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Is Disney Paying Off Movie Critics For Good Reviews?

Is Disney Paying Off Movie Critics For Good Reviews?

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“Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” hit theaters and got awful reviews… this site may have mentioned something about it once or twice before.

“Captain America: Civil War” was released and got a stellar response. Back in the old days that would be the end of this non story, but in the age of the internet it rarely is. In a case like this there was always going to be a winner and loser. One of these films HAD to make less money than the other and one HAD to be better critically received than the other. Even if it had somehow come out even the fans of either side would have found reasons that made it OK i.e. the release months or something. In this case, it’s lead to a conspiracy theory that the ONLY explanation for “Captain America: Civil War” getting better reviews than “Batman V Superman” MUST be that Disney is paying off critics. There is even a petition on change.org to try to stop Disney from doing this.

ducktales-scrooge-money-bin

Pictured: Disney accountants as of late.

The theory goes as follows, Disney is bribing film critics to give good reviews to Disney owned properties (like the Marvel Cinematic Universe aka MCU) while also trashing any films by their competitors aka DC. It is so hard to know where to start with this one. If Disney really was paying off critics then that’s a lot to pay off. I know Disney is making a lot of money now but no way could they have that much. And also SOMEONE would have talked by now. If this was true there would have been some sort of news of some sort of critic who was “claiming Disney has been offering me a ton of money to bash DC films.” And there is NOTHING like that online. Seriously, even if you’re going along with the idea that Disney must be paying them so much money that they can’t refuse it, there would have to be some critic out there who couldn’t be paid off. Many take their jobs seriously even in this world where some would argue that they are becoming irrelevant. And while yes some would take the money quietly because the money was just too good, for many critics that figure would have to HUGE and again Disney does not have that kind of money to do that for all the critics and make their own films. I mean the idea is so ridiculous that some internet critics have put up their own counter petition asking Disney to actually pay them for the good reviews because hey, they’d like some extra money.

Batman-V-Superman-Hate

Pictured: a 27% film on Rotten Tomatoes.

So where did this whole nonsense get started? I mean besides where all conspiracy theories come from. For certain people the idea that the world is random, unfair, and unfeeling is too frightening to comprehend. And for those same people the idea that an unseen force, even a malicious one, is preferable. The same basic idea of it’s better to know your enemy than face the unknown. While that is most certainly what is at the heart of this, how specifically does it tie into this situation? Well we’ve been watching Marvel succeed film after film, but despite all of that they of course aren’t for everyone. For one reason or another they may not speak to someone. Some of those people have been eagerly awaiting a champion they could stand behind. For some fans I’m sure they just want to see their preferred comic characters get the same love and mainstream recognition than Marvel has been getting. There’s nothing in the world wrong with that and don’t think that I’m saying otherwise. So they finally get their big moment with Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman together on the big screen and… the critics tore it a new one. Now personally while I did like the film (mainly only on a technical level) there’s no doubt some critics were unnecessarily harsh on the film. But there were your favorite comic characters trashed on-screen and the looming release of “Captain America: Civil War” on the horizon which will probably get great reviews (and has) like the last couple of Marvel films. Well in that scenario is it that hard to believe some would want this conspiracy to be true. No it’s not that Snyder messed up the characters or couldn’t make audiences connect with the story, it must be Disney doing something sinister.

Now I’m not saying everyone who liked “Batman V Superman” is like this. Most of my friends enjoyed both (to different degrees) and find the idea of this conspiracy as ludicrous as myself. I’ll also leave you this bit of truth, guess who’s the person who first postulated this little theory (not the person who started the petition, just the person who is considered the first person to make the claim). Grace Randolph who is an internet film critic. Now take a guess what else she’s famous for. She was also the same person who launched the petition for a PG-13 cut of “Deadpool”. Also, she gave “Fantastic Four” (2015) a good review. Just let that sit in your brain before you sign that petition to stop Disney from paying off film critics for good reviews.

What do you think? Do you think Disney is really paying off critics for good reviews or do you think that’s a stupid question to begin with?

