Disney has again entered talks this week for acquisition of a significant chunk of 21st Century Fox’s assets. The latest report suggests that Disney could acquire many of Fox’s movie rights and television assets, signaling the swirling rumors about what this could mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
If this deal goes forward this would pave the way for Disney to gain control of the film and television rights to the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and related characters. According to CNBC, “The talks with Disney have gone far deeper and further and very well may result in a deal in which Disney will purchase the Fox studio [and] the Fox networks (for example, FX, A&E and the Fox regional sports networks).”
Disney is most likely pursuing the deal because it will allow them to acquire more IPs, which they can then offer through the Disney streaming service that is scheduled to go live in 2019, including future seasons of television properties like Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Iron Fist – not to mention spinoff series in the vein of The Punisher. It’s also possible Disney keeps Fox as a “separate” studio like Lucasfilm or Marvel Studios and sets up its own executives and hierarchy.
Now while many fans of Marvel see this as an opportunity to streamline the movies and TV shows down to one coherent universe, one where Wolverine and Hulk could finally team up or seeing Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four trying to defeat Doctor Doom, there is still a downside. With one less studio making their own films means fewer opportunities for filmmakers, artists, and storytellers to tell their own unique stories. The flip-side would be Fox’s track record with their Marvel properties, which are usually met with lukewarm responses at best (apart from a couple of the X-Men film and the recent success of Deadpool). If Fox is owned by Disney it could mean a shift in the kinds of films. It would become harder to pitch a film like Logan if Wolverine were to call the House of Mouse home now.
For further details on the deal, we know that talks with the Rupert Murdoch-controlled media company to acquire its studio and television production assets are now ongoing and nearing a deal which would leave Fox with its news and sports assets. The deal contemplates the sale of the 20th Century Fox film and TV studio, the FX Networks and National Geographic cable group, Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu, and international TV platforms including Star India and its 39% interest in European satellite broadcaster Sky. What would remain at Fox includes its news and business news divisions, broadcast network and Fox Sports.
If Fox goes forward with Disney and allows their movie studio and television production assets to be bought, it would be worth an estimated $60 billion and could come as early as next week.
Images: Marvel, 20th Century Fox, Disney