Well, it finally happened. After much back-and-forth, Disney buys stock in 21st Century Fox for $52 billion, adding them to their seemingly ever-expanding list of intellectual properties. Right off the bat, this means that Disney finally gets a hold of the one thing that has eluded them since they acquired Lucas Arts five years ago – access to the first six Star Wars films. Though they have continued the series with “The Force Awakens” and the recent “Episode 8: The Last Jedi”, Disney can now distribute Star Wars Episodes 1-6 to fans old and new. The deal also brings the X-Men related characters into the fold, including Deadpool. So, what does this mean for the “Merc with the Mouth?” While Disney has been known to sneak inappropriate mannerisms into their movies, would the company be accepting to supporting an R-rated character? And what of Fox’s other media? Well, let’s break it down.
Disney will Fox’s film studios and television programs, as well as sports programming and international holdings. The move will bring Star Wars under one roof, along with the Marvel films, Avatar and Deadpool. Disney will also get their [Fox’s] television programming which includes Family Guy and the long running Simpsons. Regarding Star Wars, the first six films will likely be redistributed with updated material and effects and could be bundled with the current planned trilogy in the future. Disney would also stream the films for new fans who have yet to see them. While on the topic, fans may finally get what they had longed for—an X-Men/Avengers crossover. The Fox released Marvel films would be integrated into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. This could mean we would see Wolverine also be apart of the Avengers as he is in the comics or partner him with Spider-Man. But, for something like this to happen, Disney would likely have to reboot the X-Men franchise a second time. 20th Century did this before with the 2013 film “X-Men: First Class”. Should the deal stand, what hope is there for Deadpool, who had a break out hit in his stand-alone film which became the “highest grossing R-rated film” and “highest grossing X-Men film.” Concerns are circling that Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox would tarnish the character because Disney would “water him down.” No doubt the 2016 film that starred the beloved “Merc with the Mouth” was faithful to the source material; however, Marvel has released a “child friendly” comic that featured Deadpool teamed with Wolverine. So, should Disney toned down Deadpool, that is the route they will take.
Above is a picture depicting Disney’s current entertainment empire. The deal would also extend Disney’s reach globally, adding media company Star India and Fox’s interests in Sky plc and Tata Sky to its portfolio. Disney would get majority control over Hulu, which is partially owned by Time Warner and cable giant, Comcast. Having Hulu would jumpstart Disney in the video streaming market since they are vying to begin their own streaming channel in 2018.
The above pic represents Fox’s empire. As you can see, Disney will not be getting Fox’s news networks and sports media (shaded in yellow). Fox would become a strictly news based company while Disney expands its media threshold. They already own a vast variety of film, news and entertainment companies. Amazon and Netflix are attracting more people to media streaming and Disney needs to catch so they can compete. Gaining majority control of Hulu would certainly help with this.
Rupert Murdoch, current owner of 21st century Fox, turned an Australian newspaper he inherited from his father into one of the world’s largest news and film empires. He took a half century to expand his company’s media and believe that the break up is the best move amid the influx of online advertising and streaming. It was believed that the 84-year-old mogul’s sons, Lachlan and James. The new management at Fox is still being discussed but Rupert did say in an interview with Sky that he hopes his eldest son Lachlan would take over. Disney CEO Bob Iger is tapping James Murdoch for a senior position at Disney. Iger’s senior job is over at the end of 2021.
However, both companies have said that the transaction can take up to 12 to 16 months to complete. And that’s if US competition regulators agree to the merger. The US Department of Justice sued AT&T when they tried to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion, concerned that such a deal would impact consumers and competitors with higher prices. If the same is seen by Disney’s acquisition of Fox, Disney will pay out a $2.5 billion break-up fee.
So, what do you think of this pending merger?
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