Merger Madness

“Uh, Disney?”

“SPEAK, WORM.”

“How ya doin’, buddy?”

“I AM THE RULER OF ALL CREATION! THE STORIES OBEY MY EVERY WHIM! THE FILMS AND ALL THEIR SPOILS BOW TO MY POWER!!”

“Yeah…yeah, that’s what I thought. Ooooooh boy. Look, Disney? I love you.”

“YOUR LOVE SHALL BE REWARDED.”

“Let me finish.”

So in case you’ve missed the news, Disney just went on a little spending spree and bought the entire film and TV wing of Fox, who’ve decided to retire to focus full time on caring for an elderly relative.

This deal is huge. This makes Disney’s acquisition of Marvel and Star Wars seem look like mere aperitifs. 20th Century Fox is not just one franchise or a relatively small upstart studio. It’s one of the most powerful film companies in history with a back catalogue of some of the biggest films ever produced stretching all the way back to the 1930s. And Disney just ate them.

“FANTASTIC FOUR FOR THE MCU!”

“OH YES THANK YOU BENEFICENT ONE!”

No! Bad Mouse! Can’t let myself get distracted. Look, I’m a huge Disney fan. I love the Disney canon, I love the Marvel movies, I really love the new Star Wars canon. I respect that Disney actually take care of their toys. Yes, I know. It’s all about money. But the way they have decided to make money is by making really, really, good, faithful movies of beloved properties. If one company has to own the entirety of Western Civilization then honestly that company being Disney is the best case scenario but…

This is nuts, right? This is insane.

Consider everything Disney owned before this: Their own movies, Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar…and add to that:

  • Avatar
  • Planet of the Apes
  • Alien
  • Predator
  • Modern Family
  • Die Hard
  • The X-Men
  • The Fantastic Four

  • Kingsman
  • All the Blue Sky movies.
  • Lost in Space
  • Ally McBeal
  • Homeland
  • Alien Nation
  • The Fly
  • Braveheart
  • Speed
  • A movie about a club of which the first rule is that you do not talk about it so I’m not going to talk about it.
  • Home Alone
  • Family Guy
  • The Simpsons
  • 24
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • The X-Files
  • The Princess Bride
  • The Americans
  • Titanic
  • Buckaroo Banzai
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Percy Jackson
  • Independence Day
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • Firefly
  • M.A.S.H.
  • American Horror Story
  • The Bible and the US Constitution (nah, just kidding. The rights are still with Sony.)
  • Manimal

Manimal was a real thing. Never forget.

“I DECREE A WOLVERINE VERSUS ALIEN MOVIE!”

“AAAAAAAGH I WANT IT RIGHT NOW!!!”

No! No! I shall not be tempted! The list above just scratches the surface and it’s actually a little hard to get one’s mind around how much of our shared culture is now owned by a single corporation. This is really, really scary and not just because Rupert Murdoch now has $50 billion dollars to finally build himself that sun-blocking machine he’s always wanted.

“Excellent.”

Look, I’m the biggest Disney fan you’re liable to find (and also, from nose to tail, the smallest) but this is simply too much power for any one company to hold and I realy hope that the deal doesn’t go through otherwise…

“THERE SHALL BE A KINGDOM HEARTS GAME THE LIKES OF WHICH MORTALS CANNOT COMPREHEND!”

“I WANT TO PLAY THAT NOW NOW NOW!”

See, this is the problem. I’m trying to stay focused on the terrifying implications of Disney becoming the most powerful force in the history of entertainment, capable of crushing their opposition with a flick of their wrist and all I can think about is all the bitchin’ cross-overs that are now possible and I cannot help but think that Disney is counting on that. But make no mistake, if we are headed towards a dystopian nightmare future ruled over by soulless mega corporations, right now is when I expect the the time-travelling assassins to start arriving. Make no mistake, this is bad news. And nothing is going to convince me…

“A LIVE ACTION PRESTIGE QUALITY BATMAN SERIES!”

