By Sean Gardner
On the morning of Thursday, December 14, 2017, the film industry changed forever. The Walt Disney Company bought most of 21st Century Fox for a whopping $52.4 billion. Yes, billion with a “b.” The deal is pending approval from government regulators to make sure it isn’t in any way a monopoly. The deal does not include Fox News, Fox Sports One, or the FOX network TV channel. However, basically everything else under the 21st Century Fox label is now at the House of Mouse.
Deadpool, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Predator, Avatar, Independence Day, Die Hard, Ice Age, 24, The Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill, and M*A*S*H, just to name a few, are all franchises that now belong to Disney. The deal also makes Disney the majority shareholder of the streaming service Hulu. With this Fox deal, the acquisition of Marvel Studios in 2009, and Lucas Film in 2012, it seems like there is nothing else left for Disney to conquer. But, it also presents some exciting possibilities.
This deal could be detrimental, because Disney continues to not compete with the competition. They’ve adopted the George Steinbrenner approach and are just buying everything in sight. In that way, Disney has become a monopoly. Competition breeds creativity and that leads to quality. That’s the purpose of having a free market. But Disney just wants to own everything so they don’t have to worry about straining themselves against other studios.
On the other hand, Disney has let to other companies they’ve acquired so their own thing. Star Wars is still Star Wars, and Marvel is still Marvel, just with more money. Mickey Mouse isn’t showing up on Tatooine any time soon and Donald and Howard aren’t going to have a duck summit in Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Hopefully they will follow suit with the other properties they acquired through this deal and just leave them be. It also means that the Fantastic Four and X-Men can now team up with the Avengers. Furthermore, with the Oscar bait-y studio Fox Searchlight now under the Disney banner, Disney has a greater possibility of finally getting a Best Picture Oscar.
So as for me the jury is still out. We won’t know the effects of this deal are for better or worse for a very long time, but you can be sure things will never be the same.