Remember what a big deal it was when Disney bought Marvel back in 2009? Or when they bought Lucasfilm in 2012? This is kind of like that, but a hundred times over. CNBC just broke the news that Rupert Murdoch-run media conglomerate 21st Century Fox may be looking to sell most of its company to Walt Disney Co., which would be a pretty enormous shakeup in the world of entertainment.
Before we speculate, we should also note that CNBC states that the deal is nowhere near concrete, in that 21st Century Fox has been holding talks over the last few weeks, but were it to go through, the intent for Fox would be "leaving behind a media company tightly focused on news and sports, according to people familiar with the situation." 21st Century Fox would not be able to sell the Fox broadcast network since Disney already owns ABC (there are limits to even American capitalism), and Disney wouldn't purchase Fox Sports either since they've got seventy two thousand different ESPNs, but what they would end up owning is movie studio 20th Century Fox.
The deal would also potentially include international TV assets Star and Sky as well as entertainment networks like FX and National Geographic, and it could have a ripple-effect on how Hollywood does business as well as all sorts of tax ramifications. You're not here for that, though. You're here for Marvel and Star Wars news. Don't worry, we know.
Here's what would happen if Disney owned 20th Century Fox:
- In addition to Lucasfilm and all new Star Wars productions, Disney would finally own the home video rights to the original Star Wars films
- Yes, that means we're one step closer to getting the original theatrical cuts of Star Wars, Empire and Jedi on Blu-ray or streaming.
- Marvel might be able to use the X-Men. You know they want to, and they know you want them to.
- Someone might actually make a good Fantastic Four movie. Finally, Victor Von Doom in the MCU!
- Avatars 2, 3, 4 and 5 could make Disney something like $10 billion, moving the Doomsday Clock thirty seconds closer to midnight.
- The Revenant cinematic universe???
On a more serious note, the entertainment landscape having shifted towards streaming platforms and their original content these last few years has furthered the disapperance of the mid-budget American movie. Independent cinema is doing well, artistically if not financially, but outside of a few prestige pictures that rake in awards season money, the $30-40 million studio movie has been on its way out for some time in favour of the big six (soon to be the big five?) going bigger with their spectacle films. Part of making sure you get butts in seats is producing sure things, so don't expect the sequels, remakes and shared universes to slow down anytime soon; those are the movies audiences show up for the most. But what happens if a majority of these movies begin to flop and there's little else by way of Disney's other output or that of WB, Sony, Paramount and Universal to steady the Hollywood ship? It's a hypothetical, sure, but it's worth considering from a competition standopoint in the corporatocracy that is the U.S. of A.
My Doomsday Clock prediction was a joke, but in 2013 Steven Spielberg did in fact theorize the implosion of the film industry, and he hasn't been entirely off base. "You're gonna have to pay $25 for the next Iron Man, you're probably only going to have to pay $7 to see Lincoln" was his exact quote. Thor: Ragnarok in IMAX 3D now costs $25 in New York City, almost twice as much as what you'd pay for Lady Bird just a few blocks away, and there has in fact been talk of a surge pricing model for movie tickets that woul mean smaller films receiving a smaller slice of the pie than they already do.
But hey, I'm no industry expert. All's I know is it would be cool to see David from Alien: Covenant join the Avengers or something. Now it's your turn to speculate recklessly in the comments while this deal does or doesn't happen.
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal reports that while the talks could resume at some point, they are no longer active.