Well, looks like it’s actually going to happen. Disney is going to buy Twentieth Century Fox.
Rumor from within the movie industry suggests that a deal between the two major studios will be announced some time in the next week, at which point, Disney will walk away with a big chunk of brand new movie properties to add to their growing empire.
So, big question: is this a good thing for movie fans as a whole?
That all depends on where your priorities lie.
Are you a fan of new, original movie content, coming from a wide range of different creative teams? If so, seeing Fox folded into the Disney umbrella might not be a great thing for you.
Disney already earns over a quarter of all box office revenue earned each year, and that’s without factoring in the phenomenal merchandizing empire the company has built.
Fewer voices at the top of big movie studios will mean less originality and diversity within the industry, and as everything at Fox will now go through Disney executives, it means that the big business of moviemaking is better poised to force out the little guy.
But, hey, that’s fairly abstract. How does this affect the big movie brands that you actually care about?
First off, let’s look at the biggest earner on Fox’s portfolio of properties: their Marvel movie rights.
Expect the “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four” franchises to be added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe very rapidly after “Avengers 4”. Disney has a vested interest in bringing more iconic characters to their superhero movie series.
This will really help the company out of a bind, and it might be a big part of the reason why Disney has been so aggressively pursuing Fox during the negotiation period.
If the company is about to lose big name actors like Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth, their MCU will also lose some of the most popular heroes that Marvel has spent almost a decade building up into household names.
The easiest solution to this is simply to get in new versions of Magneto, Professor X, Wolverine, Reed Richards, and Susan Storm, in order to build a brand new set of heroes off the back of the popularity that Fox has already established.
If you’re a fan of what Fox has been doing with their “X-Men” universe, this might not be great news. Expect all actors to be replaced, with the possible exception of Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, because Disney knows a hit when they see it.
So, the Disney-Fox deal: great for Marvel fans, less great for “X-Men” fans.
At least the X-Men and the Fantastic Four can return to Marvel comic books if the war between these studios finally ends!
There’s also another key nerdy property that’s going to see some benefits from this.
If Disney owns Fox, then that means that (most of) the rights to the “Star Wars” movies will be united in a single place.
George Lucas, the shrewd businessman that he is, still owns “Empire Strikes Back”, “Return of the Jedi”, and Episodes I to III outright – he was smart enough to make these as independent movies, so he holds the copyright for them.
The original “Star Wars”, renamed “A New Hope”, on the other hand, will fall into Disney’s hands.
There may well be a silver lining to the Fox/Disney deal.
We might finally (finally!) get a “fixed” version of the original “Star Wars”; the original cut of the film that fans have been crying out for ever since the Special Edition movie was released.
No more Han shooting first, no more awkward CGI Jabba the Hutt.
Is it worth seeing Disney increase their market share, as part of their ongoing mission to take over the world? Probably not.
That said, it’s a nice consolation prize.