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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Forget the Election – Are You Ready for “The Mandalorian” Season 2?

 by Ray Keating

Commentary

DisneyBizJournal.com

October 29, 2020

 

We’ve all been anxiously waiting, and now the date is almost here. Am I talking about the 2020 election? Ha! Most certainly not. This is about Star Wars – specifically, The Mandalorian.

 

While the choices in the looming election depress me, what ranks as exciting is the fact that season 2 of The Mandalorian arrives tomorrow (October 30), with episodes coming each Friday thereafter through December 18. Now, here’s the perfect vehicle for forgetting about two old crazy and creepy guys running for president.

 

Check out a quick recap video on Season 1:

 


And please read the DisneyBizJournal review of Season 1 titled “6 Big Reasons to Love ‘The Mandalorian.’

 

While this year’s election has done much in further tearing the nation apart, I think we can all come together in support of Mando and his adventures protecting and discovering the truth about The Child. The Don and Joe show? Nah. I’ll enthusiastically tune in to some high-quality Star Wars thanks to The Mandalorian.

 

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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

Pre-order The Disney Planner 2021: The TO DO List Solution today!

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!

 

Also, get the paperback or Kindle edition of Ray Keating’s new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York.

 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Merch! For Disney, This is the … Eisner Way?

 by Ray Keating

News/Analysis

DisneyBizJournal.com

October 27, 2020

 

Disney cranking up the merchandise machine with Christmas less than two months away? Indeed, no other company does it quite like the House of Mouse. With a nod to The Mandalorian, Disney and merchandise: This is the way. And it’s an opportunity to give a nod to former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

 

Consider two recent announcements from Disney.

 

On Mando Monday, October 26, the world was treated to a look at a host of Mandalorian products and digital content, with Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers and Giancarlo Esposito.



What caught my attention? An 11-inch plush of the The Child that features sound and movement; The Child Animatronic Edition with Carrier that offers more than 25 sounds and movement combinations; and The Mandalorian edition of Monopoly. Yeah, I’m a sucker for The Child.

 

The day before, on October 25, Disney highlighted Christmas merch available at the Disney parks and at shopDisney.com. Disney noted that it has “some festive new collections featuring apparel, accessories and even homeware, coming your way.”

 

Seven – that’s right, seven! – collections were highlighted: 1) Disney Parks ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Collection, 2) Disney Parks Silver and Gold Collection, 3) Disney Parks x BaubleBar Holiday Collection, 4) Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa 2020 Holidays Collection, 5) Disneyland Paris 2020 Holidays Collection, 6) Tokyo Disney Resort 2020 Holidays Collection, and 7) Shanghai Disney Resort 2020 Holidays Collection.

 

No, Disney doesn’t kid around on the merch front. It all started with Walt and Roy, specifically when $300 was forked over to Disney in 1930 to put Mickey Mouse on stationery.  But Michael Eisner excelled at articulating and advancing it all in rather dramatic ways, and the company has never looked back.

 

For Eisner, merch was simply part of the synergy at Disney. As quoted Inside the Disney Marketing Machine by Lorraine Santoli, Eisner once said, “The term synergy may be the object of ridicule throughout the world, but not at Disney. This concept of cross-promotion and transformation of popular products into new media is an engine that helps drive our company. Synergy, for us, goes with creativity—which rhymes with selectivity—which means keeping one’s eye on the ball.”

 

And in another quote, Eisner explained, “We insisted that each division help the other fellow. For the Disney Company, ‘help the other fellow’ meant the movie division would create a film…that could become a theme park ride or attraction…that could become a consumer product…that could become a television show…that could become a film sequel…that could become a cable show…that could become an international attraction…that could become a musical on Broadway…it goes on and on. But to accomplish that, everybody had to cooperate with each other, with no place for jealousy, and no competition between divisions. That’s an unlikely reality in corporate America. But at Disney, we worked things differently.”

 

This is the way – and it definitely includes Disney merch.

 

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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

Pre-order The Disney Planner 2021: The TO DO List Solution today!

