Last Updated on August 4, 2022 by Heather
Disney is on its way to becoming the most powerful company in the history of the entertainment industry. With so many companies under its belt, it is easier to list the companies that Disney doesn’t own rather than the ones that they do. With Disney’s streak of buying out most of the entertainment industry, one may wonder, does Disney own Warner Bros too?
Warner Bros. Entertainment is one of the largest studios and production conglomerates in the United States. Founded in 1923, Warner Bros. is entertainment industry royalty, alongside big names such as Disney, Paramount, Universal Studios, etc. Though Disney did try to buy Warner Bros. in 2016, the deal was unsuccessful and Warner Bros continues to stand as a media conglomerate separate from Disney.
Disney’s history of purchasing various studios is long and complex. To tell you everything in brief, in this article I’ll explain Disney’s relationship with Warner Bros. and talk about the other studios Disney currently owns. So, if you’d like to know more about how Disney became one of the biggest monopoly figures in the entertainment industry, keep reading.
Disney’s Relationship With Warner Bros Explained
Disney and Warner Bros. have what can only be described as a rivalry for the ages. Both companies were founded in 1923 and since then have been battling for the top spot in the American entertainment industry. Though their competition began in the 1930s with Mickey Mouse vs. Looney Tunes, it continues just as strong today in the form of DC superheroes vs. Marvel.
Since Warner Bros and Disney were founded in the same year, the media has always drawn comparisons between the projects churned out by these two studios. To add fuel to the flame, the constant back and forth for the number one position, made the parallel journeys of these two studios even more thrilling than the films they produced.
The rivalry between the two is a book with many parts and several chapters. However, here is a quick summary of the main points of conflict between Disney and Warner Bros.
The Mickey Mouse Gang vs The Looney Tunes
It all started in the 1930s when Disney came up with the Mickey Mouse franchise. Mickey Mouse was a lovable character, and the shorts within this franchise showed child-friendly stories of Mickey and his friends going on adventures. For about a decade, Disney ruled the entertainment industry, with the credit for producing the best animated short films in the world.
However, everything changed in the 1940s when the Looney Tunes started getting attention. The Looney Tunes were developed in the 1930s, at the same time as Disney’s Mickey Mouse. However, the Big Mouse overshadowed any chance at popularity.
It wasn’t until the 1940s, in the golden age of the Warner Bros animation studios, that the Looney Tunes started to occupy the title for best-animated shorts.
In contrast to the family-friendly Mickey Mouse franchise, Bugs Bunny from the Looney Tunes was edgy, funny, and targeted towards adults. Audiences fell in love with Warner Bros. writing and animation as it was completely different from what you normally expect from cartoons. Warner Bros. occupied the top position for a while until Disney retaliated with their own full-length animated feature films.
DC Vs Marvel Comics
The back and forth between Disney and Warner Bros continued for ages and turned into a battle of superheroes. Warner Bros. acquired DC Comics in 1969. The battle of DC vs. Marvel has been persistent since the emergence of comics in the 1930s and 40s. However, as Disney bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009, the battle extended from books to the screen by bringing the two studios face-to-face once more.
Amidst this long battle, Disney attempted to buy Warner Bros a couple of times. Most notably, in 2016, Disney’s CEO at the time, Bob Iger, called up Warner Bros. CEO, Jeff Bewkes, proposing a merger. However, Warner Bros. had already signed with AT&T at the time, so Disney’s offer never saw the light of day.
Because of the unfortunate timing, the two rivaling studios never got the opportunity to unite as one. Warner Bros. went on to be a part of AT&T. Meanwhile, Disney purchased 21st Century Fox. Disney and Warner Bros. continue to stand separately as two powerful media conglomerates. Though they were unable to reunite, their rivalry has blossomed into companionship over shared hardships and a love for entertainment.
Who Owns Warner Brothers?
The media conglomerate, WarnerMedia LLC, owns Warner Bros. Entertainment. Furthermore, AT&T currently owns WarnerMedia. So, long story short, WarnerMedia is the parent company of Warner Bros. However, all of WarnerMedia is owned by AT&T so Warner Bros Entertainment is currently under the ownership of AT&T.
AT&T is a multinational media conglomerate. As of 2018, they own CNN, HBO, and WarnerMedia. With both HBO and Warner Bros. under their wing, AT&T is responsible for some of the biggest pop cultural sensations in current media, such as the Justice League, Game of Thrones, all of the DC comics, etc.
What Studios Does Disney Own?
Disney doesn’t own Warner Bros. Entertainment. However, as of 2022, they have nine large production studios under their wing. These nine studios are responsible for creating some of the best films in the industry today and are all massively successful in their own right. Here are the nine studios that Disney currently owns.
Walt Disney Animation Studios: This is the animation studio that created all of our favorite animation films. The Walt Disney Animation studio was the first studio built by Disney, founded in 1923. Some of its most popular films are the Disney Princess franchise and classic movies such as The Lion King, Tarzan, The Jungle Book, etc.
Walt Disney Pictures: Walt Disney Pictures used to be the same as Walt Disney Animation Studios. The two studios separated in the 1980s. Walt Disney Pictures is responsible for classic live-action Disney films such as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and the new Disney live-action remakes.
Disneynature: This film studio was founded in 2008 and is responsible for making nature documentaries. So far it has produced 16 high-budget documentaries. Their filmography includes films such as The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos, Earth, OceanWorld 3D, etc.
Pixar Animation Studios: Disney purchased Pixar from Lucasfilm in 2006. Pixar was a longtime collaborator of Disney Animation studios even before the official purchase. Some of the most well-known Pixar films include the Toy Story franchise, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, etc.
Marvel Studios: Disney bought Marvel Studios in 2009 after the first Iron Man movie. Seeing the potential of crossover superhero movies, Disney took Marvel Entertainment under its wing. Since then, the studio has produced some of the biggest blockbusters in cinematic history through the Avengers and other superhero movies.
Lucasfilm: After purchasing Pixar, Disney also went on to buy Lucasfilm in 2012. Lucasfilm was founded in 1971. It is most recognized for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Aside from this, it is also home to classics such as Labyrinth and The Land Before Time.
20th Century Studios: Disney bought 20th Century Fox in 2019. 20th-Century Studios is responsible for all the live-action films of 20th Century Fox. Their filmography includes Avatar, Titanic, the new Star Wars films, and more.
20th-century Animation: Formerly known as Fox Animation Studios, this studio was purchased alongside the rest of 20th-century fox. The studio created some of the most beloved animated films in entertainment such as Anastasia, Rio, the Ice Age franchise, etc.
Searchlight Pictures: Searchlight pictures is another 20th Century Fox studio purchased by Disney in 2019. Since its foundation in 1994, it has created many iconic films such as Black Swan, Little Miss Sunshine, Jojo Rabbit, etc.
So, to summarize, does Disney own Warner Bros? No, they do not. However, Disney and Warner Bros. are both doing well separately and will continue to be rivals and contributors to the best films in the world.