“You…have the Batman TV rights now. I completely forgot that.”

“WHERE BATMAN FIGHTS VAMPIRES WITH BLADE AND BUFFY.”

“ALL HAIL DISNEY! I PLEDGE MY SOUL TO THEE MY CIRCLE-EARED LORD!”

54 comments

  1. Not gonna lie, I’ve never really been wild about franchise crossovers – especially when they’re the result of corporate horse-trading (“The Simpsons Guy”, anyone?). Heck, I’m the kind of guy who thinks DC’s heroes would be better off if nobody ever thought of the Justice League. Still, I suppose this was inevitable, and yeah, we’ll probably get at least one or two really neat movies/TV shows out of it. I just hope some bonehead doesn’t try to retcon Elsa into a Mutant somewhere down the line…

    (Kinda wish you’d found a way to squeeze in a “At least it’s Disney and not fucking Comcast” joke, though.)

  2. Yeah….here is why I am not quite as “oh, the world is about to get destroyed” just yet.

    1. Fox was apparently thinking about selling anyway…and if the alternative is that Comcast gets its hand on even more assets or Disney reaching roughly the size of Warner Brothers, well, I’ll go for have two megastudios out there instead of one impressive one and a mega, mega one. Of all the possible buyers, Disney is actually the least dangerous one.

    2. This is all part of a major shift within the entertainment industry. Weather we like it or not, with the rise of the internet and streaming services, the industry will have to adapt. Disney is only first out of the gate (well, actually third, after Netflix and Amazon), other will follow.

    3. And that is a good thing….I was actually worried that Amazon would eventually manage to push Netflix out of the market over here. Hell, if Amazon hadn’t been that inept when they started their service, they actually might have managed to stay ahead from the get go. Granted, I would like it even better if our state TV would put together a streaming service, too (honestly, for what are we actually paying?????), but since I don’t believe that they will do this anytime soon, I get every competitor we can get. Otherwise, we will end up dominated by a few companies. Or Apple. Or Google.

    4. In addition, the barrier for producing and distributing your own movie has never been as low as it has today. There have never been so many independent productions, and a lot of them have their share of success.

    5. Also, Hollywood isn’t the only player around. Disney had to learn that recently regarding Thor Ragnarok. Which was the biggest release pretty much everywhere except for Germany, where it run into Fack ju Göhte 3. And yes, that is only Germany, but China is also gearing up to do their own international blockbusters.

    6. I know that this sounds terrifying if you consider how much of the Box office Disney takes on its own, but you have to consider that Disney only released 9 (I think, I might have forgotten one) movies this year, Warner Bros released 31. Even Disney and Fox combined only release roughly as much as Warner Bros on its own does. Then there are the releases of Lionsgate, Universal, Sony, Paramount, Bloomberg, and a number other studios. Disney’s dominance at the box office has nothing to do with its relative seize, but with the quality of the movies they deliver. No one keeps the other studios from also building their brands or franchises or just critical acclaimed movies. No one. Arguably Disney dominated way more in the 1950s, when they were practically the only source for animated movies (except that naturally the reason why they were the only source was the high cost which came with animation…well, I digress).

    7. And even if all the fears come through and Disney becomes an unstoppable monster, well, it is entertainment. Nobody is forcing me or anyone else to watch anything Disney puts out or buy any of their branded stuff. I know this is kind of applying to the bigger problem, but in the bigger scheme of things, killing net neutrality will do way more damage to various industries, but especially the entertainment industry, due to potentially destroying the distribution channels for independent media. Excuse me that I am more worried about that or Apple and Microsoft controlling my computer or Nestle having a monopoly on Water of all things than Disney producing more content in the future. Nobody ever died because he didn’t get to watch a movie. Any movie.

    The music industry went through this shift years ago. It was high time that the movie industry followed. And maybe, just maybe, we will finally get rid of those stupid regions in the process.

