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Music Icon Beyoncé Takes Down Disney

Credit: Ronald Wona / Flickr

The Walt Disney Company has faced a fair share of backlash over the last couple of years, and there has been money lost as a result.

Over the decades, Disney has grown exponentially, expanding its reach into various media, including film, television, theme parks, and merchandise. However, despite its magical reputation, Disney has not been immune to controversy and backlash.

Pluto leading a procession of Disney Dreamers Academy teens displaying signs for where they come from.Pluto leading a procession of Disney Dreamers Academy teens displaying signs for where they come from.Credit: Walt Disney Company

One significant source of criticism aimed at Disney revolves around its approach to diversity and representation. Many changes have occurred in the company’s casting decisions and plot storylines in the past couple of years that have made many fans accuse the company of “being woke.” Disney’s Snow White, starring Rachel Zegler, was recently delayed by a full year following backlash surrounding the film. Of course, this comes on the heels of the company seeing multiple failures at the box office, including Lightyear (2022) and Strange World (2022).

Another area where Disney has encountered backlash is in its treatment of employees. Despite being a major player in the entertainment industry, Disney has faced criticism for labor practices, including low wages for theme park workers and allegations of employee mistreatment. Several times in the last few years, employees at Disneyland and Walt Disney World staged protests, demanding higher pay and better working conditions. The controversy brought attention to the disparity between Disney’s corporate profits and the wages of its frontline workers.

A Cast Member in VIP Tour guide costume high fiving a kid and his father in front of Spaceship Earth at EPCOTA Cast Member in VIP Tour guide costume high fiving a kid and his father in front of Spaceship Earth at EPCOTCredit: Disney

Furthermore, Disney’s acquisition of various entertainment properties, such as Marvel and Star Wars, has led to concerns about monopolistic practices in the industry. Critics argue that Disney’s dominance could stifle competition and limit creative diversity. The acquisition of 21st Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios) in 2019 sparked additional worries about media consolidation, prompting regulatory scrutiny.

Disney’s foray into the streaming industry with Disney+ has not been without its challenges either. The company faced backlash for censorship decisions on its streaming platform, editing, or restricting access to certain content deemed inappropriate. In addition, Disney+ has faced backlash for price increases, the introduction of ads, and content removals.

Asha (Ariana DeBose) holding a wishing star in Disney's 'Wish' (2023)Asha (Ariana DeBose) holding a wishing star in Disney's 'Wish' (2023)Credit: Disney

Even in projects that aren’t considered controversial, backlash from these areas has continued to make its way in. This can especially be seen in Disney’s latest animated film, titled Wish (2023). According to Disney, here’s a look at the official description for Wish:

“In Wish, Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force—a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe—the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico—to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen. Featuring the voices of Academy Award®-winning actor Ariana DeBose as Asha, Chris Pine as Magnifico, and Alan Tudyk as Asha’s favorite goat, Valentino, the film is helmed by Oscar®-winning director Chris Buck (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) and Fawn Veerasunthorn (“Raya and the Last Dragon”), produced by Peter Del Vecho (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) and Juan Pablo Reyes (“Encanto”). Jennifer Lee (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) executive produces—Lee and Allison Moore (“Night Sky,” “Manhunt”) are writers on the project. With original songs by Grammy®-nominated singer/songwriter Julia Michaels and Grammy-winning producer/songwriter/musician Benjamin Rice, plus score by composer Dave Metzger.”

However, Wish has been a bomb at the box office. According to reports from The Hollywood Reporter, Wish dropped off a hefty 62% domestically in more bad news for Disney. The family film placed fifth with an estimated $7.4 million from 3,900 locations for a domestic of $42 million.

Asha looks nervously at a dancing star in 'Wish,' the upcoming Disney movie.Asha looks nervously at a dancing star in 'Wish,' the upcoming Disney movie.Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

On top of Wish‘s bad performance, a new leader has emerged at the box office, taking the movie down even further: Music Icon Beyoncé.

Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé — which she wrote, directed, and produced — grossed more than $21 million domestically, which was better than expected. Though she fell flat globally, Beyoncé’s film still raised the box office numbers after a tough post-Thanksgiving run for the movies.

Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce PosterRenaissance: A Film by Beyonce PosterCredit: AMC

Beyoncé first gained fame as the lead singer of the R&B group Destiny’s Child, before launching a highly successful solo career. With numerous chart-topping hits, including “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and “Formation,” Beyoncé has not only shaped the landscape of contemporary R&B but has also been a trailblazer in addressing issues of race, feminism, and empowerment through her music. Beyond her musical achievements, she has also made a mark in acting with notable roles in films such as Dreamgirls (2006) and The Lion King (2019).

What is your favorite Beyoncé song? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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