About The Author

Eric

Eric grew up with a simple childhood. At age 11 a six fingered man murdered his father in front of his eyes, while his mother died defending him from an attack from a sharptooth, then an evil toon dropped a piano from 15 stories onto his brother's head and then on top of all of that while on the job he was brutally shot up and left for dead but was rebuilt as a robotic cop to get his revenge. ...Oooorr maybe he just watched a lot of movies growing up and got really into them. From a young age Eric realized learning things like science, math, people's names etc. took some real effort but could easily remember practically all the dialog/plot details from a random movie he watched on tv years ago. He knew from a young age that he wanted to make movies and never strayed from that. Going to college to get an education in film production and working on movie sets whenever it can be fit into his schedule. Get him into a room full of people he doesn't know and over time you may eventually get him to open up but just mention some movies and he'll talk for hours, never afraid to (respectfully) argue with fellow movie nerds. Now he puts that love and energy toward writing for FilmFad.com.

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12 Comments on "Is Disney Paying Off Movie Critics For Good Reviews?"

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Marty Nozz
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I think Disney has a plant over at the Warner bros movie department who keep giving reeeeeeeeeealy bad suggestions.

“Hey, Nolan’s Batman films made a lot of money! Let’s treat Superman like Batman! It’ll totally work!”

“Make a bunch of movies to introduce our main characters before putting them together in film? That’s for suckers! Everyone knows these characters! Just throw them together!”

“Heroes working together to fight evil? That’s so 1950s. These are incredibly complex characters. They’re supposed to be punching each other in face!”

Zachary Chichwak
Guest
Disney’s been caught doin shit like this before in the 80’s and 90’s. WB actually owns a piece of the rotten tomatoes machine itself. It would not be hard to undermine their already loose grip on things. Anybody that chooses to put their faith in Disney executives (money hungry whores) you need to ask yourself this. When was the last time you read a story about rich people not doing EVERYTHING they possibly could (morally scrupulous or not) to not just stay rich…..but to get richer. There are tens of thousands+ of people worldwide that are over the ages of… Read more »
Eric Pace
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But you do realize a bunch of your evidence were movies Disney had NOTHING to do with (Elektra, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, etc.), heck even Marvel Studios (the film division just so we’re clear) wasn’t involved.
But let’s say they were for the sake of argument, those bad movies got all got awful reviews. Now if they got amazing reviews despite being terrible then that would probably mean something but even the actual Disney/Marvel movies can get alright reviews like Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Adriana Noriega
Guest

to think Disney stood at the brink of bankrupcy several times and have they learned, they now try to get their greedy filthy hands on any guaranteed success property. I do believe they influence critics albeit they ask them to make it look realistic therefore sacrificing 1 movie per year as in the cases of John Carter, The Lone Ranger, Maleficent and Prince of Persia; 3 of which bombed and failed to kickstart planned franchises.

Adriana Noriega
Guest
I’ll admit most of these movies were decent but hardly deserving of an unanimous consensus that they were pretty much instant classics. Take the Jungle book and Cinderella recent live action adaptations for instance both of which while adequate, competent and entertaining enough little movies paled in comparison to their animated counterparts and won’t be on your mind long after you’ve seen it; yet they were given close to absolute praise by critics. Only a handful of selected movies obtained that in the past, even oscar nominees for best picture received general lukewarm reviews yet plenty of disney movies over… Read more »
Nunya
Guest

“If no one comes forward, it can’t be true!”

-Random clueless writer on the internet

They absolutely do pay for good reviews.

James
Guest
Nobody is being paid but they are incentivized to give good reviews. 1) You want to go to the premieres and prescreenings to get your review in early. 2) The company you work for may actually have side business with Disney – advertising, contracted journalism, art or marketing material. 3) When you go for your next journalist job do you want to be the seen as the guy who dumps over large franchise movies (out of step with the industry) or as a bankable witty reviewer? 4) if you are a big paper (e.g. the guardian 5 star for SW:TLJ)… Read more »
Anonymous
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5

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