There's a reason why upcoming Avatar films and other Fox productions were absent from Disney's D23 Expo. The Mouse House announced their plans to acquire 21st Century Fox back in 2017, and the deal was officially confirmed in June of this year. This acquisition meant that Disney would control around 40% of the box office, which sparked a major conversation amongst moviegoers about how the $71.3 billion acquisition could actually be a bad move for the industry as a whole. Regardless, the Mouse House is now the proud owner of major properties such as Avatar and The Simpsons, but also Fox's superhero franchises: Deadpool, X-Men, and The Fantastic Four.
Owning the latter three franchises meant that Disney and Marvel could now complete their Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was one of the most talked-about parts of the acquisition, as it had many fans questioning how the films would be integrated into the MCU and if they would all have to go through reboots. Reports have indicated that these superheroes won't be joining the MCU until Phase 6, but Disney took to releasing Fox's remaining superhero films anyways. X-Men: Dark Phoenix was released as planned and Disney has also given a release date to the long-delayed New Mutants. Aside from releasing and planning out those movies for their respective theatrical runs, Disney still has yet to comment on the status of the rest of their newly acquired Fox properties. Now, fans can at least have an answer as to why they were absent from D23.
During D23 Expo, chief creative officer and co-chairman of Walt Disney Studios, Alan Horn, expressed that the company is simply not ready for a full debut of their Fox film slate. They did, however, acknowledge the existence of Ford v Ferrari, The King's Man, Spies in Disguise, and Avatar, but didn't go into a full discussion about them.
Overall, this decision does make sense considering how recent the acquisition was. Along with that, Disney and Marvel are also currently dealing with the fallout of their Spider-Man deal with Sony, which could have also played a big part in the studio's decision not to acknowledge Fox's slate during D23. The standoff between the two companies has been an interesting this to watch unfold, but Tom Holland has assured Marvel fans that he'll still play Spider-Man regardless of which studio owns the rights to the character.
Disney's grip on Hollywood continues to tighten, and this week alone has shown that the company isn't as all-powerful as some may think. Along with the Disney and Sony debacle, the Mouse House's CEO has had to address low attendance at their brand new Star Wars Galaxy's Edge theme park, and on top of that, their live-action reimagining of Mulan is already receiving calls for a boycott. Not to mention, the company has also been accused of falsifying revenue when it comes to their parks and resorts. Hopefully, their Fox properties can serve as a light at the end of this tunnel. All in all, this week can only be summed up in one way for Disney: with great power comes great responsibility.