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!

 

Also, get the paperback or Kindle edition of Ray Keating’s new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York.

 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

EPCOT Festival Dates Announced

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

October 25, 2020

 

Fresh on the heels of announcing both the closing date of the Taste of EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival and the kick-off date for the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, Disney has also released the dates for the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. 


Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog


The Food and Wine Festival kicked off with the reopening of the Disney World Parks back in July, with an open-ended closing date. The wrap-up date is now set for November 22The Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays will open just a few days later, running from November 27 - December 30, 2020.  The third festival, the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, is scheduled for Jan. 8 – Feb. 22, 2021.

 

At the Festival of the Holidays, everyone’s favorite Holiday Cookie Stroll will be returning, and Disney has just released the list of the festival kitchen booths that will be celebrating traditions from around the world (full menus will be released soon). This year’s booths include:

 

• American Holiday Table (American Adventure)

Enjoy a seasonal salute—dig into traditional dishes reminiscent of grandma’s cooking at the American Adventure Pavilion.


• Bavaria Holiday Kitchen (Germany)

Willkommen—help yourself to heartwarming holiday dishes and refreshing beverages at the Germany Pavilion.


• Citrus Blossom (Showcase Plaza)

Toast the holidays with breathtaking beverages that include the Orange Cream Shake in a Souvenir Orange Bird Sipper Cup (non-alcoholic).


• Festival Favorites (World Showplace)

From blackened bass to duck confit, from frozen s’mores to tropical eggnog—come and get your very own favorites!


• Holiday Hearth (World Showplace)

Discover the hearth you’ll call home, with special desserts, milkshakes, hot cocoa and so much more.


• Holiday Sweets & Treats

Rock around the Christmas tree with goodies sure to top the “nice” list—at Promenade Refreshments.


• L'Chaim! Holiday Kitchen (Between Morocco and France)

Propose a toast to life—sink your teeth into classic deli noshes with a side of New York flair.


• Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen (France)

Feast on très magnifique fare, wine and specialty cocktails from the France Pavilion.

 

• Mele Kalikimaka (Showcase Plaza)

Savor the flavor of fabulous, festive food and beverages from the islands of Hawai‘i.


• Posadas Holiday Kitchen (Mexico)

Feliz Navidad—celebrate with mariachi dancing and south-of-the-border fare at the Mexican Pavilion!


• Prost! (World Showplace)

Spread some holiday cheer with a cool brew from some of the finest regional breweries.


• Sapphire Holiday Kitchen (Morocco)

Spice up your life with the exotic flavors of North Africa—visit the Morocco Pavilion for intriguing cuisine!


• Shanghai Holiday Kitchen (China)

Have yourself a merry little meal—tempt taste buds with popular plates and potables from the China Pavilion!


• Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen (Japan)

Please your palate with an array of festive dishes and drinks served at the Japan Pavilion.


• Tuscany Holiday Kitchen (Italy)

Mangiare—savor a seasonal take on some of the world’s best-loved food and beverages at the Italy Pavilion!


• Yukon Holiday Kitchen (Canada)

Jingle your bells with delightful dishes and libations from the Great White North—at the Canada Pavilion.


Additional Locations will also be available at:

 

• Funnel Cake

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a new holiday classic: Sweet Potato Casserole Funnel Cake.


• Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company

Salute the season with the usual selection of coffees, plus the tasty Caramel Tinsel Latte and Donut for the holidays.


• Refreshment Outpost

Chow down on this year’s holiday surprise: Warm Brown Sugar Stuffed Pretzel with Soft-Serve Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce. (Sorry, guess it’s not a surprise now.)


• Refreshment Port (Showcase Plaza)

Savor the flavor of holiday poutine and toast the season with specials like T.G. Lee Eggnog with Spiced Rum.

 

Sadly, the much-beloved Candlelight Processional will not take place during this year’s festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will, however, be appearances by Santa and seasonally-dressed Disney friends throughout the park, as well as holiday cavalcades. The family can also join the new “Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition” and embark on a scavenger hunt around the World Showcase to retrieve some of the traditions that Olaf has managed to lose on his way to show Elsa and Anna. 

