There’s just no stopping the industry juggernaut that is the Walt Disney Co. Not only has it acquired big players like Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm in the last two decades, it seems that Disney has now set its sights on a major competitor, 20th Century Fox.
According to a report by CNBC, Fox has been in talks to sell most of the company to Disney. While there is no certainty that this will actually lead to a deal, CNBC points out that due to the on-again, off-again nature of the talks, there’s a strong possibility that these discussions could be resumed anytime.
The move stems from a growing belief among Fox’s management that it’s ultimately ineffective to compete with other studios in terms of producing entertainment content and that it would be more lucrative if the studio focused on a group of properties mainly to do with news and sports.
According to the people with knowledge of the discussions, Disney isn’t looking to buy the whole of Fox as the latter company is retaining its broadcast network, sports programming assets, and Fox News and Business channel. But Disney is definitely eyeing the bulk of its entertainment properties including the movie studio, TV production and international assets, and networks such as FX and National Geographic.
If the two companies actually go through with the sale, the biggest impact would be seen in the movie industry (at least from a consumer standpoint). The rights to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope will go to Disney and all of Fox’s Marvel properties including the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and Deadpool may join their peers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)! Something legions of fans have been wanting for years.
There are many pros and cons to this. On one hand, it would be great to see all of Marvel’s major characters banding together for more faithful (and stronger?) adaptations of the crossovers that take place in the original comics. There will also be no more weird deals like the one Marvel Studios has with Sony with regards to the “Spider-Man universe”.
Maybe the calibre of the X-Men movies will be more consistent and Fantastic Four finally gets the treatment it deserves? Maybe that Avengers vs. X-Men movie can finally happen and “mutant” will no longer be a dirty word in the MCU.
But on the other hand, Fox is finding its own voice with their Marvel superheroes and storylines. While several of the X-Men movies are deeply flawed, the critical and box office success of X-Men: First Class, Deadpool and Logan is proof that Fox is capable of producing quality superhero fare if they bring on board the right talents and continue to favour a bolder approach to these stories.
The decisions Fox has made for their Marvel movies are decidedly un-Disney. For instance, Deadpool and Logan, both rated R, are darker, more visceral in their depictions of violence, contains snippets of nudity and the dialogue is peppered with profanity. Another element that we don’t see in the MCU is how Fox bravely explores different film genres and tones: Deadpool is a meta-black comedy, Logan is a neo-Western road movie and soon The New Mutants will be adding psychological thriller to the table as well.
If these movies are going to adhere to Disney’s more consistent tone and sanitised brand of storytelling like the ones from the MCU, the landscape is going to be less diverse. I mean…can you imagine a PG13 Deadpool movie? I didn’t think so.
What are your thoughts, geeks? Is Disney buying over Fox’s entertainment assets including their Marvel properties a good move or not?