With Disney and Fox’s sale nearing completion, and an official announcement expected this week, director James Mangold is concerned about how it will affect the future of the X-Men franchise, including the R-rated Deadpool and his very own Logan, when it’s acquired by the House of Mouse.
Last month, news broke that Disney is in talks with 21st Century Fox for a possible business sale involving their film and TV divisions, which reportedly cost a whopping $60 billion. The package deal will include Fox’s A&E and Star TV networks, its regional sports operation, as well as stakes in both Sky and Hulu, other IPs like The Simpsons and Avatar, not to mention the unaltered version of the original Star Wars trilogy. But for comic book diehards, only one thing stands out in this massive purchase: The X-Men and Fantastic Four rights will go back to Marvel Studios.
Pushing for Academy Awards consideration for Logan, Mangold, alongside the movie’s stars Sir Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman, was recently in attendance of an awards-season event where Deadline was able to ask about his thoughts on the Disney/Fox sale. Unlike Jackman, who said he is very excited to see a new version of Wolverine interact with the Avengers, the filmmaker got a bit more critical of the acquisition. He said:
“If they’re actually changing their mandate, if what they’re supposed to do alters, that would be sad to me because it just means less movies. … The real thing that happens when you make a movie rated R, behind the scenes, is that the studio has to adjust to the reality that there will be no Happy Meals. There will be no action figures. The entire merchandising, cross-pollinating side of selling the movie to children is dead before you even start. And when that’s dead, it means you’re making a grown-up movie.”
For the most part, comic book fans are thrilled with the acquisition as their dreams of seeing the long-divided Marvel catalog under one studio and existing in one franchise (that and also a good Fantastic Four film) are finally within the realm of possibility. But for those who are still convinced that the buyout poses more harm than good with the possibility of Disney watering down the R-rated films (not just superhero films), like Deadpool creator, Rob Liefeld, Mangold perfectly echoes their sentiments. Still, the fact that Kevin Feige has worked on the early X-Men films and has a good grasp of how these characters are in the comics gives us confidence that Marvel Studios will do these characters justice.
With the Disney and Fox deal almost done at this point, there’s little more to be said. Movie fans likely all hope that Disney has good plans for the mutants and all the other IPs that they will acquire in this Fox sale. It’s possible that they retain the film studio and let it run its own thing much like what Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Marvel Studios are doing. But if anything, they might want to take a page from Spider-Man’s book and remember that with great power, comes great responsibility when it comes to deciding what they actually want to do with all assets they will acquire.
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