After announcing their acquisition in December 2017, Disney has now purchased 21st Century Fox, effectively taking over the film and television branches of the company. This deal, costing $ 71.3 billion, according to The Hollywood Reporter, means big changes to several franchises, as well Disney, once again, dominating the entertainment world.
Disney is no stranger to trying to buying large entertainment companies. After acquiring Lucasfilm in December 2012 and Marvel Studios in 2009, Disney has used these resources to create thoroughly entertaining films based on classic characters. Two of their films, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Avengers: Infinity War” have been standouts by becoming the third and fourth highest grossing films of all time, according to Box Office Mojo.
Along with Walt Disney Animation creating some of the highest-grossing animated films of all time, including “Frozen,” and Walt Disney Studios releasing the highest grossing live-action musical of all time with 2017’s “Beauty and The Beast,” Disney packs a powerful punch to rival the Incredible Hulk (also owned by Disney).
Now that Fox has been absorbed, many Marvel Comics characters can be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the 1990s, Marvel was suffering economically and had to sell the film rights to many of its characters to film studios in order to stay afloat. Since then many of these rights have reverted back to Marvel with the exception of the X-Men, Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four, among others, which have seen several film adaptations.
The main difference between the MCU and other franchises based on Marvel characters is that, for the most part, the MCU has consistently made enjoyable films which both critics and audiences loved. All of the films based on The Fantastic Four have received generally negative reviews. “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” leads the Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes with a 37 percent rating. The X-Men franchise has fared better with films including “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Logan” and “Deadpool” entertaining audiences and critics alike. The franchise also has a few disappointments including “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
When asked by The Hollywood Reporter on the X-Men’s integration in the MCU, Disney CEO Bob Iger replied “I think it only makes sense. I want to be careful here because of what's been communicated to the Fox folks, but I think they know. It only makes sense for Marvel to be supervised by one entity. There shouldn't be two Marvels.” While some may be worried about what the integration will bring, “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds isn’t one of them.
On March 19, Reynolds posted a tweet featuring Deadpool wearing Mickey Mouse ears on a school bus labeled Disney. Reynolds wrote beneath the image, “Feels like the first day of ‘Pool.” The Fantastic Four is also expected to be thrust in the MCU.
While Sony still has the rights to Spider-Man, Disney has worked out a deal with Sony. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tom Holland confirmed that after his appearance in “Captain America: Civil War,” Spider-Man had six movies with the MCU. Three of them were to be team films and three were to be solo. With the upcoming “Avengers: Endgame” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” leaving Holland with two more films in the MCU, it appears the character is in secure hands for a few more years.
With Disney’s acquisition of Fox giving more possibilities to Marvel, “Star Wars” also has several perks from the merger. One of these is the Original Cuts of the Original “Star Wars” Trilogy. In 1997, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the original release of “Star Wars,” George Lucas updated the films with new scenes, new effects and a digital restoration.
While these changes were interesting to see, there hasn’t been a home video release of the original cut of the trilogy since 2006 and, until the merger, 20th Century Fox still held the home distribution rights of the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. Now that Disney will own these rights, fans may finally receive the unaltered original film on Blu-Ray.
With this business deal, Disney has not only claimed more franchises but has made itself even more of a giant in the film industry. While some may be worried about the future of these films, Disney’s track record has shown that The Mouse knows best.