Late last year, Disney revealed its multi-billion dollar plans to buy the majority of Fox’s assets, films, and TV shows. That deal was nearly derailed by Comcast as a rival suitor for Fox, but Comcast’s recent surrender paved the way for Disney’s final victory. Last year, the Fox shareholders approved Disney’s offer, and now the merger is complete: At 12:02 a.m. Eastern Time on March 20, Disney will officially own 20th Century Fox.
According to Variety, the deal lands at a cool $71.3 billion, and will result in more than 4,000 people losing their jobs. That’s a steep price to pay to have major creative control, but Disney apparently has its sights set high. With the acquisition, the Mouse House will own comic characters like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, which will no-doubt be integrated into Disney’s Marvel franchise.
Disney will now also own distribution rights to the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, which Fox was meant to own in perpetuity. That could mean home and theatrical releases of the film under the Disney banner, or could even mean the original 1977 theatrical cut—which was replaced with George Lucas’s special edition version in the ’90s—could see the light of day again, or even get a Blu-ray release.
There are a number of other sacred properties that will now fall under the Disney banner: Alien, Planet of the Apes, Die Hard, Predator, Kingsman, Home Alone, Independence Day, and Night at the Museum, to name a few. Fox also produces several big name TV shows, like Modern Family and This Is Us, which Disney will not have a hand in. The corporation will also obtain the networks FX, FXX, FXM, and Fox Animation in the deal, so shows like American Horror Story, Legion, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The Simpsons are now Disney shows. Disney also has distribution access to Fox’s back catalogue of shows, which include Hill Street Blues, M*A*S*H, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Shield, and The X-Files.
This all means that the combined company is expected to have a near stranglehold on the box office. Disney already alone has the aforementioned Marvel and Lucasfilm, not to mention Pixar to bolster its own lineup of films. Fox has also been one of the biggest studios in Hollywood, and this combined output will only give Disney more leverage over consumers and creators.
It’s worth noting that Disney is launching its own streaming service next year, and the Fox library of shows and films will probably be a part of that as well. Under the deal, Disney and Fox now own a controlling interest in Hulu, with rival Comcast owning the remaining shares of that shared company.
We’re very curious to see how all of this will play out, now that Disney is officially king of the box office world.
Images: Marvel Studios/Fox/Lucasfilm