Well, this comes as no surprise seeing as they told us exactly when this was going to happen yesterday, but Disney officially took ownership of a lot of Fox’s assets at 12:02 ET last night. As of now, there is no more independent Fox studios and Disney take control of all of Fox’s TV and movie assets.
This deal first broke around late 2017 and since then there had been some back and forth between Disney and AT&T, with Disney finally winning out. But, it has taken quite some time for the deal to be completed, understandable consider the mammoth scale of this takeover and the implications on the industry. Check out Disney’s official press release below.
At 12:02 a.m. Eastern Time tomorrow, March 20, 2019, The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox will become effective. With 21st Century Fox’s iconic collection of businesses and franchises, Disney will be able to provide more appealing high-quality content and entertainment options to meet growing consumer demand; increase its international footprint; and expand its direct-to-consumer offerings, which include ESPN+ for sports fans, the highly-anticipated Disney+ streaming video-on-demand service launching in late 2019; and Disney and 21st Century Fox’s combined ownership stake in Hulu.
“This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us—one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “Combining Disney’s and 21st Century Fox’s wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the preeminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era.”
The acquisition includes 21st Century Fox’s renowned film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Family and Fox Animation; Fox’s television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21; FX Networks; National Geographic Partners; Fox Networks Group International; Star India; and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group. Disney and 21st Century Fox entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice last year under which Disney will divest 21st Century Fox’s Regional Sports Networks.
Earlier today, 21st Century Fox completed the spin-off of a portfolio of 21st Century Fox’s news, sports and broadcast businesses, including the FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, FOX Broadcasting Company, FOX Sports, FOX Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network, and certain other assets and liabilities, into Fox Corporation.
It’s hard to discuss every aspect of this deal in detail, of course, the most concerning business here for us fanboys is the fact that our beloved MCU has just got access to literally hundreds of characters from the Marvel comics that Disney couldn’t previously use. Marvel as owned by Disney now controls every one of their own characters other than those included under Sony’s Spider-Man license. Even then, Spider-Man is currently present and correct within the MCU, something we hope continues for some time.
Could Disney ever try to buy the rights to Spider-Man from Sony? Well, they could, but it seems unlikely Sony would be interested in selling an IP which currently allows them to make risk-free money from Spider-Man movies whilst also creating their own VenomVerse using some of Spider-Man’s characters.
But everything else that was previously covered under the X-Men and Fantastic Four licenses are now officially owned by Disney. A shot in the arm for the MCU when it is already flying high, it allows Kevin Feige to play with characters and situations that he was previously unable to consider.
Whilst it seems highly unlikely, there is now no reason at all why Marvel could not add a stinger for X-Men or Fantastic Four in time for the release of Avengers: Endgame or Spider-Man: Far From Home. I would, however, warn fans not to expect this, I’d be hyped to see something as well, even if it was a just a shot of a 4 symbol on the side of a building. Though it seems prudent that Feige would be taking his time to plan exactly where and when to introduce these characters, it’s not as if the MCU has been suffering without them.
We also know that the immediate future of the MCU seems pretty locked down. Next year we expect to see the likes of Eternals and Black Widow, but we also know Feige is planning for a Doctor Strange 2 as well. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 was on hold due to James Gunn’s firing, but now he’s back they have to wait until he finishes his The Suicide Squad movie for DC/WB. It could be years yet before we start to see hints of the old Fox IP’s, but then again, who knows?
Are you excited for the future of the MCU now that the cast of characters has increased by the hundreds? Share your thoughts below in the usual place.
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SOURCE: Disney Press Release