Two cents on Disney’s millions

Opinion: Disney’s output of sequels and live actions is a cash grab, lacking creativity and new content

Graphic+by+Chrissa+Olson

Graphic by Chrissa Olson

For those who somehow found the most insignificant scrap of merit in the flaming dumpster fire that is Disney’s ever-growing catalog of sequels and live-action remakes, I only have this to say in response: quit while you’re ahead, you’ll waste as much time reading this as I wasted thinking about why people like you have such bad taste in movies.

Michael Eisner, the former CEO of the Walt Disney Company once gave the following statement: “We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make a statement. But to make money, it is often important to make history, art, a statement, or all three.” And never has this statement been truer than when looking back at every single sequel or live-action remake the company has been pumping out for what feels like an eternity.

Sequels of popular Disney movies are nothing new, and there were plenty of them in the late nineties and early 2000s, such as “Mulan II” and “The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride”; even live-action remakes such as “101 Dalmatians” had a brief run during that era. And now that they’ve begun to make a resurgence in the 2010s and 2020s—and in such great frequency—people have started to take notice once again.

The one thing all of these sequels and remakes have in common is that Disney didn’t try to justify their existence by putting actual effort into making them. The animated sequels had a sharply reduced budget in comparison to their predecessors, and while the remakes and sequels from the last decade don’t have this problem, their creative teams have made a stupid amount of equally stupid decisions throughout the film-making process, like replacing the budget cuts with empty commentary on social issues to try and seem “woke”, such as when Belle was being reprimanded for teaching a girl to read in “Beauty and the Beast”, or adding pointless subplots to justify certain characters being in the movie, like Kristoff’s disjointed proposal storyline in “Frozen II”.

The goal of these movies isn’t to make history, art, or a statement—much less all three. Their goal is to simply make money. “Beauty and the Beast”, the 2019 “Lion King”, and “Frozen II” all made over a billion dollars. And although all three films have been both praised and panned by critics, none of that changes the fact that none of these sequels and remakes needed to exist, and that Disney is so creatively bankrupt they think shoving these movies down our throats will make us more inclined to watch whatever will they call a movie is released next—and looking at the numbers, they’re right.

With Disney+ having over sixty million users, more and more people will be exposed to these sequels and remakes as Disney becomes ever more entrenched in our media, our entertainment, and our livelihoods. The company has reached a point where they’re far from obligated to make money, but unlike during the Disney Renaissance, they continue to do so at the expense of creativity and originality. These sequels and remakes shouldn’t exist, and unless we stop giving Disney our time and money, they will always continue to exist—whether we want them to or not.