The legendary “Disney Vault” is growing, much to the dismay of theatre managers and film programmers attempting to acquire the rights to screen movie classics from the 20th Century Fox catalogue. A new report by Vulture details the difficulties and challenges presented to various programmers across the country who were denied the ability to show classics such as The Omen and The Princess Bride at their local cineplex.
While no official reason has been given for the sudden change in policy, theories abound, ranging from Disney attempting to nudge consumers into subscribing to its upcoming streaming service, Disney+, to an assumption that Disney may just be doing business as usual and extending a long held policy for Disney releases to the newly acquired Fox properties.
There are some who wonder if there is a more nefarious reason for the change, however. Vulture cites an anonymous theatre professional claiming that Disney is denying theatres the rights to classic Fox properties to increase the number of screens showing newer titles. “Disney considers any screen that’s taken up by an older movie…to be a screen that could be showing the new Marvel or Star Wars title instead,” writes Matt Zoller Seitz in the piece, ‘Disney Is Quietly Placing Class Fox Movies Into Its Vault, and That’s Worrying.’
Whatever the reason, if this policy becomes standard and is not reversed, it is a sad day for cinephiles everywhere, and an unforeseen consequence of the dominance of corporate Hollywood.