As of Thursday morning, the Walt Disney Co. is set to own a large part of the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox in a $52.4 billion deal. With this merger, the number of major studios in Hollywood will go from six to five, and the combined Disney and Fox assets would have a 39% theatrical market share, according to Variety.
The deal, which some have said will raise red flags among antitrust officials, is still awaiting regulatory approval, which could take anywhere from 12 to 18 months, according to Variety.
This deal is sort of the opposite of the Paramount Case of 1948, when RKO Pictures shuttered, divorcing movie theaters from the ownership of the studios that created the films those theaters were screening.
A merger is a wish your boardroom makes, and all that.
(In other news, the FCC is expected to repeal net neutrality Thursday, so...more great news for big corporations.)
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Most of the chatter around this deal has centered around two things: one is that Disney is becoming a monopoly. Disney already owns Pixar, Marvel and The Studio Formerly Known As Lucasfilm. Disney’s acquiring of Fox isn’t just another merger deal — it’s one of the biggest deals to go down in Hollywood history.
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The other talking point is that, well, hey, now that Disney owns Fox properties, that means that a majority of the Marvel properties are now in Disney’s hands.
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This means — as many have pointed out on Twitter — that the X-Men can now theoretically be in “Avengers: Infinity War” and other Marvel films. Ditto Deadpool and the Fantastic Four.
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But there’s some other properties that Disney has now acquired that don’t really fit the House of Mouse’s squeaky clean image. Read on to see some of what might be coming to a theater near you under a new Disney banner.
- Fantastic Four
All of the above films and characters are either super violent or not very Disney-like, something that “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds pointed out on Twitter last week.
The other fun thing to think about here: What if Disney made an Avengers film with Captain America and the Fantastic Four? Chris Evans plays Captain America and also played The Human Torch in Fox’s 2005 bid to make that live-action franchise happen. (If you really want to check out something special, peep this unreleased “Fantastic Four” that Fox made back in 1994 solely to keep the rights to the franchise.)
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Anyway, Chris Evans has some ideas:
- “Die Hard”
- “Independence Day”
- “Planet of the Apes”
Ho, ho, ho. Now I have a lot of R-rated franchises. Does this mean we’re going to see a “Yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon!” PG-13-ification of some of film’s most enduring action franchises?
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But, on another note, Disney now owns the “Avatar” franchise, which is reported to have four planned sequels. The first film, released in 2009, brought in almost $3 BILLION worldwide.
- “Alvin and the Chipmunks”
- “Doctor Doolittle”
- “Home Alone”
- “Ice Age”
- “Night at the Museum”
All of these franchises are at least three films in, with the exception of “Goosebumps.” Expect more from the House of Mouse in the coming years.
Straight-up weird properties to now think of as ‘Disney’ properties
- “M*A*S*H” (Robert Altman film and the Fox TV series)
- “The Omen” franchise
- “Rocky Horror Picture Show”
- “Romancing the Stone”
- “The Sound of Music”
- “X-Files” franchise
All that needs to be said:
- “American Dad!”
- A 39% stake in Europe’s Sky TV
- “Family Guy”
- Fox TV
- The entire FX network
- Hulu ownership stake
- India’s Star TV,
- National Geographic
- “The Simpsons”
This show lineup is interesting, but what’s more interesting is that Disney, who already put a lot of their catalog on Hulu, will now own a 60 percent stake in that streaming service. Disney has announced plans to make its own sreaming platform for its own properties, so the future of Hulu might be Mickey Mouse. Who knows.
The Disney-owned ESPN can also now use Fox’s regional sports networks as a promotional platform.
However, it’s important to note that this deal only covers most of Fox’s assets. Disney isn’t touching FOX News.
Anyway, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” comes out today, and it’s projected to make anywhere from $424-$440 million in its first weekend. This is Disney’s world, and we’re just living in it.