Mary into a floating theme park, Port Disney, also came to grief. Yet the corporation is so large it can carry such occasional failures. Disney's recent animated film Aladdin, not only a huge box office success, but then the best-selling video of all time, soon made more in profits than was lost in the Queen Mary débâcle.
The growth of the entertainment corporations carries dangers and benefits, both in the economic and cultural senses. The economics of such large-scale ventures invite large-scale crime, and Knoedelseder (1986) has, for example, described the involvement of the Mafia in the American record business. The involvement of gangland bosses in the vast entertainment centre of Las Vegas has also frequently been described. Yet, at the other end of the scale, the money involved is sometimes ploughed back into the arts in unexpected ways. To take one instance, the owners of the vast Circus Circus and Excalibur hotels in Las Vegas recently built and opened a third. This is the Luxor, a 30-storey black glass pyramid with its own sphinx, containing 2528 rooms. There is a 'museum' with reproductions, and a gift shop where you can buy a seventh-century bronze statue for £10 000. However, there are also serious lectures on Egyptian art and the Egyptian music and dancing shows employ more than 300 professional performers in a year. The hotel chain subsidizes publications which deal with matters of Egyptology, and sells scrolls containing genuine Egyptian calligraphy and painted hieroglyphics. There are also classes in this art. As we shall have occasion to notice below, the world of art and the world of the theme park often curiously interrelate.