    In the end, this isn’t a black and white issue. Currently I see only one thing which is definitely screwed, and that is BlueSky. I hope that Disney will immediately resell it to Paramount (since that is the only major studio which doesn’t own an animation studio yet). Not that I would necessarily be angry about never seeing another Ice Age movie again….

    1. Oh, I forgot…No, Disney doesn’t own the Batman TV rights. The TV rights for Batman are owned by Warner Bros. Always have been. Yes, Gotham runs on Fox, but it is a warner Bros production, Fox hasn’t even more than broadcasting rights for this particular TV show.

      though, I would have to look it up, but the Adam West Batman show, well, this one was done before Warner Bros just bought DC, and I think it was produced by Fox…..

    2. I spent a lot of time seriously conflicted about this, but you summed up my conclusions pretty well.

      If it wasn’t Disney, it would just be someone else. If Comcast had got it, I’d be checking out real estate prices on caves. There WAS that nasty rumor that a Murdoch might end up as Disney CEO, but it seems that was just a bedtime story to scare naughty children.

      1. Yeah, that one terrified me…though apparently Bob Iger likes that guy so he might not be as crazy as his father. Who knows. I nevertheless don’t want this family in Disney. I am used to Disney being conservative, but they were always progressive conservatives (if that makes any sense). I don’t want that to change.

    1. No. In order to be a Disney Princess, you need a coronation nowadays. Not even Anna, Elsa and Moana are Disney Princesses yet because the last one which got coroneted was Merida.

      1. I just figured Anna and Elsa aren’t included in the Disney Princess properties is because Frozen toys/products are a juggernaut all on its own and don’t require any extra legs to stand on.

      2. Yeah, that is pretty much the reason why there hasn’t be a coronation yet. And since they can hardly include Moana before them, Moana is on the waiting list, too.

        I am not kidding, btw, there is an actual ceremony they are doing, with actors as stand in. I think Rapunzel was the first one who joined that way…or perhaps Tiana….

  3. Well, Disney’s creators apparently have to valiantly fight through a metric ton of intra-company red tape every time they want to do a crossover between Disney properties. You couldn’t even put Merida into Toy Story sets in Disney Infinity, Marvel doesn’t want to publish Disney Comics because Joe Quesada apparently once was made fun of by a guy in a Mickey suit or whatever, there’s no Sofia the First episode where all Princesses band together to, um, whatever they do in that show when it’s not putting me to sleep, and you can’t take Aladdin with you to fight Hades in Kingdom Hearts as would be the case in a fair world, so I’m not holding a lot of hopes for too many ultra-awesome crossovers from now on.

    As for the follies of mega corporations, look, guys, they already control all of the civilized world anyway. I find myself kind of unwilling to care too much about what order are they laying on top of each other while they lay on us, as long as they provide good enough products as they do so.

    1. Though in a way, this is the triumph of the little guy….I mean, back in the day, during the golden age of Hollywood, Disney was the only studio which is nowadays part of the big six which wasn’t part of the club. And Marvel was struggling for ages while its competitor was thriving under Warner Bros, until Marvel decided to put everything on the line to found its own studio and made a movie franchise based on their B-list characters. And now Disney and Marvel see eye to eye with WB and DC, their B-list characters do better than DC’s A-listers – in short, the underdog has won. Though now he is laying on top.

    2. Wait, THAT’S why you could never take party members out into other worlds in Kingdom Hearts, not unlike the traveling party system in FF? Weird…

  4. This is honestly both amazing and terrifying.
    But this blog post reminded me of an image I saw the other day.
    Along with Fox, Disney also bought its stake in Sky. And they might seriously end up buying the other 61%.

    Would that make Gomorra a Disney series?

