Disney is reportedly planning to release all finished and in-production Fox films after the sale is finalized. The historic in-progress merger between two of the biggest movie studios in Hollywood has been the talk of the town even before it was formally announced. Spawning various opinions from the public, those who are skeptical of the deal are worried about the House of Mouse gaining control of around 40 percent of the domestic box office, not to mention the possibility of countless job losses. But with shareholders of both companies voting in favor of the buyout, at this point, the companies are just waiting on regulatory approvals from major international markets for the sale to be official.
Once the industry-shaking deal is done, Disney will acquire the massive TV and movie assets of 21st Century Fox, which will help them beef up their own streaming service that is expected to launch next year. Popular IPs such as The Simpsons, Avatar, Alien/Predator and Kingsman (of which the third film is set to start filming this January); all Star Wars films released before the ongoing sequel trilogy; and the separated Marvel properties such as X-Men and Fantastic Four will be under the House of Mouse by then.
A report from WSJ citing information from a source familiar to the matter claims that Disney is planning to release all finished and in-production Fox movies after the buyout is finalized. Before Comcast's last-ditch effort to block Disney's acquisition and close the deal for themselves, all legal proceedings regarding the sale was expected to be finished by mid-2019. However, with a few months delay to start the process, it's curious if there will be any impact on the original timeline for the sale.
While it will be easy for Disney to release other completed standalone Fox movies, things will get a bit tricky with Fox Marvel properties. X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which was recently reported to be undergoing two and half weeks of reshoots is set to hit theaters next February before the merger is expected to be completed. Depending on when the reshoots will begin, plus the additional time needed for a comic book film to finish VFX work, it's still not outside the realm of possibility that the movie may be once again delayed. In which case, Disney may have to release the film themselves. As for New Mutants, which has already finished principal photography and is categorized as in-production, the horror superhero flick is scheduled to hit theaters next August and may be released by the House of Mouse.
If Disney will need to release both Dark Phoenix and New Mutants it will be interesting to see if they will just roll them out as they are without any creative input from those at Marvel Studios, who handle the MCU. Even if the two movies won't be part of the MCU canon (if the X-Men franchise will be rebooted to fit Marvel Studios' established lore better), Kevin Feige and his team would have to at least know about what's going on in them given they will already be Disney-released movies by then. Otherwise, supposing that Fox knows the status of the projects, they could already coordinate with Marvel Studios as early as now to work with them behind the scenes.
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020