Don't look for any upcoming Marvel or Star Wars reviews in the LA Times. In response to a Los Angeles Times piece about the relationship between the Walt Disney Company and the city of Anaheim, California, the company is blocking the paper from advance screenings of its movies. Studios commonly offer reviewers advance screenings so critics have time to write reviews before movies become available to the general public. The Los Angeles Times is a huge paper and source for news in the Southern California area, so you'd expect its writers to have easy access to these big screenings.
Los Angeles Times writer Glenn Whipp said that Disney has banned the paper from screenings of movies like Thor: Ragnarok and the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi in retaliation for its critical coverage of Disney's relationship with the city of Anaheim, which is the home of Disneyland. Whipp explains.
"Disney didn't like the Times' recent two-part story detailing Disneyland's business ties with the city of Anaheim."
Disney has banned the LA Times for an unspecified amount of time, but they will for sure not be able to cover Thor: Ragnarok and The Last Jedi, the latter is one of the most anticipated movies in cinematic history. It's a blow that the LA Times will definitely feel, but the paper seems to be taking it all in stride.
One of the subjects of the Los Angeles Times story, published in September, is the company-city relationship over a 10,241-space parking garage which Anaheim built and owns, but leases to Disney for $1 dollar per year. Disney reportedly receives all of the revenue generated from the parking structure, which charges $20 dollars per vehicle to park and $35 dollars for a preferred spot near elevator access. Disney is seeing some pushback from the city of Anaheim for the first time in 62 years for a variety of other issues as well.
This could be a slippery slope for the Mouse House silencing their critics. This could set a dangerous precedent going forward with all types of media, but this is the Los Angeles Times that we're talking about. The paper is not a blog or a small website, it's one of the biggest news outlets in the world. The way that Disney has handled the situation is concerning to say the least. After all, the story did not even have to do with the movie studio, it was specifically about the theme park and the city of Anaheim.
There are always two sides to a story and there could be more going on behind the scenes that the general public is not privy to, but no other news about the situation is available at this time. While it isn't clear how long the Disney blackout will take place for the Times, the paper has said that it will continue to cover Disney movies, just not ahead of time. You can read more about Disney blocking the LA Times via The Los Angeles Times.