Simon Kinberg's Dark Phoenix could become Disney's first X-Men movie. It's been almost one year since the Mouse House made their first bid to acquire 21st Century Fox's movie and TV assets, which includes world-renowned Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox. Of course, they spent several months following their initial offer in a bidding war with other entertainment companies out there, such as Comcast. But after making some concessions and upping their bid from $52.4 billion to $71.3 billion in cash and stock, Disney's Fox acquisition is almost complete.
It was reported earlier this month that the Disney-Fox deal could close by the end of 2018, but then it was later revealed that it may actually end up closing in January 2019 - not too long after, but long enough to push the finalization into the new year. At that point, it's possible that several 20th Century Fox movies already in development may release under Walt Disney Studios' branding, or at least be distributed by the studio. And it looks like the first movie to do so will actually be an X-Men movie.
THR reports that it's possible Dark Phoenix, which was recently delayed to June 2019 from its previously February 2019 release date, will be the first movie to release under Disney-owned Fox. Furthermore, it will also be the first X-Men movie to release post-acquisition. Interestingly, Robert Rodriguez's Alita: Battle Angel, which releases in February 2019, will still release as a Fox movie. It's unclear why that is, but it could possibly have something to do with the U.S. Justice Department's gun-jumping clause.
It was previously reported that Walt Disney Studios was considering taking over development and distribution of Fox's Avatar and X-Men franchises. So, it will be interesting to see which studio's logo appears on the big screen when Dark Phoenix releases: Disney's castle logo or Marvel Studios' logo. Even though all of the Mouse House's movies are distributed by Walt Disney Studios, they only feature the flagship studio's logo if that film was made by them. But if X-Men is folded into Disney's main house, what does that mean for Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Perhaps there will be the Disney-owned Fox movies under Disney and then the MCU X-Men movies over at Marvel Studios. But that remains to be seen.
As for Dark Phoenix being Disney's first Fox movie to release post-acquisition, it falls in line with what previous studios have done. For example, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 released under Summit Entertainment in 2012... but as a "Lionsgate company". So, it makes sense that Disney may do the same thing: release Dark Phoenix as a 20th Century Fox movie, but as a Disney company, and then allow Marvel Studios to do what they want with the MCU. There's no reason why there can't be two X-Men franchises going at the same time.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020