The Disney acquisition of Fox is complete and that gives the studio plenty of completed and announced films they still have to release. Now that the industry-changing deal that led to The Walt Disney Company acquiring 21st Century Fox has been finalized, speculation over the future of the mega-studio becomes ever more heated.
We've previously discussed what the merger will mean in terms of mass staff layoffs, the problems of a burgeoning media monopoly, the potential changes made to what movies get made and how, and much more. Such conversations will inevitably continue until the public fully understand the ramifications of this seismic deal. In the short-term, however, the focus falls onto the immediate changes, particularly in regards to Fox’s cinematic output and what Disney plans to do with it.
Disney already had a jam-packed slate of 2019 releases scheduled before the Fox deal was good to go. Between Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Frozen II and Star Wars 9, Disney looked prime for another bank-breaking year. Now, they have all the films that Fox had already completed and committed to 2019 releases to think about, with a several glimpsed by Disney's 2019 schedule at this year's CinemaCon, but there's more beyond the horizon too.
So far, no dramatic changes have been made to the release schedule with these Fox titles. However, it seems inevitable that some may have their releases pushed forwards or delayed to later in the year and beyond. It saves Disney from having to compete with themselves. However, it is notable that Disney seems committed to releasing all of these films, including ones whose fates have been long questioned since the deal was first rumored. There are plenty of titles in pre-production that may not come to fruition post-merger for a number of reasons, but there are also many deals so big that not even Disney could put a stop to them. With that in mind, here are the Fox movies Disney plans to release over the coming years. Of course, all of these films and dates are subject to change.
Christian and faith-based films haven’t had the best critical reputation but they’ve proven quiet money makers for studios like Pureflix. Over the past couple of years, the bigger studios have been getting into the faith-film business with titles like Heaven is For Real. Breakthrough will be the first Fox 2000 film to get a release under Disney (the studio is expected to be shuttered soon), starring Topher Grace (BlacKkKlansman) and Chrissy Metz (This Is Us). Based on a true story, the film is currently set to be released on April 12.
For many film lovers, Searchlight was the jewel in Fox's crown, the indie-focused studio that had become a guarantee of Oscar success in recent years by supporting film-makers like Guillermo del Toro and Yorgos Lanthimos. The first Searchlight film to be released under Disney will be Tolkien, a biographical drama focusing on the iconic author of The Lord of the Rings. Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite) will play the eponymous author, while Lily Collins will star as his wife, Edith Bratt.
The seventh film of celebrated auteur James Gray, Ad Astra signals the director's first foray into science-fiction. The movie stars Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones and Ruth Negga, and follows an engineer who journeys through the solar system to track down his father, who went missing after a one-way mission to Neptune went wrong. Produced alongside Pitt's own Plan B Entertainment, the film is still rumored to be a favorite to play in competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival (Gray is notoriously an American director whose work is far more popular in France than his homeland). Disney has been criticized for many years over their lack of interest in more adult-oriented dramatic fare, and Ad Astra could be an antidote to that. It’s currently scheduled for a May 24 release, although the lack of any proper marketing push suggests that will change.
The chance to see the X-Men join the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a major draw for Disney fans regarding the Fox deal, but that's also led to some big questions over the current movies yet to release. Some industry figures had floated around the idea that Disney, not wanting to clash with their own immensely lucrative franchise, would shelf Dark Phoenix altogether or simply make it an exclusive on their upcoming streaming service, Disney+. But as CinemaCon revealed, Disney will give the fourth of the most recent X-Men reboot series a cinematic release. After being bumped down the release calendar numerous times by Fox, Dark Phoenix is currently set for June 7 release.
Directed by Michael Dowse (Goon) and produced by by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, the duo behind Game Night and directors of the upcoming Flash movie, Stuber is a comedy about an Uber driver (Kumail Nanjiani) who picks up a detective (Dave Bautista) hot on the trail of a terrorist. The comedy will be the first R-rated movie distributed by Disney since The Fifth Estate back in 2013. After opening to mixed reviews at SXSW, Stuber will be released on July 12.
The New Mutants
Fox's attempt to make a more horror-focused X-Men spin-off about the New Mutants has become one of the most beleaguered projects in their franchise. Shooting for Josh Boone's film, starring Jon Hamm, Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams, finished in September 2017 in preparation for an April 2018 release. That was soon moved to February 2019, then August 2019, where it currently remains. Much-discussed reshoots have apparently not even happened, leading some to speculate that The New Mutants wouldn't make it to theaters and would be released via Disney+ or Hulu. However, the film was listed as part of Disney's 2019 slate at CinemaCon, suggesting they are committed to a cinematic release. Whether that happens on August 2 remains to be seen.