 

While the annual awe-inspiring (and crowd-inducing) gingerbread displays will not take place in the Disney World Resorts, there will be a “Gingerbread City” at EPCOT, made by the Disney chefs and depicting some of our nation’s landmarks. Holiday music will be provided by JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season; the Voices of Liberty-Voices of the Season; Las Posadas with Mariachi Cobre; and the JAMMitors.

 

The Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts will kick off January 8 and paint its way through February 22, 2021.  There will be more than 15 “Food Studios” serving culinary masterpieces that are as much works of art as they are delicious dining opportunities.  One of the highlights that guests look forward to every year is the opportunity to watch an array of skilled artists at work around the World Showcase, and even purchase some of the artwork to take home. 

Festival of the Arts also gives guests a chance to participate in the creativity, with special photo locations that allow visitors to step into life-sized scenes of iconic works of art, try their hand at an over-sized collaborative paint-by-number mural, or even join a scavenger hunt searching for Figment. Live music from favorite EPCOT musical artists Mariachi Cobre and the JAMMitors will add to the festival atmosphere.

 

Disney guests will need both park admission tickets and park reservations to participate in the festivals. As with all things park-related at this point, COVID-19 may change some of the scheduled plans. Keep up to date as the festivals get closer by checking back on the Disney website.

 

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Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Shopping and Eating Expanded at Disneyland Resort

 by Ray Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

October 24, 2020

 

The battle rages on between California’s governor and the state’s theme parks, including Disneyland. In fact, on this past Wednesday (October 21), theme park officials held a joint virtual press conference in which it was noted that legal action against the state is under consideration.

 

In the meantime, Disney fans and fun seekers in general cannot enjoy “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!” at California Adventure, for example, or “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” at Disneyland. However, they soon will have more eating and shopping options at the Downtown Disney District. Hey, eating and shopping are fun.

 

Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog


Disney announced on October 23 that the Downtown Disney District, which has been open since July, will be extended to California Adventure’s Buena Vista Street at some point in November. Disney noted that “there will be even more distinctively Disney dining and shopping for you to enjoy.”

 

What are the specifics? Well, here’s what Disney served up via the Disney Parks Blog:

 

    • Holiday shopping? Head to Elias & Co. The store is divided into distinct sections for men, women and children, so you’ll find something special for the entire family! At Julius Katz & Sons, peruse even more holiday merchandise and Disney-themed home décor. The Kingswell Camera Shop offers great gift-giving ideas like frames, photo albums and more. Buena Vista Street stores have a variety of your Disney favorites!

    • If you are looking to tempt your taste buds with a snack, Trolley Treats offers classic candies, old-fashioned confections and all kinds of freshly made treats. Vending carts will offer popcorn, churros, ice cream and other “must-bite” treats.

     • Swing by Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe for the enchanting sights and sounds of Buena Vista Street—and a cup of coffee or scrumptious artisan sandwich.

         • Sit-down dining options include Carthay Circle Lounge, where you can unwind in our expanded outdoor seating area featuring an all-new menu of cocktails and dining. Smokejumpers Grill is serving up tasty American classics for lunch and dinner with a streamlined menu of burgers, fries, onion rings and craft beer, located just around the corner from Buena Vista Street. The primary way to place your order at this dining location is through mobile order on the Disneyland App.

 

For good measure, the Backlot Premiere Shop at Stage 17, which offers seasonal merchandise, recently opened.

 

Since California Adventure remains closed, Disney noted that Buena Vista Street will only be accessible from the Downtown Disney District. Also, the company reminded guests about health and safety protocols in effect, including temperature screenings before entering, requirement to wear masks, and limited attendance to promote social distancing.

 

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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

Pre-order The Disney Planner 2021: The TO DO List Solution today!

 

Also, get the paperback or Kindle edition of Ray Keating’s new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York.

