Is Disney really paying off critics to bad-mouth their box office competition?

in DC, Disney, Entertainment, Marvel, Movies

In the past month a myth about movie critics being paid off by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures to bad-mouth Warner Brothers’ Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse has been growing online so much, a petition has been made on Change.Org to make sure such a crime doesn’t happen.

To give you a little bit of background on this whole mess, YouTube personality Grace Randolph perpetuated this myth last month when she called upon her fans on Twitter to attack movie critics who dared to even have the unmitigated gaul to compare Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Captain America: Civil War when early screenings were going on for Civil War.

Randolph even retweeted something one of her followers sent to her of a critic just saying in her Rotten Tomatoes blurb Captain America: Civil War did a better job balancing fun and seriousness compared to BVS.

Randolph also accused via retweet of online personality John Campea of being in the bag for Disney when one of her followers tweeted her a picture of Campea at the Captain America: Civil War premiere. Camp, who liked both Man Of Steel and BVS defended himself on Twitter as well as posting a response video on Youtube.

Does this myth have any ground to stand on? Is Disney really greasing the palms of movie critics to make sure the House Of Mouse reigns supreme at the box office? Like the word “supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus”, this is all nonsense.

I’m not saying this because I write for a primarily Disney-themed blog. For the record, I LOVED BVS. I saw it in theaters four times! (Guardians of the Galaxy still holds my personal record of seeing a movie in theaters six times. Starlord forever!) Ben Affleck was the bomb as Batman.

via Giphy via Giphy

I’m saying this because common sense tells you it simply isn’t true. No matter how many times Randolph retweeted a critic comparing BVS and Civil War or how sophisticated the petition tried to sound, there was absolutely no proof at all. You can’t make strong accusations like that and then bring nothing to the table. Why would respected movie critics like Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune or Ty Burr of the Boston Globe compromise their integrity and bring their character into question by accepting bribes from Disney just to give a movie a bad review? Honestly think about that.

As much as I loved Batman v Superman, I can see why people didn’t like it at all. The movie seemed to be missing some key plot points (How did Superman know Bruce Wayne was Batman? What exactly was Lex Luthor’s reason for hating Superman? Why was Diana Prince looking at that sword in the museum with Bruce?), the tone was too dark at times and Jesse Eisenberg seemed to be channeling Daffy Duck for his version of Lex.

What would Walt Disney Studios have to gain by paying off critics to give their competition bad reviews? They currently have five of the top ten highest grossing films of all time (Star Wars: the Force Awakens, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Frozen and Iron Man 3) and three of the top five highest grossing films of 2016 so far (Zootopia, Civil War and the Jungle Book). Does that sound like a company in need of bribing?

Live look at Disney and their box office earnings this year. Via GiphyLive look at Disney counting their box office earnings this year. Via Giphy

Also, if Disney paid off critics to badmouth their competition, then why did this year’s Deadpool, a Marvel property owned by 20th Century Fox, get such rave reviews and all the money in the world? Wouldn’t Disney make sure the merc with a mouth went down in flames so their Marvel properties ruled the roost at the box office? No, it didn’t happen cause Deadpool is an awesome movie and deserves all the praise it gets.

"Oh my God! Did Keith just totally make sense?"  “Oh my God! Did Keith just totally make sense?” via Gifsme

Now look, I am sure there has always been some funny business going on behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. After all, the radio business was busted with the Payola scandal back in 2005 and the late 50’s. But in those instances, radio stations got incentives to play certain songs and artists; not sideline a record label’s competition.

But to say a major movie studio that is THRIVING right now is paying off critics to give their competition bad reviews? No, that’s just not happening. Disney has bigger fish to fry.

(Main image courtesy of Marvel)


  1. EricJ

    I CAN’T BELIEVE this is actually becoming a thing–But then, this is the same year where Trump voters actually believe that Bernie Sanders is personally sending out his “army of protestors” to wreck rallies, muahaha…
    Bat-Boiz are so determined to prove that Batman v. Superman was a Movie Unfairly Wronged, they’re looking for “industry conspiracies” wherever they can find one, in the hopes it’ll somehow “discredit” the fact that Zack Snyder destroyed his career at Warner.

    “It -must- be Disney bribes, because if it was just Marvel, why would Fox get mediocre reviews for X-Men Apocalypse?” Oh, I don’t know, maybe Apocalypse was a MEDIOCRE MOVIE, and Civil War WASN’T?
    This is becoming the -exact same- turning point that Animation faced in ’02-’03, when critics and analysts had to come to grips with the fact that audiences were starting to tell the difference between a Pixar movie, a Dreamworks movie, and a Paramount Nickelodeon movie–Only last time, when analysts tore their hair and said “Why did Finding Nemo become a hit and Sinbad and Hey Arnold flop?”, we started to grasp the idea that -maybe- one’s studio’s output was not as good as another’s.
    Possibly, by the end of the year, we’ll reach that apotheosis that, like ’03 animation, “Superhero movies” are not some monolithic marketable coverall genre from one nameless studio, that All Comic Book Movies Are Not Created Equal, and…that maybe Zack Snyder and Bryan Singer really are crap directors after all, and that Fox should give back their heroes like Sony did. And if we do finally realize that, sure as heck took us long enough.

  2. Tom JK

    I am going to point this out. I haven’t seen “X-Men: Apocalypse” yet, but Bryan Singer isn’t really that crappy of a director. He did the first X-Men and “X2,” produced “First Class,” and directed “Days of Future Past,” which were actually some good X-Men films. Yet, one of his best films is “The Usual Suspects.” I won’t say he’s up there with Nolan, Spielberg, or Scorsese. However, with the exception of “Superman Returns,” he’s had some impressive work. I forgot, he also did “Valkyrie.”

    Still, I knew “Apocalypse” wouldn’t be that strong as the others. I guess I’ll find out once I see it soon enough.

  3. Jack

    I seriously doubt there is any kind of conspiracy going on here but I would like to call out the author on his apparent lack of knolwedge of the BvS film.

    Author: How did Superman know Bruce Wayne was Batman? What exactly was Lex Luthor’s reason for hating Superman? Why was Diana Prince looking at that sword in the museum with Bruce?

    How did Superman know Bruce Wayne was Batman? Really? Uhhh….maybe because he has x-ray vision and super hearing? I can’t believe you think this is a plot hole.

    What was Lex Luthor’s reason for hating Superman? Because he was a power thirsty psychopath who believed that Superman was in insult to the human race and to himself. He had a deep hatred of Gods and people who God like power. This is all thoroughly explained in the film.

    Why was Diana Prince looking at that sword in the museum with Bruce? Well, Diana was looking at the sword. Bruce was looking for Diana. Bruce finds Diana looking at the sword and so he looks at it too before making conversation. Is this seriously a question? I mean really? Does it even matter why they were both looking at a sword?

    It’s hard for me to believe the author LOVED BvS when he obviously couldn’t follow the plot. lol

    1. will

      To the question of how did Superman know Bruce was Batman, they show him overheardhis communication with Alfred and he’s not an idiot

  4. tytty


    Disney is bribing the critics to badmouth Dc movies. Which is why Suicide Squad was such a hit but the critics panned it.

    Your idols have no integrity, face it.

  5. Ted

    Quit lying you know Disney is bribing.

  6. Mac

    Now, at the end of 2017, with the absolutely awful the last jedi out, praised by critics and hated by viewers worldwide, i have NO DOUBT DISNEY IS PAYING CRITICS.

    The movie is a disaster. And almost no professional critics said anything.


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