The tenacious house of Mouse is on its way to become the world’s only name in entertainment and their recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox is one giant step for mouse-kind towards that dream.
Paying an estimated $71.3 billion dollars for the company, Disney now owns the vast majority of Fox’s media empire, excluding their sports and news channels.
The deal has yet to officially go through as the federal antitrust regulators are reviewing the purchase, but it looks like everything is set in stone for The Walt Disney Company to become one of the biggest players in Hollywood.
This purchase explains some of the more peculiar moves Disney has been making behind the scenes, such as banning Marvel from making any new show deals with competing networks, building an Avatar theme park and even their announcement to create their own streaming network.
With 21st Century Fox now wearing a pair of mouse ears, Disney now owns the film rights to Avatar as well as every show or movie produced by 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight. With these new properties Disney will easily have the largest streaming service in the world when it launches in 2019 and will be a serious contender with Netflix and Amazon.
It’s now a very real possibility that Netflix could become a thing of the past within the next ten years. It also means Disney is looking to expand its horizons from family film and blockbusters.
Fox’s distribution: Fox Searchlight regularly searches out new Oscar contenders with films like Birdman, Black Swan and 500 Days of Summer under their belt. We’ve now entered a reality where a Disney producer has a high potential of winning an Oscar.
On the upside this now means Marvel now has all its characters back so we can expect The Fantastic Four and X-Men to be reintroduced in the Marvel films… though it might not be the victory fans are hoping for.
While many Marvel fans are excited about this new possibility it begs the question if this deal will work in favor for the audiences.
The reasons Marvel was so successful in creating their cinematic universe is that due to legal rights they didn’t have the luxury of relying on their well known heroes such as X-Men or Spider-Man, both franchises that Marvel was best known for.
Instead they had to get creative with bringing heroes that audiences didn’t know and that comic readers didn’t care about.
The Avengers used to be a bunch of second string heroes compared to the likes of Peter Parker and Wolverine. Now people say they’re superior to The Justice League, something that NO ONE would have thought ten years ago.
With all of their heroes under the same brand again Marvel doesn’t have to compete to make their lesser known characters shine from their Fox counterparts.
Many see this as a new road to creative freedom, it’s just as easy a road creative stagnation and bland films.
This isn’t a problem that ends with superheroes either. This massive undertaking of media consolidation could be the first step to an ever growing fear of movie assembly lines.
These past two years alone LucasArts, another recent Disney acquisition, heavily interfered with Star Wars: Rogue One and fired and replaced Phil Lord and Chris Miller with Ron Howard for their Han Solo film because the director’s’ vision didn’t line up with the studios.
Not to mention Edgar Wright leaving Marvel’s Ant-Man in 2015 due to creative constraints.
We’re already in a new world where producers are replacing directors as the creative drive behind a film, so how will this trickle down now that Disney owns more than just summer blockbusters?
Will Disney do the same thing to their potential Oscar dramas?
If Disney isn’t prepared for growing into a media conglomerate there’s a potential for the Hollywood machine to collapse in on itself.
The film industry has this habit of going through cycles. Usually movie studios get too arrogant and start losing money from pumping out formulaic films and then new blood in the form of independent directors.
The most recent example of this is in the 70s when the movie studios were bought up by businesses and the golden age of cinema ended.
These CEO’s who had never made a movie brought in new graduates Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Francis Ford Coppola (to name a few) who came fresh out of film school and into the director’s chair.
We could be witnessing the next big shake up of the industry.
Or… we could end up with bland one-size-fits-all type movies; dreams really do come true. Here’s hoping they turn to the film students.