 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Nothing UnAmerican About Peanuts Heading to Apple TV+

 by Chris Lucas

Guest Column

DisneyBizJournal.com

October 22, 2020

 

(Editor’s Note: While Peanuts is not in the Disney family, the underlying issue here certainly can be applied to assorted Disney vehicles and decisions, including those still to come. Plus, if you love Disney, odds are you love Charlie Brown and Snoopy, too.)

 

I love the classic Peanuts specials as much as anyone else, but the announcement that holiday specials were leaving broadcast television for Apple TV+ was just business, not personal, despite some who are trying to say that “they!” are attacking American values and traditions. (Who is this mysterious “they!” anyway?) 

 

It’s the exact opposite of being anti-American. The reason why the specials are moving from broadcast to streaming is as American as it gets. 



Peanuts Worldwide, founded by the Schulz family, owns the rights to the characters and shows, along with Sony and DHX.

 

The specials aired on CBS for decades, then ABC (now owned by Disney) licensed the rights in 2000. That contract just expired. 

 

Apple - which got into the TV business with their new streaming channel - was already doing business with Peanuts Worldwide, through brand new Snoopy specials airing on their channel. Apple outbid ABC for the contract to license the exclusive rights to air the existing specials on TV, through their streaming channel. It’s a smart move to increase attention/buzz and attract subscribers (similar to what Disney recently did with Hamilton and Netflix did with Kobra Kai.) 

 

This deal is completely different than the existing licensing deal for home video, currently owned by Warner Brothers. The DVD’s and Blu-rays will continue to be available for decades to come, and can currently be purchased at supermarkets for less than $10. Most libraries also have copies. 

 

This is not the 1970s any more, where one company like McDonalds or Dolly Madison would foot the bill for airing the specials once a year, and over 100 million would watch.

 

Ratings for the Peanuts specials have gone down 70% over the last twenty years, and sponsors were getting hard to come by, as TV viewers went elsewhere. Disney likely didn’t see the return on investment value in matching the bid figure that Apple offered. 

 

Is it sad that the tradition of watching the Charlie Brown specials on network TV once a year is going away (for now, at least)? Yes, it is, but that’s not because of some insidious push to erase all things wholesome or some race to political correctness. It’s capitalism, pure and simple. Apple is not the villain.

 

If you really want to be mad, vent at Peanuts Worldwide and Sony for putting the rights up for bid. Even then, remember that they are not a charity and if someone was offering them a sweetheart deal to air the classic specials and create new ones for a new generation (increasing the value of their brand) they’d be crazy to turn it down.

 

To put it in simpler terms: if you opened a brand new restaurant in a town where the people went crazy over a special holiday pie made by one bakery but only sold in one market - in any area of town that people are moving away from - on one day each year, and you made an exclusive deal with that bakery to be the only place in town that offered the pie because you knew that people would immediately flock to your restaurant, which is in a more popular neighborhood, or - at the very least - you’d get a bunch of publicity, you’d absolutely do it. You certainly wouldn’t want anyone else offering it at the same time. 

 

To be generous and to honor the sentimental feelings of the people in town, you could even offer a weekend of free pie at your new restaurant just to get people in the door, hoping that they might sample your other offerings and come back again, this time paying for their food. If not, no problem, but you’re still offering access to their beloved product for free. That’s a smart business plan. You’re not completely destroying a tradition, you’re just providing it in a different fashion in a different place, one that more and more people are heading to. 

 

This is just business as it’s done in 2020. 

 

Good old Charlie Brown and his holiday specials will still be around long after we are all gone.

 

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Chris Lucas is the author of Top Disney: 100 Top Ten Lists of the Best of Disney, from the Man to the Mouse and Beyond.

 

On the PRESS CLUB C Podcast, enjoy Ray’s discussion with Chris Lucas about his career as an actor, author and Disney expert. Tune in right here!


