversary, superb animator Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue is getting a nationwide theatre release. Luckily for fans of Kon’s chilling psychological thriller, the Coral Gables Art Cinema will be hosting a screening of the film as part of their After Hours program this Saturday, October 6th, at 11:30pm. Kon’s directorial debut showcases his skillful animation style and penchant for stories with dreamlike qualities, and in Perfect Blue’s case, we get a nightmarish glimpse into a woman stripped of her personhood.
On April 3, 1968, the enduring classic 2001: A Space Odyssey was released and now, fifty years later, film enthusiasts will have an extraordinary opportunity to see the picture in all of its brilliance.
Almost a year ago, filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception, Interstellar) released his war drama Dunkirk in 70mm around the country to critical acclaim and commercial success. It was around this time that he learned of a film reel of 2001 that had been made from the original camera negative but couldn’t be reprinted due to lack of funding. Nolan, empowered by the success of his 70mm screenings, went to Warner Bros. with his idea of making new prints of A Space Odyssey and releasing them, in the same way that Dunkirk was exhibited. This year at Cannes, Nolan debuted the new print of the film, which he makes clear is not a restoration — no digital work has been done — but rather a reprint created through an entirely photochemical process from reels that Warner Bros. developed in the late 90s.
Have you ever thought about how a film gets projected onto the screen at your favorite theaters? Meet Pablo Blanco, film projectionist for the Coral Gables Art Cinema, who shares with us the love of film stock from boyhood in Cuba working in his father’s theater and the modern film technology he works with now.
In Ancient Greece, audiences gathered by the thousands to share in their appreciation for the theater and to witness stories which conveyed their experiences on stage. Today, the closest anyone can come to that unified assemblage is at the movies. While the latest blockbuster film is playing at your local AMC or Cobb, Coral Gables Art Cinema focuses on films of a different kind. Through their After Hours Program, the Gables Cinema is bringing back “the best films you never saw on the big screen (or maybe you did) from late-night cult classics to foreign favorites and even summer blockbusters every Saturday at 11:45 pm,” as advertised on their website. The big draw for me involves their 35 mm and 70 mm film screenings which set them apart from other independent cinemas. From the screening of Ghostbusters in 70 mm to their screenings of Metropolis and Nosferatu played with an original, live score, Coral Gables Art Cinema is reviving the love and appreciation of film as an art form.