Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, co-founder of The Walt Disney Company with her granduncle Walt Disney, has co-directed a brand new film, that recently screened at Sundance. The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales takes a look at America’s dysfunctional and unequal economy and asks why the American Dream has worked for the wealthy, yet is a nightmare for people born with less. As a way to imagine a more equitable future, Disney uses her family’s story to explore how this systemic injustice took hold.
Abigail Disney has yet to find a distributor for the movie, but Amazon and Netflix would be the clear choices here, and Disney hopes that is the case as well.
Disney has long been a critic of The Walt Disney Company and their practices, mainly regarding cast members’ pay and benefits. As of today, Disneyland Resort Cast Members are currently being paid $17/hr. While over at Walt Disney World their Cast Members are paid $15/hr. In conjunction, CEO Bob Chapek and Bob Iger collectively made over $80 million last year. It should be noted Abigail Disney is not a major shareholder and is not in a position of management at The Walt Disney Company.
The Walt Disney Company released a statement regarding the upcoming film saying, “The well-being and aspirations of our employees and cast will always be our top priority. We provide a leading and holistic employment package that includes competitive pay and comprehensive benefits for our cast members to grow their careers and care for their families. That starts with fair pay and leading entry wages, but also includes affordable medical coverage, access to tuition-free higher education, subsidized childcare for eligible employees, as well as pathways for personal and professional development.”
Here is where I chime in. Now, I am not a Disney employee or Cast Member, and never have been, but from someone who reports on Disney every day of the week, I see the financial gains Disney are making, even in a pandemic. Stocks have stayed up, movies and series are doing well theatrically and on Disney+ and the parks are seeing great returns with Magic Keys for the Disneyland Resort selling out. So from a Cast Member standpoint, I can understand the frustration of wanting a better cost of living. That said, The Walt Disney Company appears to be addressing this.
The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales is is executive produced by Abigal’s brother Tim Disney and produced by their sister Susan Disney Lord. You can check The Hollywood Reporter’s review of the film here.