Monday, June 17, 2024

“Thor” Makes $46 Million in One Night Despite Disney Banning the LA Times from Screenings


So: no one in Los Angeles cared that Disney banned the L.A. Times from critics screenings of “Thor: Ragnarok.”

With a 90+ on Rotten Tomatoes, “Thor” snared $46 million on Friday night in its national debut. Estimates are for a $110 million opening weekend. Yippee!

So what happened with the LA Times? It’s serious, actually, in a time of fake news vs. real news and censorship. The L.A. Times ran a substantial piece on the effect Disneyland is having on Anaheim, California by Daniel Miller back on September 24th. The piece was called “Is Disney Paying Its Share in Anaheim?”

Apparently, Disney– sometimes known as Mauschwitz– didn’t like the conclusions Miller drew. So when it came time for a big new Marvel movie from the studio they decided to punish the LA Times. They wouldn’t allow their critics into screenings or reporters into the premieres.

The Times explained this to their readers. Disney responded by attacking the Times over journalistic standards:

“We regularly work with news organizations around the world that we don’t always agree with, but in this instance the L.A. Times showed a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards,” Disney said in a statement in response to The Times’ allegations. “Despite our sharing numerous indisputable facts with the reporter, several editors, and the publisher over many months, the Times moved forward with a biased and inaccurate series, wholly driven by a political agenda–so much so that the Orange County Register referred to the report as ‘a hit piece’ with a ‘seemingly predetermined narrative.’ We’ve had a long relationship with the L.A. Times, and we hope they will adhere to balanced reporting in the future.”

Who will stand up for the LA Times journalists? Miller came to the Times from the Hollywood Reporter, a trade publication that won’t cross the studio lest they lose not only access but their big ad budget for Christmas and the awards season. So THR simply reported that this all happened without taking a stand. I don’t see anyone at Variety backing Miller up either.

So Miller hangs out there on his own. But good for him. In time, Disney will have to crawl back to the LA Times– they’re the only newspaper in that town. Meanwhile, reviews aren’t really necessary for Marvel movies. Thor’s fans would have come even if he cooked Loki in a Cuisinart.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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