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Disneynomics: Governor Newsom vs. California’s Theme Park and Economy

 by Ray Keating

Disneynomics Column

DisneyBizJournal.com

October 21, 2020

 

California matters. Whether people from other states like it or not, 12 percent of the U.S. population resides in the Golden State, and 15 percent of U.S. GDP comes from California. 



Therefore, when Californian politicians impose misguided and costly policies – such as higher taxes and increased regulations – on entrepreneurs, businesses and investors, it, of course, matters most to Californians, but it’s not like the rest of us can just shrug our shoulders and not care.

 

This economic reality is part of the backdrop to the latest head-scratching decision by California Governor Gavin Newsom and his Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly. At a news conference on Tuesday, October 21, the Newsom administration finally got around to providing guidelines for reopening theme parks in the state. But the guidelines were split between smaller and larger theme parks, and the news for the big boys, like Disneyland, was anything but good. That, in turn, is bad news for workers and small businesses as well.

 

As the Orange County Register reported:

 

Smaller theme parks can reopen at 25% capacity or 500 in-county visitors, whichever is fewer, with admission by reservation only in the “moderate” tier. Larger theme parks can reopen at 25% capacity with reservations in the “minimal” tier.

 

The new guidelines mean Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and other large theme parks won’t be able to reopen for months until their respective counties reach the least-restrictive “minimal” risk level…

 

At best, that means major California theme parks won’t reopen until November or December. At worst, reopening dates could be pushed to next year, which makes setting a reopening date for Disneyland, Universal and other California theme parks difficult if not impossible. Without a firm reopening date, the parks can’t set staffing, training, ride testing and visitor reservation plans.

 

The Orange County Health Care Agency Director Clayton Chau was quoted saying that it would be difficult for Orange County to reach the “minimal” tier until there was a vaccine, and he was looking for something like that coming next summer. That would put the reopening of Disneyland into the summer as well.

 

In a statement, Disneyland President Ken Potrock said:

 

We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world.

 

Nevertheless, the State of California continues to ignore this fact, instead of mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable and that hold us to a standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities.

 

Together with our labor unions, we want to get people back to work, but these State guidelines will keep us shuttered for the foreseeable future, forcing thousands more people out of work, leading to the inevitable closure of small family-owned businesses, and irreparably devastating the Anaheim/Southern California community.

 

For good measure, Erin Guerrero, executive director of the California Attractions and Parks Association, said:

 

Theme parks have opened and operated safely around the world for months. Data and science prove that theme parks can operate responsibly anywhere – there’s no rational reason to believe they can’t do so in California. No one cares more about park employees and guest safety than the parks themselves.

 

Let me be unequivocal - the guidance issued by the Newsom Administration will keep theme parks shuttered for the foreseeable future… 

 

This plan prolongs unemployment for tens of thousands of people, hastens bankruptcy for families and small business owners adjacent to parks, and contributes to insolvency for local governments whose budgets rely on parks as an anchor economic driver.

 

So, bewildering policymaking that undermines the California economy continues. 

 

Some might ask: Why? At its core, it goes to a philosophical bias that places ultimate trust in government – i.e., in politicians and their appointees – to make broad decisions for society, while holding a deep distrust of private-sector entrepreneurs and businesses. But here we have another glaring example courtesy of Governor Newsom that politicians lack the knowledge and proper incentives to make intelligent decisions about most matters in life and the economy. 

 

It’s true – politicians tend to be clueless. And Disneyland, other theme park operators, workers, small businesses that serve the parks and their workers, and the California economy suffer accordingly.

 

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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

Also, get the paperback or Kindle edition of Ray Keating’s new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York.

 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Florida Drivers Get a Chance to Celebrate Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

 by Ray Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

October 19, 2020

 

Fans of all things Disney will soon be able to show off that fandom in a new way – that is, if they live and drive in Florida.

 

Disney has announced that a specialty license plate will be available to Florida drivers celebrating the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, which opened on October 1, 1971 (specifically, the Magic Kingdom).


Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

 

According to Disney, a pre-sale voucher for the license plate, which has not been unveiled yet, can be purchased for $25, along with applicable state fees, through appointments at local county tax collector’s offices and DMVs in Florida, with online pre-sales coming soon.

