The powerful Walt Disney Company has taken back its decision to debar critics of The Los Angeles Times from preview screenings of its upcoming films. Disney faced immense criticism for its boycott of the newspaper, which followed an expose of the administration of its theme parks. Several media organisations, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Boston Globe, declared that they would boycott Disney preview screenings in solidarity with Los Angeles Times.
Five critics groups – the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the National Society of Film Critics and Toronto Film Critics Association – also lent their weight to the counter-boycott campaign, declaring that they would drop Disney films from consideration for the awards that each of them hosts ahead of the Oscars in 2018. Disney director Ava DuVernay too criticised the studio’s actions. DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time is scheduled for a March 9, 2018, release.
Disney’s most recent release is Thor: Ragnarok, and its upcoming releases include the animated movie Coco.
Disney said in a statement, “We’ve had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at The Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns, and as a result, we’ve agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics.”
“Disney has a history of taking punitive action against news organizations that publish articles that it deems unfair,” The New York Times said in a report. “In explaining this particular blackout, Disney cited an investigation by The Los Angeles Times that ran in September about its business ties with Anaheim, where its popular Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks are. The two-part investigative series detailed the “subsidies, incentives, rebates and protections from future taxes” that Disney had secured from the city, as well as the company’s impact on local elections.”