The Fall of Disney Part IV

The Fall of Disney Part IV

Dear Mickey the Great and Terrible,

I could really use a break from covering the implosion of your 100-year-old company.  Seriously, I had to do weekend posts this weekend and everyone knows I hate doing that.  If you could see your way to clear to not blowing up in the wire for a day or two, I would really appreciate it.

I hate you,

The Dark Herald

Where do I start today?

Karyn McCarthy, I’ll start with her.  Here’s a recap of her beef with LucasFilm.  First, McCarthy is a somebody in Hollywood.  Bob Iger knows her personally, which tells you the level she’s operating at.  Last summer she had an offer on the table with Apple TV for a series that is now well into production and is supposed to be Tim Cook’s answer to Yellowstone, (at least that’s the goal), regardless of whether it is or not, there is already a multi-year commitment in effect for that production company and would have had a payout in the millions for McCarthy.  

In swoops LucasFilm and offers McCarthy a so much better deal if she will showrun Star Wars The Acolyte, but she has to fly to London and start work on Monday. She is seduced by the glamour and prestige of working for LucasFilm and turns down Apple’s offer. Off she goes to London. Then suddenly after two weeks she’s fired and given what is the fairly insulting amount of $5,000 for her time given her station in Hollywood.  This was for Star Wars the Acolyte, and there are two stories about that, either it’s deep into production on ten-episode first season, OR what they are shooting in Shinwood is just a sizzle reel. If it’s the latter then her sudden hiring and firing makes some sense.  McCarthy comes onboard and Kennedy comes to Chapek and says,” look who I’ve landed as showrunner for the Acolyte. You have to greenlight this!”

And Chapek replies, “what the fuck are you talking about?  I told you already, this series isn’t happening.”  Kennedy then tells Leslye Headland, you’ll have to let McCarthy go, we can’t pay her.  

If this is only a sizzle reel, then she didn’t get paid her half-million cancelation fee because the show doesn’t have it.  There is also a rumor that Bob Iger has launched an independent audit of Lucasfilm. IF TRUE, this indicates that Iger thinks Kennedy has been diverting funds from other projects like The Book of Boba Fett and (the surprisingly cheap-looking) Obi-Wan Kenobi series, for an expensive project that was never greenlit.  I’m not predicting this is the end of Kathleen Kennedy, I’ve been down that road too many times to go there again.

I will say that unless Disney can get this one thrown out of court, they will be paying McCarthy in full just to avoid going to discovery.  McCarthy retained the services of one of the few attorneys that isn’t afraid to fight Disney, Patty Glaser.

Glaser is also who Victoria Alonso has retained for her lawsuit against Disney.  Alonso’s firing shook up Hollywood because she had enough checkboxes that she seemed bulletproof.  She mouthed off in public to the CEO (Chapek), and then led his struggle session herself.  She actually describes herself as “Latinx” and is a lesbian. Everyone in Hollywood thought she was bulletproof, and she was not let go so much as outright shitcanned. Completely out of the blue.

At least that’s what it looks like.

Her number two position at Marvel was created right after Feige lost his own fight with Chapek during the Johannsson lawsuit.  Alonso’s position is being eliminated along with Alonso. Selecting a fall guy when there is an expected downturn is an old Hollywood tradition.  It also lets everyone at Disney know that checkboxes weren’t enough to save someone as high up and high visibility as Victoria Alonso.

And let’s be clear, Marvel didn’t “let her go,” she was dismissed with prejudice, meaning she will not be getting her golden parachute.  Disney’s grounds for this is that they have an exclusive contract with her, which she violated when she produced Argentina 1985.  Alonso’s hypocrisy in having anything to do with this movie is breathtaking.  Her mother was a high official in Argentina’s department of education, you didn’t fucking get that job without being very, very loyal to Junta.  When the Junta fell, Victoria was sent to America for her protection, which she admits but tries to make it sound like she was from a family of valiant lefty idealists.  She tends to leave out the part where she was sent here because her family was part of the military government.

