Written By: Nick Poulimenakos
In what has become one of the biggest stories in entertainment history, Disney is in negotiations with 21st Century Fox to buy their television and film assets. It is a story that has made fans excited, angry, confused and, above all else, in a constant state of divisiveness. Mixed feelings regarding the deal have ravaged the internet since its initial report as the ramifications of the purchase would shake Hollywood to its core. With that in mind, the Talkies Network team has decided to run down the pros and cons of Disney buying Fox and what it means for the two conglomerates and the film industry in general.
Positive: The X-Men and Fantastic Four Come Home
Back in the 1990’s, Marvel Comics almost went bankrupt. To stop this, the film rights to several popular characters were sold to various film studios. Sony bought Spider-Man, Universal got The Hulk, and Fox was able to purchase the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Because of this, Mutants and Marvel’s first family are unable to appear in the incredibly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. But if this deal goes through, everything could change.
Fox has had incredible success with the X-Men film series, despite a few snags in the road. Logan and Deadpool are two of the most critically acclaimed superhero films ever and the main X-Men films catapulted the comic book movie genre into the modern era of filmmaking. The Fantastic Four series on the other hand has been a constant failure. Three films in and Fox can’t seem to get it right. Enter, Disney and Marvel.
With marvel finally getting their hands on these characters’ film rights, it would almost guarantee their entry into the MCU. Kevin Feige is reportedly trying his best to convince Disney to close the deal so that he may potentially put the X-Men and Fantastic Four into phase four of the franchise. In addition, Marvel would finally be able to properly adapt comic storylines. Captain America: Civil War was great, but everyone knows that Mutants play a big role in the comic’s version. With Fox’s latest, X-Men: Apocalypse under-performing at the box office, it may be time to restart the X-Men series and have them share the screen with The Avengers.
Negative: Would We Say Goodbye to the R-Rated Superhero Genre?
Simply put, Marvel Studios makes their films with the whole franchise in mind while Fox is more on a film-by-film basis. This means that Fox would rather have a director make their own X-Men film with loose ties to prior entries in the series while Marvel ensures that each film in the MCU nicely flows into the next. With Fox’s strategy, films like Logan and Deadpool were possible. Being entirely director driven, James Mangold was able to deliver a hard-hitting, emotional and brutal finale for the Wolverine character while Tim Miller brought fans the sarcastic, unhinged Deadpool we’ve been waiting for. With Disney buying Fox, are we saying goodbye to the r-rated superhero genre?
Fox is becoming known for their different and risky superhero efforts. Just look at the upcoming New Mutants trailer if you don’t believe me. Should Disney buy Fox, they would probably want their X-Men films to blend seamlessly with the rest of the MCU. The positive of this is we would finally get comic accurate suits. The bad news is that films like Logan are less likely to be made, as it doesn’t fit into the MCU style of filmmaking.
Yes, I know that Kevin Feige is open to making an r-rated superhero film but he hasn’t done it yet. I would speculate that Disney has not signed off on it yet. They clearly have no interest in going down this route yet so we may have to say goodbye to the sub-genre as it begins to hit its stride.
Positive: Disney’s Streaming Service
A while back, Disney announced that they would be pulling most of their content from Netflix and would create their own streaming service that would showcase their product. I, like many other fans, found this to be an odd choice as Disney may be a big company, but they don’t have nearly enough material when compared to Netflix to open their own streaming service. With the purchase of Fox’s film and television assets, this would give fans a bigger incentive to invest in the product.
Not only would we get to watch Disney’s classic animated films, but we’d get Avatar, The Simpsons, all Marvel films, Alien and so much more. On top of that, fans would get to watch original content made specifically for the streaming service. With this in mind, Disney’s decision to buy Fox’s assets becomes a lot clearer.
Negative: More Mature Film and Television Content Going Away
As I said above, Disney buying Fox could put a stop to the r-rated superhero film genre but that’s not all. Disney could halt more mature film and television content from Fox in general. Films like War for the Planet of the Apes and shows like Fargo would not be something that Disney would strive to produce. Their current slate of films revolve around animation, family-oriented live-action, Marvel and Star Wars films. On the television side, it is the ABC, Freeform and Disney Channel networks, all seen as family-friendly content.
