Here are all the Fox movies that Disney have cancelled since their acquisition of the studio. The $71.3 billion deal saw Disney absorb one of the biggest entertainment companies on the planet, as well as some of the most popular cultural brands, including Avatar, X-Men, The Simpsons, National Geographic, and much more. The merger remains highly controversial and troubling for many reasons, but now that it’s been set in stone, one can’t help but be fascinated by the decisions Disney are now making with the properties they bought.
On top of big name franchises, multiple networks and brands, the Fox deal gave Disney a slate of films, both produced and unproduced, to slot into the existing schedule. We’ve already seen confirmation from the studio what will happen to certain much anticipated movies, such as Dark Phoenix and New Mutants, both of which have been promised theatrical releases but have been moved around the release calendar multiple times. Disney has had to make room for major titles like Avatar, finding them slots that won’t lead to competition from their own properties, such as Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And then there are the films that have simply been discarded altogether.
There are various reasons why a studio like Disney would want to cancel titles Fox had already greenlit, from cost to brand name recognition to viability with the rest of Disney's corporate strategy. Will that film Fox thought would do well for them perform as successfully as a Disney property, where expectations and marketing are totally different? Will that family movie that was greenlit provide unnecessary competition for similar Disney properties already in production? Is there real opportunity for said film to expand into a viable franchise? According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney's studio chief Alan Horn is looking at everything and no film is truly safe. A producer involved with a Fox developed film who talked to the publication said, "We are now just only beginning to see how all this consolidation will change how movies get greenlit and made."
The Hollywood Reporter claims that some movies are all but guaranteed to move forward at Disney, including the Kingsman prequel The Great Game and Steve Spielberg's remake of the musical West Side Story, although even the latter seems on shaky ground. However, there are some titles, both major and minor, that have already hit the chopping block. That’s not to say we may never see these movies in some form; they could be shopped to another studio or brought back into the Disney fold at some point in time. But as of the writing of this post, these are the Fox titles that Disney have decided not to move forward with.
Major movie productions get cancelled all the time, usually without the general public knowing, but it still causes a stir when a studio shuts down a film two weeks before production was set to begin. That was the case with Mouse Guard, a high-profile adaptation of the comic series from Boom! Studios that was announced by Fox in a flurry of hype. Mouse Guard came with big names attached: Matt Reeves (The Batman) was on board as a producer; Wes Ball from The Maze Runner series was set to direct; and the case included Idris Elba and Andy Serkis. The epic story of sentiment mice and their epic medieval battles looked like it could be a technological extravaganza and something truly unique in the current blockbuster market. However, it seems that the project, which came with an alleged budget of $170 million, was too big a risk for Disney.
The writing was on the wall for Gambit long before Disney got their hands on Fox. The solo movie for one of the most beloved X-Men who never really got their moment to shine on the big screen was in development for many years. It seemed that the project may get off the ground at some point given the attachment of Channing Tatum, but new developments were hard to come by and once the Fox acquisition was announced, it seemed inevitable that this would hit the chopping block. Disney’s strategies for the X-Men series have long been shrouded in mystery. It has been assumed that the series will eventually make its way into the MCU in some form, but it will most likely be a total reboot that doesn’t include any of the cast from the Fox films. That means bye-bye to Channing Tatum and whatever the original plans were for Gambit. If the character ever appears in the gargantuan Marvel Studios canon then it will be something wholly new.
On the Come Up
Angie Thomas’s young adult novel The Hate U Give was a legitimate publishing phenomenon when it debuted in in February 2017. The story of a young black woman who sees her friend shot and killed by a police officer, thus sparking protests in her home town, is a New York Times best-seller that stayed on the top spot of the YA list for 50 weeks. Fox 2000 optioned a film shortly after the book was sold at auction, and hopes were high for the adaptation. But while it received strong critical appraisal, it didn't set the box office alight, and The Hollywood Reporter estimates that the movie "lost $30 million to $40 million despite a modest $23 million budget and a marketing spend believed to be about $30 million." That signaled bad news for an adaptation of Thomas's second novel, On the Come Up, which had been scheduled at Fox 2000 before the subsidiary was shuttered by Disney. It’s a blow to mid-budget cinema intended for more serious audiences, but that doesn’t seem to be a priority for the studio.
News of the World
A number of films disappeared from the slate once Disney decided to retire the Fox 2000 brand, which had been focused on more grown-up fare with mid-sized budgets. One prominent feature that hit the chopping block was News of the World, a drama that would reunite Tom Hanks with his Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass. Based on the best-selling novel by Paulette Jiles, News of the World tells the story of Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a precursor to modern day newscasters, and a ten year-old girl he has been tasked with reuniting her with her family. However, if this movie seems up your alley then the good news is that you’ll eventually get to see it because Universal picked up the project shortly after Fox 2000 shuttered.
The fate of Fox’s animation studio Blue Sky has been on the minds of many film fans since the acquisition was announced. What would Disney do with one of its competitors, given that they and Pixar are the undisputed kings of animated family movies in America? While the studio hasn't been officially shuttered, the removal of one of its upcoming films from the schedule does not suggest good news for its future. Foster was set to be Blue Sky's first film directed by a woman, Karen Disher, who had worked on the cult TV series Daria. The film was to be a fantasy adventure musical about a girl who feels let down by the ending of her favorite fantasy book series and finds herself whisked away to a mystical world with the series' author. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the musical team behind La La Land and The Greatest Showman, were attached to provide song. Sadly, this looks like one that will be resigned to the history books of “What if?”
Untitled Fox Marvel Films
A selection of as-yet-untitled Marvel films that were to fall under the Fox banner were on the slate, much in the same way Disney’s release schedule has made room for its own upcoming Marvel releases, among others. It’s a common tactic used by major studios to stake out their place on the calendar before the year gets too crowded, and in the case of Fox, it leaves fans with a lot of questions that will probably remain unanswered. Rumors swirled of future X-Men and Fantastic Four movies under the Fox label, as well as a Doctor Doom film courtesy of Legion’s Noah Hawley, but nothing had been set in stone before news of the acquisition broke. It’s inevitable that Disney will do something with Fox’s Marvel characters – indeed, that seemed to be a driving incentive for the acquisition as a whole – but whatever happens will be a new era for franchises like X-Men and Fantastic Four, completely separate from any and all of Fox’s original plans.