The Walt Disney Company, or Disney, will stand by its long-standing policy of excluding racially insensitive content from its lineup of feature films, among others. Such policy has resulted in many scenes in iconic films being removed and, in a recent case, of actually removing an entire film from Disney+, its new streaming service.
This isn’t the first time, of course, that Disney has edited material from its home video lineup, particularly from its classic animated shorts and feature films made during its early years. These edited scenes were deemed offensive for modern sensibilities, especially in terms of cementing race stereotypes.
The policy also extends to content available on the Disney+ streaming service.
Among the notable classic Disney movies that will not be on the streaming service is Song of the South, a 1946 live-action film now widely condemned as racist. While the film isn’t as overtly racist as, say, Birth of a Nation, it’s peppered with racist stereotypes recognized as such in contemporary society. It has also been criticized for making the deplorable socio-economic disparity between blacks and whites a non-issue by showing African-Americans as people contented, even happy, with their lot in life.
Song of the South features an iconic Disney song ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’ and inspired Splash Mountain a popular Disneyland attraction. Many of its African-American cast members were also recognized for their performance but the awards were also marred by controversy, particularly by segregation issues.
In films with racially insensitive content, the scenes will be edited out but the films will still be on the streaming service’s lineup. This include the deletion of Jim Crow, a crow-inspired character on the original animated version Dumbo; the character isn’t present in the 2019 live-action remake by Tim Burton either.
But even with the removal of Song of the South, the Disney+ lineup is still impressive. According to its press release in March 2019, subscribers can choose from more than 500 Disney films – and that already beats the number of titles offered by its competitors!
Disney+ will also offer every film in the Star Wars franchise and nearly every film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as every Pixar film ever made. With Disney’s prolific production output and its profitable partnerships with major industry players, subscribers will have more films to choose from in the coming months.
Disney+ will also feature more than 7,500 episodes of popular Disney Channel production, series adaptations of Monsters, Inc., High School Musical, and The Mandalorian, among others. There will also have original films like Noelle, Togo, and Phineas and Ferb aside from the beloved classics that most people have grown up watching in theaters and television.
The classics will include The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White, fairy tale characters that Disney made famous worldwide.
And these numbers are just on the first year of Disney+ availability! Disney promises to add more titles through the years so there’s always something new to look forward to.
For the movies for release in 2019, Disney will first screen them in theaters and release them on home video before making them available on Disney+. These movies reportedly include The Rise of Skywalker and Frozen 2, both of which are highly anticipated franchise sequels.
Disney+ is scheduled for launching on November 12, 2019 in the United States.
Disney’s wide range of entertainment content isn’t surprising considering its aggressive strategy both in creating and acquiring companies involved in the production and distribution of films and shows. Its film studio division, Walt Disney Studios, is actually the umbrella organization for several other companies including Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Blue Sky Studios.
The world-famous company also owns and operates several news and entertainment companies including the ABC broadcast network, ESPN, Disney Channel, A&E Networks, and National Geographic. These holdings are in addition to the theme parks in major cities around the world; the theme parks are under the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division.
The bottom line: If you are into entertainment and the like, then you have likely been a customer of Disney.
The Disney+ streaming service will be in direct competition with established competitors including HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Given its extensive lineup, it’s expected to be among the leading providers of at-home entertainment.
The subscription rate is affordable, too – $6.99 per month.
Disney’s entry into the streaming service industry is indicative of the growing strength of the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu in addressing the public’s appetite for on-demand entertainment. With Apple also set to provide its own streaming service, Disney’s entry is expected to give its competitors a run for their money, thanks to a combination of high-quality content and budget-friendly pricing.
And the consumers will have more choices, which can be a good thing where entertainment is concerned. Bring it on, Disney+!