Walt Disney recently released some fetching Mickey Mouse/LGBT hats as part of the avalanche of merchandise they market to prop up film revenues; they’re cute.
What isn’t quite to cute is the company’s appetite for taking the LGBT dollar while at the same time minimising or largely obliterating any meaningful LGBT characters in their movies.
A lot of this is driven by the growing importance of Far Eastern and Middle Eastern markets. There’s definite kow-towing going on here.
‘Beauty And The Beast’ (2017) is a case in point; a rumoured and hinted at scene charting a character’s sexuality as non-100% heterosexual provoked a feeding frenzy in Asia
and ultimately the movie was threatened with being banned. The dollars to be had in Malaysia and Indonesia were seemingly too much for Disney to turn down and do the decent thing: make a stand. So they bottled it.
The company only needs to look at 'Black Panther' and its billion dollars and more
plus box office take. Producers Marvel gave the market what is patently wanted and had craved for: a black super hero blockbuster where non-black characters were periphery in a movie that didn’t pander to satellite markets who might not ‘get it’. Spike Lee saw the film as so momentous he told Vulture: ‘'I look at the world now differently; Before 'Black Panther' and after Black Panther’."
If Disney learnt this lesson - that doing the right thing and not chickening out when a storyline could accommodate an LGBT character/storyline - they would surely see even more embracing from the LGBT community than they already get. And as we know it’s not inconsiderable as it stands. The ears, however, are still cute.