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Disney Caves in LA Times Critic Ban: ‘We’ve Agreed to Restore Access’

Four critics groups, NYT boycotted studio following ban over negative coverage

The Walt Disney Company has blinked in its standoff with the Los Angeles Times, caving to immense criticism after the studio denied critics and reporters from the publication access to advance film screenings.

“We’ve had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at The Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns, and as a result, we’ve agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics,” Disney said in a statement to the New York Times.

“The Los Angeles Times has covered the Walt Disney Company since its founding, here in Los Angeles, in 1923,” the paper told TheWrap in a statement. “We look forward to reporting on Disney well into the future.”

On Friday, the L.A. Times reported that Disney had blocked its writers and editors from previews in retaliation for the paper’s reporting on Disney’s business dealings with the city of Anaheim.

A wave of media outlets and critics expressed solidarity with the LAT in the following days. On Monday, the A.V. Club website and Washington Post critic at large Alyssa= Rosenberg announced they would boycott Disney screenings until the L.A. Times was allowed to attend them as well.

The National Society of Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics denounced  the studio’s media blackout on Tuesday.

The studio’s own talent like Ava DuVernay, the Academy Award-nominated director of the upcoming Disney film “A Wrinkle in Time,” stood firm with the press over the matter.

“Saluting the film journalists standing up for one another. Standing with you,” DuVernay tweeted late Monday.

Disney and the LAT would likely have little to squabble about on the film side — the studio’s Marvel property “Thor” is a massive box office success and one of the few bright spots in a dismal theatrical year.

The dominating movie company is on the verge of releasing Pixar’s latest animated film, “Coco,” over Thanksgiving and at Christmas will usher in the latest installment of the “Star Wars” saga, subtitled “The Last Jedi.”