What Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox means for Hollywood and its global audience

The $71.3 billion Disney-Fox deal has ushered in a new phase of media consolidation and also brought down the number of big Hollywood movie studios down to five — Warner Bros., Sony, Disney, Universal, and Paramount.

Gautam Chintamani March 27, 2019 18:59:23 IST
What Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox means for Hollywood and its global audience

Following the acquisition by Disney, it's the end of the road for 20th Century Fox as we know it. One of the most recognised logos in the world for film lovers, 20th Century Fox would not only boost Disney’s stock but the acquisition has also given it a great shot in the arm in terms of both future projects as well as a rock-solid catalogue that includes classics such as The French Connection, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Patton, The Plant of the Apes and X-Men. Even though Disney has not acquired Fox’s network-TV, sports and news, which would be rebranded as Fox Corp, it did pick up the studio’s TV production company. As a result, Disney now also owns The Simpsons.

What Disneys acquisition of 21st Century Fox means for Hollywood and its global audience

Disney has completed the acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Twitter/@Marvel

Now that the merger has been inked, it’s anybody’s guess what lays ahead but one can get an idea from Disney’s 2012 purchase of the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas. Since then Disney has completely revamped the series with new films, spin-offs and even a theme park, Galaxy’s Edge. So, how long before you see Deadpool prancing around in the X-Men universe, or The Simpsons hanging out with Mickey Mouse and pals or a completely revamped Marvel universe with X-Men in it? There is already talk about Disney rebooting the entire X-Men in line, with the exception of Deadpool.

Like the Spider-Man reboot, it’s second in less than a decade. The Avengers too would be up for a reboot once Avengers: Endgame releases. Disney would not want to lose any opportunity to attract newer audiences with younger actors reprising the roles made popular by the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, and Josh Brolin. The audience demography is getting younger and reboots are going to become the mainstay for nearly every major studio. Disney now also owns Kingsman series, which by far is the only series besides the new Spider-Man that has a young actor with Taron Egerton front-lining the franchise.

In addition to reboots, Disney now also has the option remaking a plethora of titles thanks to 20th Century Fox’s impressive catalogue. Fox has a range of star-driven classics, which ideally speaking should not be tinkered with but this being Hollywood, who knows what’s in store. Fox has the rights to All About Eve (1950), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Patton (1970), M*A*S*H* (1970), The Hustler (1961), The Planet of the Apes (1968), The French Connection (1971), Alien (1979), The Verdict (1982), Working Girl (1988) and Die Hard (1988) to name a few. Besides, remaking these films would also serve Disney in good steed once it launches its own streaming service, Disney+, later in 2019. Thanks to the merger, Disney also owns a considerable stake in Hulu, the entertainment company focused on providing ‘over-the-top-media-services’ with shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale.

The $71.3 billion deal has ushered in a new phase of media consolidation and also brought down the number of big Hollywood movie studios down to five — Warner Bros., Sony, Disney, Universal, and Paramount. Together, Disney and Fox now command 35 percent of the movie market — a historic number for cinema. But it’s not just about the movies anymore. Disney is preparing to take on Netflix and this merger helps build it’s Disney+ arsenal. What this means is that the next installment of Avatar, which was previously with Fox and now with Disney, would release on its online service and not Netflix. Now that Fox has been ‘out-foxed’ by Mickey Mouse, how soon before the other four do something similar?

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