 

Like other specialty plates available in Florida, proceeds will go to charity. In this case, the Disney plates revenues will go to Make-A-Wish of Central and Northern Florida. Disney has a long relationship with Make-A-Wish. The company noted that since 1980, “more than 140,000 Disney-inspired wishes have been granted, with more than 8,000 taking place each year at Walt Disney World Resort.”

 

So, if you love Disney and have a car registered in Florida, here’s a chance to mark the 50th anniversary of the most wonderful place on earth.

 

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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

Also, get the paperback or Kindle edition of Ray Keating’s new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York.

 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Disney’s Deserved “Mulan” Mess, Part II

 by Ray Keating

Commentary

DisneyBizJournal.com

October 16, 2020

 

Disney, no doubt, wants its Mulan mess to go away. But the issue keeps hanging around.

 

And no, I’m not talking about the decision to serve up the movie on Disney+ for an extra premium price of $29.99. Nor am I referring to the fact that the film has received a mere 50% audience score on RottenTomatos.com, for example.



No, I’m talking about the ongoing mess regarding Disney’s filming the movie in China’s Xinjiang region where prison and indoctrination camps intern Uighur Muslims, while in the movie’s credits, Disney also thanked the government entities guilty of the oppression, along with related propaganda agencies pushing lies. (See the previous DisneyBizJournal column on the topic.)

 

Last week, Disney did get around to answering an inquiry from Iain Duncan Smith, a Conservative MP in the United Kingdom, and Baroness Helena Kennedy, a Labour member of the House of Lords, about this situation. The response, signed by Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture production, was a model of corporate-speak. Bailey managed to serve up a page-and-a-half that didn’t answer any of the issues at hand.

 

For example, Bailey wrote, “Although ‘Mulan’ was filmed almost entirely in New Zealand, in order to accurately depict the unique geography and landscape of China for this period drama, the producers chose to film some scenery in 20 locations throughout the country, including the Kumtag Desert in Xinjiang Province, home to an important passageway along the historic Silk Road. The decision to film in each of these locations was made by the film’s producers in the interest of authenticity, and was in no way dictated or influenced by state or local Chinese officials.”

 

And he later summed up, “It is standard practice across the film industry worldwide to acknowledge in a film’s credits the cooperation, approvals, and assistance provided by various entities and individuals over the course of a film’s production. In this case, the production company Beijing Shadow Times provided our production team with the list of acknowledgements to be included in the credits for Mulan.”

 

To put this in further perspective, Variety reported:

 

The earliest evidence of re-education work in Turpan, the city home to five of the government entities Disney thanked, dates back to 2013. “Mulan” was green-lit in 2015. Early reporting on the camps started to emerge around the summer of 2017. Niki Caro went to Xinjiang in September 2017, posting a photo of sand dunes there to Instagram. The production’s set designer said they spent “months” scouting in the region.

 

During the actual 2018 shoot, China was at the height of its “strike hard” campaign against Xinjiang’s ethnic minority population. Analysts estimate by looking at satellite imagery that there are at least 10 internment camps and five prisons in the other Xinjiang county Disney thanked.

 

How did Iain Duncan Smith respond to the Disney letter? He tweeted: “The reply from @DisneyStudios regarding the filming of #Mulan in #Xinjiang region is very weak and full of platitudes. The reality is that Disney simply does not want to offend China, and have given in to China’s demands and will not stand up to them. Disney's corporate policy does not appear to care about the human rights issues affecting the #Uighurs. It seems human rights come second to the corporate policy of not upsetting China.”

 

That’s hard to argue with, at least in this instance. Variety also noted, “Disney has not issued a formal statement or apology on the matter, and has told creatives involved in ‘Mulan’ to steer clear of the subject.” Yes, Disney apparently is hoping that this would all just go away. I don’t think Walt would be proud.

 

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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

Also, get the paperback or Kindle edition of Ray Keating’s new book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York.