UPDATE: Disney has restored the Los Angeles Times critics’ access to film screenings after banning them from movie previews and publicity access following a dispute over editorial coverage.
“We’ve had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at The Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns,” a Walt Disney Company spokesperson said in a statement. “And as a result, we’ve agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics.”
The New York Times had joined the media boycott of Disney movies. A spokeswoman said: “The New York Times will not attend preview screenings of Disney films until access is restored to the Los Angeles Times. A powerful company punishing a news organization for a story they do not like is meant to have a chilling effect. This is a dangerous precedent and not at all in the public interest.”
Disney has Pixar’s “Coco,” coming out November 22, and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on release December 15. Next year’s slate includes “Black Panther,” which is released in theaters February 16, and Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” starring Oprah Winfrey out March 9
The fallout from the Walt Disney Co.
decision to bar the Los Angeles Times, owned by Tronc
from advance screenings is now spilling over into awards season.
Four leading film-critics groups stated they are disqualifying Disney films from being in contention for their end-of-year awards ceremonies. The move is being made in protest at Disney barring the L.A. Times from advance screenings of movies and interview opportunities with creative talent after the newspaper’s exposé of the tortuous financial and political relationship between Disneyland Resort and the city of Anaheim, which plays host to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics said in a joint statement that while it was “admittedly extraordinary” to take this action, “Disney’s response [to the L.A. Times] should gravely concern all those who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included.”
— NSFC (@NatSocFilmCrix) November 7, 2017
Given the movies affected by the ban include “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Thor: Ragnorak,” the move is unlikely to significantly change the composition of the nominations from the critics groups but the move is unprecedented.
Critics from outlets including The Washington Post, Flavorwire and the A.V. Club are scaling back their own advance Disney film coverage in solidarity with the L.A Times.
Filmmakers, commentators and critics, including “A Wrinkle in Time” director Ava DuVernay and CNN anchor Jake Tapper, have also weighed in on the dispute.
Saluting the film journalists standing up for one another. Standing with you. https://t.co/M9Fs22vv4L
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) November 7, 2017
I just took out a subscription to the @LATimes in honor of Disney boycotting the newspaper because it engaged in journalism. Join me!
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 6, 2017
I won’t attend advance screenings of Disney movies or publish advance reviews until @latimes critics can, too: https://t.co/RxdtD54THR
— Alyssa Rosenberg (@AlyssaRosenberg) November 6, 2017
Disney said in a previous statement that the L.A. Times’s coverage of Anaheim displayed “ a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards” and was “a biased and inaccurate series, wholly driven by a political agenda.”