It has finally happened. 21st Century Fox has pressed the red button, striking a deal with Walt Disney Company after the “Happiest people on Earth” anted up a $71 billion dollar bid to buy Fox. Cable giant Comcast could not match the pot, offering $65 billion before being forced to fold. Disney has offered to take out close to $13.8 billion of Fox’s debt, pushing the total transaction to $85 billion. However, Comcast is not out just yet. Fox wants in on a portion of the British pay-tv company “Skye” that it doesn’t already but Comcast is offering that along with their $65 billion proposal. With Fox taking the Disney offer, Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, has his work cut off for him.
So, what does the merger men once everything is said and done? First, the news media properties of Fox, since they are not part of the deal, will form a new company called “New Fox” with Lachlan Murdoch at the helm and will focus on domestic television, news and sports. The new media company will include Fox News, the sports channels FS1 and FS2, and Fox broadcasting channel. The merger will also likely put Netflix in its place along with other streaming giants such as Hulu. But the one thing many of us want to know is the movies owned by 20th Century Fox. Disney can finally get their hands on what has eluded them since they brought Lucas Arts back in 2012 – the original six Star Wars films. Having continued the space saga with “The Force Awakens”, “Rogue One”, “The Last Jedi” and the recently released “Solo” film, Disney didn’t have access to the previous six films. Now they are ever so much closer to connecting everything together.
Marvel fans certainly want to know the fate of the X-Men characters. Well, this raises the possibility of having the mutants crossover into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel managed to work out a deal with Sony to jointly own the right to Spider-Man, so the likelihood of seeing the X-Men clash with the Avengers is there. Whether this happens is dependent upon what Marvel and Disney do with the characters. When the deal was first announced last year, there was great concern over the future of “Deadpool” films, to which even actor Ryan Reynolds expressed his concerns via Twitter. Everyone knows that Disney is and always will be a family company. With what has recently been released, Disney is making attempts to stretch beyond pixie dust and move into uncharted waters. Fox has several R-rated films under its roof, especially the “Alien” and “Predator” franchises. Would Disney go far enough to support these properties and leave them as is? As a fans of these films, I am concerned of a “tone down” on Aliens and Predator should the films continue and the same goes for Deadpool. The latest films, “Alien: Covenant” (2017), “Deadpool 2” and the upcoming “The Predator”, were all produced and distributed by Fox before the deal was finalized.
And then there’s the popular comedy series “Family Guy”, which has busted Disney’s chops every chance they got over the series 16-season run. The series is known for the controversial song “I Need a Jew” which was claimed by the Bourne Co. Music Publishers to be a direct infringement of their song “When You wish upon a Star”, which is the main song used in Disney’s “Pinocchio.” Bourne filed a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, citing that the melody was used for the song. A judge riled in 2009 that there was no wrongdoing on “Family Guy’s” part. Family Guy even poked fun at Disney with its “Multiverse” episode in which Brian and Stewie, while traveling through the multiverse, end up on one theme is “Disney-theme” and goes on to poke fun at Walt Disney’s unfortunate reputation of allegedly being an anti-Semite.
The big question that remains is how much creative control will Disney have over Fox. Will 20th Century continue to have majority control over its television and film properties? Or is Mickey going to be there with a drum and a whip? Hopefully, 20th Century Fox does not suffer the same fate as Lucas Arts. Until we know for sure, we’ll have to bite the bullet and see what happens.
Source: South China Morning Post