Regardless, given how Disney operates there is no doubt that they have her over a barrel, the execution order wouldn’t have been signed unless her contract was filtered through several layers of Disney lawyers to make sure that every “i” was dotted and every “t” crossed. Mickey the Great and Terrible made certain she was well and truly screwed before her personal black Friday.  I don’t think they missed a trick, Disney even owns the rights to her biography.  Arbitration will be automatic and she will get a very small amount of money.  

Don’t get me wrong, the destruction of Marvel Studios has been a group effort. But in that unending parade of incompetence, she was the grand marshal. Every single idea she had was a terrible one that served to further damage the brand. From coming up with that hideous “mantle theory” of character development, which a freshman English major could have told you was a retarded idea, to retiring the golden X-Men brand because it had the word “men” in it. 

She even endorsed Jonathon Majors as Kang.

Every now and then Hollywood gets a bug up its collective ass, pulls a name out of a hat, and declares, we shall make this rando a brighter star than those that shine in the heavens.  The trades get behind the rando 100% and declare the rando to be the greatest talent since Brando.  They did it with Taylor Kitsch, Sam Worthington, Brie Larson, and What’s His Name from Starship Troopers, You Know Who I Mean, the Blond Guy Who Played Rico: Him.* It never works and they never learn from these repeated failures.  The old studio system could create a star from whole cloth but modern Hollywood simply cannot. 

Nonetheless, they decided to try again with Jonathon Majors.  The only good thing the media had to say about Antman 3 was Jonathon Majors’s performance as Kang was absolutely stellar, it was up there with Orson Wells as Caine. They couldn’t praise it enough.  I saw it, he did turn in a fine performance but it wasn’t jaw-dropping because the material was by a Rick and Morty writer, so jaw-dropping wasn’t in the cards.  

Majors is the keystone actor for Marvel’s Phase V and VI. Kang is the new Thanos.

Jonathon Majors was arrested on assault and attempted strangulation charges on Saturday night.  The woman, in this case, recanted her charges the next day but the DA is pushing forward, keep in mind this is the same guy who is hunting Trump on the basis of very thin and airy evidence, so he might want the public distracted.  

I’m trying to be reasonable here because we’ve all seen plenty of guys destroyed by false accusations. I suppose it’s nice that the media is giving Jonathon Majors a benefit of the doubt that Johnny Depp sure as hell never got and that Chris Pratt wouldn’t get on general principle.  Nice for a change even if we all know the reason why.

That said, there are a lot of people who worked with Majors in New York City coming forward and saying, “we were waiting for this to happen. He’s a psychopath.”  If it was just one accusation, that, Disney could bury that, especially if it is false. 

In any case, the woman has recanted… twice.  I guess the first one wasn’t good enough?  Or the check hadn’t cleared yet?  There is also a supposedly a video that clears him, which we haven’t seen yet.  It does take time to make those things and I guess nobody wanted to come in this weekend.

The real problem is the ancillary people coming out of the woodwork, with their Jonathon Majors stories. If this trickle continues Disney will likely decide he has to go, they are the only studio left that does not screw around with their morals clauses because they don’t have much choice in the matter. If the stories are still coming forward by the end of the week, Disney will fire him.  For now, they will wait and hope it blows over, or to be more accurate, try to make it blow over.  

If not Jonathon Majors will be joining the thousands of other Disney employees going to the mass graves that Bob Iger and morons of the Fort Mickey C-Suites have dug for them over the past ten years.  Yeah, some very unprofitable people are going to be fired out of the company but a lot are just average workers that will be paying for the mistakes of their bosses.

That brings me up to date on the Disney disasters of the weekend.  Hopefully, I can write about something else tomorrow. 

Okay, I’m done here.

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*Yes, I know his name is Casper Van Dien, I was making a point.

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