Disney has purchased the majority of FOX including the television and movie studios and these are the 10 biggest impacts on the industry…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Disney putting up over $50 billion to purchase the majority of FOX, including the television and film studios as well as dozens of existing properties, sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry last week.
The deal, which won’t be finalized for at least 12 to 18 months, combines Disney’s already impressive portfolio that includes Marvel and Lucasfilm with numerous other franchises, characters, films and television shows that will now become part of the Mouse House.
While there’s no exact timeline for when Disney will start integrating these pieces into their own films, television series and other projects, there are definitely huge ramifications when it comes to a deal like this.
So we’re going to look at the 10 biggest impacts when it comes to the nerd world on what this Disney purchase means going forward once the deal with FOX is concluded
1.The X-Men Come Home Again
Back when Marvel was still struggling to stay above water, the company sold the character rights to the entire X-Men universe to FOX, which they turned into a huge franchise of films starting with ‘X-Men’ in 2000 and continuing with blockbuster films such as ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Logan’ in recent years.
This purchase will return the X-Men to Marvel and it could not come at a better time.
Many of the biggest stories in the history of Marvel Comics have included the X-Men, but the film studio has been forced to leave them out due to the licensing rights. When Marvel struck a deal with Sony to share Spider-Man, they got back another beloved character but now the X-Men will represent a huge influx of characters right when the company is about to undergo a major shakeup.
It’s been well documented ahead of the release of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ next year that several of the top stars in the Marvel family including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johannsson have contracts that are expiring after the sequel due out in 2019.
Now there’s always a chance Marvel re-ups with at least one or two of those actors — most notably Robert Downey Jr. since he’s been an integral piece of the puzzle since the beginning — but adding the X-Men will give them a whole new group of characters to work with in the next few years.
Kevin Feige, the president of Marve Studios, has done a fantastic job crafting a world around these films and characters and he cut his teeth working on the X-Men many years ago. Now he’ll have everybody from that universe to integrate into the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the next few years.
Of course there still remain some questions — like what happens after the current ‘X-Men: The Dark Phoenix’ movie comes out next year? Will Disney re-cast all those parts and start from scratch? It would seem like that’s the idea but it remains to be seen at this time. What we know for certain is the X-Men will be back in the Marvel Universe sooner rather than later.
2. The Fantastic Four
It’s safe to say that no Marvel franchise has been blundered more than the ‘Fantastic Four’ with three different movies, all critically panned, without ever producing a really quality story on one of the most iconic teams in the history of comic books.
Here’s hoping Marvel takes another stab at the Fantastic Four and they do it the right way.
Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm aka The Thing have been in the middle of almost every major Marvel event series for the past 30 years and the fact that these characters have been missing in action from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is criminal. Now the Fantastic Four will be part of that Marvel Universe and Feige will almost undoubtedly hand this franchise over to a director who can do them justice while he’ll be overseeing the entire project.
Perhaps the biggest bonus that comes along with the Fantastic Four are the characters that are also a part of that universe including Doctor Doom, the Silver Surfer and Galactus — the eater of worlds — that would seem to be a perfect follow up as a big bad after the Avengers face off with Thanos in ‘Infinity War’.
Let’s also not forget what a menacing villain Doctor Doom has been throughout the history of the Marvel Universe, but the character has been done completely wrong through the most recent ‘Fantastic Four’ films.
While Deadpool is technically part of the X-Men universe, the character has taken on a life of it’s own while in the capable hands of Ryan Reynolds with the first film becoming the most successful ‘R’ rated feature of all time and the sequel about to drop in theaters in 2018.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has already said that he’s not going to try to change Deadpool and dumb him down to a ‘PG-13’ rating just because he’s now part of their universe, which is the good news. The bad news is it might be difficult to integrate him into the larger Marvel storyline without cleaning up his language and toning down the violence.
That being said, Deadpool doesn’t necessarily have to come face-to-face with Iron Man tomorrow. For now, Deadpool just needs to be Deadpool and hopefully Disney will continue to develop the ‘X-Force’ movie that was already in the works at FOX. There may be some tweaks or changes to casting or the overall plan moving forward, but that’s one corner of the ‘X’ universe that Disney would be smart to leave alone.
The same way you can’t imagine anyone else as Tony Stark other than Robert Downey Jr. is the exact way we all feel about Deadpool. In other words, don’t fuck with what’s already working.
Now one of the biggest concerns about Disney purchasing so many of the FOX assets is the typically family friendly approach the Mickey Mouse led company has had over the years and it’s tough to imagine the company suddenly changing overnight.
Perhaps the biggest evidence that Disney is willing to bend or potentially break the rules was with the purchase of FX from FOX.
FX is not only one of the most award winning channels on television but the programming there is very edgy and often times one or two steps away from being on paid cable television thanks to graphic content. Still, Disney had to know that buying FX meant they’d have to get into that kind of business and the bottom line still speaks the loudest. The fact is FX is a money maker and perhaps more importantly a hit maker. FX CEO John Landgraf is regarded as one of the best minds on all of television and Disney would be insane to let him go anywhere.
