Chiwetel Ejiofor says Disney blockbusters 'are what sustain the industry' (exclusive)

Hanna Flint

The Walt Disney Company has been dominating the box office for years with no signs of slowing down.

Earlier this year, the entertainment company acquired 20th Century Fox which saw it take control of even more movie releases on the schedule.

In fact, the top grossing movies of this year have collectively made over £4.3 billion at the box office and they all happen to be Disney titles: Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, Aladdin and Toy Story 4.

These franchise films, Disney remakes and sequels have enticed many a reputable actor, in fact, Chiwetel Ejiofor has been enticed to star in all three categories.

The British thespian plays Baron Mordo in the Doctor Strange franchise, Scar in the remake of The Lion King (out on Friday) and will soon be see in the Maleficent sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JULY 09: Chiwetel Ejiofor attends the World Premiere of Disney's "THE LION KING" at the Dolby Theatre on July 09, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

So what does he think about Disney’s dominance of the release schedule?

“You need the balance in cinema,” Ejifor tells Yahoo Movies UK. “and it is true that the bigger films are what sustain the industry especially at the moment.

“The industry is quite challenged in terms of cinema by obviously other outlets, streaming and stuff, which is all amazing and it's all terrific, but it sort of puts a pressure on different things.

Read more: Why Scar is so different from the original in The Lion King

“It's great that if we can continue to have a real surge of cinema and being engaged in cinema and big movies,” the actor continues. “That will also allow for us to also enjoy and engage with independent cinema and so on.”

Some disagree with this sentiment and believe that the more blockbusters are made the less diversity of imaginative filmmaking will be achieved.

Avengers: Endgame is the highest grossing movie of the year (Credit: Disney)

“On the one hand, this degree of bludgeoning industry dominance is awe-inspiring,” writes film critic Guy Lodge for the Guardian. “Yet as long as Disney maintains its box-office stranglehold – and you have to go back to 2014 for a year in which it didn’t top the annual chart – it will be regarded as the principal architect of an ever more uniform and homogeneous popular cinema.”

Though Owen Gleiberman of Variety argues that the uniformity of popular cinema has been in place for decades and Disney aren’t working along.

Read more: The legal row behind ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’

“The movie studios of Hollywood ruthlessly compete, but where they’ve colluded is in the creation of a brash hypnotic fantasy-based theme-park movie culture that’s the enemy of organic cinematic intimacy,” he writes. “And the ultimate colluder, of course, is the audience.”

To Disney’s credit, the studio has done a lot int he last few years to break the white-washing legacy of blockbuster movie making, especially through the Disney remakes that are giving more ethnic minorities roles.

Let’s just hope some of the millions the big studios make can be reinvested into original storytelling as these films strengthen cinematic creativity as much as the franchises, remakes and sequels sustain the filmmaking industry.

The Lion King is out on Friday