Disney CEO Bob Iger Disney says the studio will “look carefully” at Fox’s many non-Marvel franchises. Disney’s merger with 21st Century Fox is now official, with the historic $52.4 billion deal giving The Walt Disney Company ownership of various properties and franchises. Fox, meanwhile, will remain in control of the Fox Broadcasting network, the Fox News, and Fox Business cable channels, as well as the Fox Sports networks.
The biggest question for many regarding the merger was how it would effect Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For years, Fox has owned the film rights to various Marvel Comics characters and been reluctant to negotiate a deal for their purchase or licensing the X-Men or Fantastic Four characters they owned for use in Marvel Studios’ movies. With Disney having acquired the rights as part of the merger, the point is now moot and one of the first things Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger confirmed in the wake of the merger was that Disney planed to take advantage of the “opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof.”
Related: Disney Didn’t Buy Fox for the X-Men
Marvel movies aside, the fate of Fox’s other newly acquired franchises following the Disney merger is less certain. Iger spoke with shareholders and investors in two conference calls on Thursday to discuss the merger, saying (per CBR):
“With 20th Century Fox Film, we have the opportunity to expand iconic franchises for new generations of fans around the world – just as we have with Marvel and Star Wars. The obvious example is Avatar – which is still the single highest-grossing movie in history.”
The Disney/Fox merger has given Disney control of a truly staggering number of popular movie series. In addition to the aforementioned Marvel properties and Avatar, Disney has also acquired the distribution rights to the original Star Wars films. They also now own the rights to Planet of the Apes, Aliens, Predator and Kingsman, among other franchises.
Apart from Marvel Comics, Star Wars and Avatar, Iger did not mention any of the other film franchises acquired in the merger. While this makes sense in light of his intended audience (investors usually being more interested in profitability rather than the details of fine art), some fans are fearful that their favorite franchises may be locked away in the Disney Vault and neglected. These fears seem unfounded, however, as Iger is pleading caution in carefully considering everything the new merger can bring into reality and specifically noted how impossible it would be logistically to start rocking the boat immediately:
“Not all of it will be branded anything other than what it’s branded today, as a for instance. How much we will create under that banner, we’re still uncertain. It’s going to take a while from a regulatory perspective. They’ll continue to develop in that period of time and at such time as we close this deal and have control, we’ll take stock and really look carefully at what their slate looks like going forward and how many movies it would make sense to make.”
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