FX already has ratings monsters like ‘American Horror Story’ that will continue to pull in millions of viewers and the studio has locked down creators like Ryan Murphy and Kurt Sutter to create new content for years to come. A new ‘Sons of Anarchy’ spinoff is already in the works and FX also has ‘Legion’, which ties back into the X-Men universe as well.
If there’s anything from this Disney purchase that should be considered hands off, it’s probably FX. The network runs like a well oiled machine and Disney would be out of their minds to mess with a winning program. That being said, Disney adds a huge portfolio of series to their programming slate by adding FX.
5. The Alien Franchise
Disney now owns a ton of incredible film franchises but one that might need that magical touch is the ‘Alien’ series originally created by Ridley Scott.
While the ‘Alien’ franchise has created several incredible films over the years including the original movie and the sequel ‘Aliens’, which was directed by James Cameron, the series has fallen flat in recent years. A reboot/origin story started with a very confusing entry titled ‘Prometheus’ and then ‘Alien: Covenant’ seemed to fall flat with audiences when it was released as well.
Now Disney has a chance to revive the ‘Alien’ franchise with some fresh new direction — perhaps even getting on board with the reboot that was rumored from writer/director Neill Blomkamp where he was expected to produce a film that would pick up after the events in ‘Aliens’ while erasing the sequels that originally came after that movie.
With more than $2 billion earned at the box office, James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ was one of the most successful films of all time and he’s already started working on four — yes four — sequels.
There’s no telling if the ‘Avatar’ sequels will capture the imagination of audience goers the way the original did, but it’s safe to say Disney is banking on these films doing very well at the box office.
Even if the sequels only pull in half as much money as the original ‘Avatar’, this will still be a huge franchise for Disney going forward.
7. Star Wars: A New Hope
Most people don’t know this but the $4 billion purchase that sold Lucasfilm to Disney didn’t actually include the first ‘Star Wars’ film titled ‘A New Hope’. Thanks to an existing contract, 20th Century FOX actually maintained those rights in perpetuity until at least 2020.
Of course those rights would have eventually landed at Disney’s front door but this sale gets the property back even quicker.
That means Disney can finally start working on the definitive box set with all of the ‘Star Wars’ films in one place from the prequels to the original trilogy to the new trilogy. There’s also always a chance that Disney re-releases the original ‘Star Wars’ film from the version that was in theaters in 1977 rather than the remade version from creator George Lucas that came years later.
We want our ‘Star Wars’ back where there was no CGI Jabba and Han shot first. Help us, Disney, you’re our only hope…
8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly
Two of the most beloved television series created by Joss Whedon are now in control of Disney.
Now these might seem minor in the big picture over at Disney right now but given time, they could both be huge additions to film or television programming in the future. It’s no secret that Whedon battled with FOX for years over the rights to Firefly and while he seemed to come to some sort of agreement about Buffy, this might be the perfect time to revisit both subjects.
The original ‘Buffy’ cast is still young enough that a film could potentially be made if Disney jumps on this one quick enough and it’s safe to assume that the cast of ‘Firefly’ would love to come back for one more film or even a special event television series.
These are properties with a rabid fan base and Disney would be wise to take advantage of that with this sale.
9. The Predator, Die Hard, Independence Day, Home Alone and Many More
Disney now owns the rights to these film franchises as well with all of them producing huge numbers at the box office with the possibility of sequels or even a reboot happening down the road.
There was already a ‘Die Hard’ prequel/sequel in the works at FOX before the sale happened — it’s unclear what will go forward now — but that’s still a franchise that could work with Bruce Willis starring. ‘The Predator’ sequel from Shane Black is due out next year but that’s another franchise that could get a jump start at Disney.
The same could be said for dozens of other film franchises that are now under Disney’s control
10. Streaming Service
And this is the grand daddy of them all — the biggest rumored reason why Disney bought out FOX in the first place.
Disney plans to launch a streaming service at some time in 2019 that they hope will allow them to compete with both Netflix and Amazon, who obviously have a jump start on the competition. This purchase single-handedly gives Disney a chance to catch up in the race with the ludicrous amount of content they can put on the streaming service on the first day it launches.
Disney has already said many of its biggest film franchises like the Marvel movies and the ‘Star Wars’ will leave Netflix and eventually migrate over to their streaming service.
Now Disney will launch the streaming service on day one with a TON of television series including — ’24’, ‘The X-Files’, ‘Sons of Anarchy’, ‘American Horror Story’, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Empire’ and many more — not to mention all the Marvel movies, all of the X-Men films, ‘Star Wars’ and dozens more than will only be available on this service.
Beyond anything else Disney purchased with FOX, this could be the biggest of them all.