In an industry where fiction reigns supreme, it’s no wonder that some movie fans love a good conspiracy theory or two. The latest drama in film revolves around whether or not Disney is paying film critics to pan movies outside of the Marvel Comics Universe (MCU), with much of the alleged evidence coming from the not-so-positive reviews of both X-Men: Apocalypse and Batman v. Superman. And now, there’s a Change.org petition, titled “Stop Disney from paying critics.” So — is this tin foil hat territory or a legitimate grievance? You be the judge.
According to the petition, “There is growing evidence Disney has been continually paying critics to attack Non MCU movies.” Back in 2009, Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment for a staggering $4.24 billion, and now, suspicious moviegoers believe that this relationship comes at the expense of all movies not within this particular universe of stories. “MCU movies are safe,” the petition says, “They’re not challenging at all. Just like a comic book movie is ‘supposed to be.'”
And apparently, non-MCU movies … are challenging?
The petition, which is addressed to both Rotten Tomatoes and movie audiences, points to numerous recent poor reviews of non-Marvel movies and the success of Disney’s new release, Captain America: Civil War as a sign of an ongoing plot. The petition also attributes any good reviews of non-Marvel films to strategic release dates, noting, “Films like Days Of Future Past did receive good reviews due to the fact it came out in 2014 when there was hardly any competition from MCU films. Had the movie been released in 2015 against Ant-Man it would have gotten the Man of Steel treatment.”
Ultimately, the petition concludes, “We need to raise awareness of this global plan to keep our films creative or risk have everything fall under the Disney label. Each studio brings their own distinctive and creative work and Disney needs to stop being greedy and understand this.” Thus far, the petition has garnered 417 supporters. There’s no word on the signers’ preference in hats.