Does Disney Own Warner Bros? Answered!

Walt Disney Productions’ late 1928 debut Steamboat Willie stowed away Mickey Mouse into audiences’ hearts, launching Disney’s first Golden Age. The Mouse marched his way to fame through nearly 150 charming theatrical shorts throughout the 1930s. Animator Tex Avery then engineered a worthy Warner Bros. challenger introducing audiences in 1937 to a “pathetic character” who was “looney”. Bugs Bunny and his Looney Tunes gang reshaped twentieth-century animation trends. Amidst Disney’s wartime studio strike, Warner Bros. playfully subversive shorts starring Bugs, Daffy Duck, and others defined comedy sophistication while perfecting fast-paced slapstick and rapid gags.

Both animation houses pushed big-screen boundaries earning Academy recognition before Disney eventually seizing ratings through pioneering feature-length films like Snow White. Still, Bugs and Mickey remain evenly matched American icons and exemplary amplifications of their studios’ spirits today.

Does Disney Own Warner Bros

In this article, we’ll explore the complex relationship between Disney and Warner Bros and answer common questions about their ownership and studios, including:

  • Disney’s Relationship With Warner Bros Explained
  • The Mickey Mouse Gang vs The Looney Tunes
  • DC Vs Marvel Comics
  • Who Owns Warner Brothers?
  • What Studios Does Disney Own?

Disney’s Relationship With Warner Bros Explained

Disney and Warner Bros. share an almost century-long rivalry brimming with thrilling ups and downs. These two entertainment titans have battled for dominance since both companies arose in 1923. Their friendly competition began in the 1930s as Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse clashed with Warner Bros’ snarky Looney Tunes shorts over cartoon supremacy. This spirited rivalry continued through the years, with each studio pushing the other to new creative heights across comics, animation and eventually, worldwide blockbusters.

Today, both Disney’s Marvel and Warner Bros’ DC churn out top-grossing superhero franchises. And though their back-and-forth journey added excitement, the studios also bonded over hardships only they could understand. After many failed merger attempts, including Disney’s massive $80 billion bid in 2016, the companies continue independently. Yet their once-bitter rivalry transformed into an almost affectionate companionship.

Warner Bros’ sale to AT&T and Disney’s expansion by acquiring Fox Studios only raised the stakes. However, this historic rivalry endures as a thriving creative force which made both studios entertainment titans. Driven to outperform the other, Disney and Warner Bros now hold their own distinct, massively successful domains. Though the battlegrounds changed, their century-long friendly feud lives on through new mediums, continuing to push creative boundaries.

The Mickey Mouse Gang vs The Looney Tunes

The rivalry between Disney and Warner Bros started back in the 1930s during the Golden Age of animation.

In 1928, Disney struck gold with the creation of Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse cartoons like Steamboat Willie wowed audiences and made Disney a star animation studio.

Seeing Disney’s success, Warner Bros launched its animation department in 1930. They debuted popular characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig under the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies banners.

For over a decade, Disney and Warner Bros battled it out over animated shorts. Both studios churned out iconic cartoons that are still beloved today. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy starred in Disney shorts, while Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Wile E. Coyote led the Looney Tunes roster.

During this era, Warner Bros posed the first real challenge to Disney’s dominance in animation. But by the late 1930s, Disney pulled ahead with the first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This cemented Disney as the leader in animation.

The success of Snow White allowed Disney to build on feature films while Warner Bros focused on animated shorts. The friendly rivalry continued for decades and shaped the landscape of Western animation.

DC Vs Marvel Comics

Beyond animation, Disney and Warner Bros also compete in the world of comic books through their respective subsidiaries, Marvel and DC Comics.

DC Comics features iconic superheroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and more. It was purchased by Warner Bros in 1969.

Marvel features Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men, Iron Man, and others. Marvel Comics was bought by Disney in 2009.

So while they don’t directly own the publishers, Disney and Warner Bros each control the world’s biggest comic book universes. Fans often debate whether Marvel or DC has better superhero storylines and blockbuster films.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been one of Disney’s major assets and forms the highest-grossing film franchise of all time. The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has struggled to find its footing, though hits like Aquaman and The Batman have shown promise.

Superhero showdowns like Captain America vs Superman regularly fuel the pop culture debate over Marvel and DC. But in reality, both publishers prosper under their respective parent companies. Comic fans don’t have to choose sides.

Who Owns Warner Brothers?

Warner Bros. Entertainment operates under shifting ownership. Originally Warner Bros. functioned independently. However, in 2019, AT&T acquired WarnerMedia, forming a new parent company for the iconic studio. This $85 billion merger brought Warner Bros. under the AT&T umbrella alongside subsidiaries like CNN and HBO.

Now AT&T WarnerMedia oversees Warner Bros. film, TV, gaming, merchandising and more as one consolidated media powerhouse. This grants Warner Bros. the resources of a vast multinational conglomerate while still retaining creative autonomy. With hits ranging from Wonder Woman to Mortal Kombat, the studio continues churning out pop culture phenomenons under its new parent company.

So while business operations shifted above it, Warner Bros. itself persists as an entertainment giant. The studios’ sprawling domain includes DC comics, the Justice League franchise, international sensations like Harry Potter, and even classics like Looney Tunes. Now backed by AT&T’s reach, Warner Bros. wields more dominance than ever before, while still retaining the spirit of innovation on which it was built.

What Studios Does Disney Own?

Disney has grown into a media titan over the past century through major acquisitions and building its own film labels. Here are some of the major film studios now owned by Disney:

Walt Disney Animation Studios

Founded in 1923 as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, this studio created classic animated films like Snow White, Cinderella, and The Lion King. It pioneered feature-length animation and continues producing hits like Frozen.


Pixar revolutionized computer animation with CGI-animated films like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Inside Out. Disney purchased Pixar in 2006 but allows it to operate independently.

Marvel Studios

Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009, gaining the rights to Marvel superheroes like Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Panther. Disney now releases MCU films like Avengers: Endgame.


By purchasing Lucasfilm in 2012, Disney acquired the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. It has since released new Star Wars films, with others in development.

20th Century Studios

Disney acquired 20th Century Fox in 2019 and rebranded the studio as 20th Century Studios. Its holdings include Avatar, Die Hard, Planet of the Apes, and other major franchises.

Searchlight Pictures

Disney also acquired Fox’s arthouse film studio Searchlight Pictures in 2019. Searchlight is known for films like Little Miss Sunshine, The Shape of Water, and Nomadland.

Along with its TV networks, Disney now owns an unmatched collection of blockbuster film franchises spanning animation, superheroes, sci-fi/fantasy, and more. But it does not yet own any part of its old rival Warner Bros.


While Disney and Warner Bros have been competitors for nearly a century, they remain completely separate companies. Neither studio owns the other.

They continue to compete for box office dominance and pop culture relevance through their iconic animated characters, superhero franchises, and other intellectual property.

Disney has grown into the world’s largest media company through major acquisitions like Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Fox. But Warner Bros also owns lucrative assets like DC Comics, Harry Potter, and its vast film/TV library.

The relationship between Disney and Warner Bros is complex and ever-evolving. However the studios target mostly different audiences and have managed to succeed side-by-side for decades without merging. Their friendly rivalry lives on as each produces content that shapes pop culture and entertains millions around the world.

Ahmi John knows the ins and outs of every Disney World resort, from value hotels to deluxe villas. She has stayed at over 10 different resorts and loves helping families choose the perfect homebase. Her favorite resort activities include sipping cocktails at Trader Sam's and watching the fireworks from the beaches of the Polynesian.

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