Comic book legend Stan Lee praises Walt Disney Studios’ acquisition of 20th Century Fox. After weeks of going back-and-forth, The Walt Disney Company officially announced plans to purchase 21st Century Fox’s movie and TV assets for approximately $52.4 billion in stock. If the deal goes through federal regulations without any issue, the Mouse House will soon own franchises such as Alien, Avatar, Kingsman, and Planet of the Apes, as well as the X-Men and Fantastic Four, not to mention The Simpsons and other programs.
Although not unprecedented, a major motion picture studio has not acquired another major studio since 1982 (when United Artists merged with MGM) – and for good reason. Hollywood’s Big Six is now the Big Five, and Disney now owns approximately 27 percent of the entire film industry, based on average market shares going back to 1995. Warner Bros. is the nearest competition with just over 15 percent of the industry’s box office share. But when only going back a couple years, Disney’s market share increases to around 40 percent, a daunting percentage for any one studio to have. While many industry professionals are vehemently against the acquisition, there’s a silver lining: the X-Men and Fantastic Four will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Stan Lee, who co-created Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, is among the crowd who are ecstatic about Marvel Studios regaining the film rights to their characters after decades of them being under 20th Century Fox’s control. Lee expressed his excitement for the X-Men and Fantastic Four joining the MCU in a brief statement to Newsarama on Thursday.
“A truly great piece of news! Now characters such as the X-Men and the Fantastic Four can come home to the place where they belong. It’s vitally important to have the Marvel characters under one roof. And now, as great as they were before, I can’t wait to see the wonders that will unfold!”
In September 2017, Lee told audiences at Wizard World Nashville that Marvel Studios was actively trying to get the film rights to the X-Men and all the other characters under Fox’s roof, and that fans should just give it some time. Little did he know (or maybe he did?) that Disney was in discussions to do just that, but on a much larger scale that now includes ownership of Fox Searchlight and Fox 2000, among others. The question now is, what happens next?
Fox has multiple mutant-related movies in the works – The New Mutants and Deadpool 2, for instance – that don’t necessarily fit into the overarching Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that doesn’t mean Marvel Studios can’t find some way to bring them into the fold. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
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