Should the deal occur, we may see a serious drop in edgy television shows as Disney would probably want more power over Fox’s various entertainment divisions, especially on the T’V side as Disney would receive channels such as FX in the deal. It’s hard to think that Disney would get behind a show like American Horror Story but stranger things of happened before.
Potential Positive: Disney Making Fox its Mature Film and Television Wing
Here me out for a second with this one. Back in the 90’s Disney was the parent company to several film studios such as Miramax. For those who don’t know, Miramax is the studio that produced films such as Pulp Fiction. This means that Pulp Fiction was technically a Disney film for the time that the house of mouse own Miramax. Disney would be wise to not just use Fox’s film archive strictly for their streaming service. If Disney buys Fox, they could turn the studio into its more mature imprint.
This would allow Disney to not slap its castle logo on the film and still give fans more mid-budget films with adult themes. Not only does it allow filmmakers to shine and create their vision for a story, but it allows Disney to avoid cannibalizing its own audience at the multiplex. Disney could tap into a target audience they hadn’t used in over 20 years.
Negative: A Less Diverse Film Industry
As many fans have put it, this merger wouldn’t necessarily be good for the overall film industry. With fewer major studios, this would mean that directors and writers have fewer places to pitch their stories which could lead to a less diverse state of movies. Evidently, this idea sort of gets fixed with Disney using Fox specifically to make more mature content but less competition would also drive down compensation for said filmmakers. Disney would now hold the power of two major films studios and could easily set the bar for compensation at the next round of union negotiations.
As of now, Disney already earns up to $1 billion more than its closest competitor, Warner Bros and buying Fox sets the film industry on a course of a potential monopoly. I am a self-proclaimed Disney fanatic, but a monopoly isn’t good for the film industry. Disney was able to strong-arm theatres into giving the company 65% of tickets sales for the already expected commercially successful, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and attacked the L.A Times to putting out an article detailing the company’s work with the State of Anaheim for their theme parks. Backlash caused Disney to back down but with Fox now under their umbrella, the company would become stronger and more dominant than ever.
Positive: The Star Wars Saga United
Along with Disney receiving Fox’s film archive, they would also finally gain the distribution rights to the original Star Wars film. With Disney owning Fox, Lucasfilm would be able to once again own every single Star Wars film. Disney was always going to make new Star Wars films, but owning Fox would mean a lot of things in addition to the 1977’s film’s distribution rights. Disney would actually be able to restore the 20th Century Fox fanfare to the first six films in the saga, something that has become synonymous with the series itself.
Disney would also be able to finally release the original versions of the original trilogy in remastered format. Their streaming service would hold the distinction of having the entire Star Wars franchise under its roof and just think of the box-set opportunities that lie in front of Disney. With the physical distribution rights for the prequel and original trilogies being handed to Disney in 2020 (without A New Hope), the purchase of Fox would fast-track this.
Negative: What Happens to Fox’s Animation Studio?
Blue Sky Studios is known for films such as Ice Age and Rio. The films from this animation studio have never compared to what Disney has churned out in the last decade through their animation studio and Pixar, so why would they even bother with Blue Sky Studios? Would they have it run alongside their already established studios? In a more expected move, the studio would probably be shut down which leads to dozens of animators losing their jobs. Disney could potentially bring these animators into their own studios, but a studio like Blue Sky, which has films that are acclaimed and panned, it’s too hard to predict.
Bonus Positive: Could Hugh Jackman Come out of Retirement to Play Wolverine Again?
Fun fact, during the press tour for Logan, Hugh Jackman said that, although it wouldn’t have necessarily stopped him from putting the claws down, a team-up movie with The Avengers at the very least made him consider rethinking his departure from the comic book movie realm. Jackman even had this to say:
“If that was on the table when I made my decision [to quit], it certainly would have made me pause. That’s for sure. Because I always love the idea of him within that dynamic, with the Hulk obviously, with Iron Man but there’s a lot of smarter people with MBAs who can’t figure that out [laughs]. You never know.”
Hugh Jackman is, more likely than not, done with superhero films. But a fan cam dream right?
It is clear that Fox has what Disney wants. There is a lot of incentive for the house of mouse to pursue this deal to the fullest extent but with it, comes a lot of concern. Is a Fox and Disney merger the best decision for the film industry? In some cases, yes while in others, no. Whatever decisions the executives make, we’ll know soon enough as an announcement is set to occur within the week. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see.
So, do you want Disney to buy Fox’s film and television assets? Let us know in the comments down below!