      1. I thought it was gonna go totally off the rails when Kermit the Frog showed up and revealed that Yoda really WAS a Muppet and came from Muppet planet, but they really handled it so well

  5. As a comic book nerd, the most important part of this deal, to me, is the prospect of the Fantastic Four and the X-Men being in the MCU… but the monopoly thing does strike me as, let’s say, somewhat sketchy. I am a little concerned about being able to say “Disney owns my childhood” without being hyperbolic.

    … but I still really want the Fantastic Four and the X-Men back…

    1. See I like for Fantastic Four to come to Marvel, but X-Men I mostly would prefer to keep as their own universe, even in the comics it feel like it conflicts with the X-Men ethos to have all these other Non-Mutant superheros.

      1. Honestly, the main reason I want the X-Men back is so that fans on the internet will stop saying that every event Marvel does is trying to kill the X-Men forever.

        Because yeah, the X-Men really complicate the universe in some ways. It’s probably worse for the comics than it would be for films – after all, the comics have been going for fifty-odd years with no shift from the status quo, whereas movies by their nature will have to move forward in some way* – but I hones’ty don’t NEED the X-Men in the MCU.

        (Also, Fox has finally started moving that franchises into some interesting and different direction. Logan and Deadpool (obvious picks are obvious) but I’m liking the trailer for the New Mutants, Legion was a fun show, and I’ve heard very good things about The Gifted. It’d be a shame to see all that dropped like a Boom Boom energy blast just because Disney snatches up the rights, but there’s no way that stuff would fly under the MCU banner)

        I do want the Fantastic Four in the MCU though. I want them in the comics too, because they are great and deserve more recognition than they get, but the movie versions would actually be narratively cool. As well as exploring some of the new borders the movies have opened up (like Ant-man’s microverse and Guardians/Thor/Captain Marvel’s deep space, to say nothing of the Negative Zone), they’d be a great way to introduce a different dynamic.

        The family angle being the obvious one, but also the idea of celebrity superheroes. Yes, Tony is kind of a celebrity, but the Richards family have a different TYPE of celebrity status, and they actually exist as superheroes outside of any kind of military or government links, which would be a change for the Earth-based heroes.
        (Discounting the Netflix shows, since at this point, I’m preferred to consider them ‘ambiguously canon’. They references the Chitauri invasion of New York, but that’s pretty much been the only thing tying them to the MCU, isn’t it?)

        Oh, and they have some dude called Doom (DOOM? Do~om? Am I pronouncing that right?) He might make a cool villain for the ‘verse, I guess.

        The X-Men, I’d like back for comic reasons (provided they don’t end up writing out Laura in the comics, Laura Kinney is the Best Wolverine), but the Fantastic Four? I really wanna see them done on the big screen, with the justice they deserve.

      2. Quiver, you “guess” that Doom might make a good villain? I don’t mean to come across as pompous or condescending here, but Doctor Doom is THE GREATEST SUPER-VILLAIN OF ALL TIME.

      3. It would certainly be tricky to try and throw in mutants this late in the game of the MCU, even though it could be the perfect thing to keep at least another decade of momentum going.

        My guess? Marvel Studios will wipe the slate clean once the rest of the Fox movies run their course (Or maybe some will stick around; I highly doubt Deadpool will be wiped from the slate, so long as Reynolds is still alive and the character itself remains a giant cash cow), and set-up their new X-Men…but set in a completely different universe, devoid of MCU. That way, they can get into all the fun comic-booky stuff that Singer’s movies barely delved into (Aliens, time travel, MORE CHARACTERS than just the same handful), and still be able to cross over into MCU proper every now and again unfettered. And I agree, the dissonance of the frustratingly persistent “everyone hates us” status quo is very off-putting whenever the X-Men leave their bubble and interact with the greater Marvel Universe.

        As for the F4…well, only time will tell, but MovieBob had a pretty clever idea for going at it. I highly recommend looking it up.

      4. Seen it and loved it. His idea for a new Batman movie was also excellent. If it was up to me I’d simply have the Inhumans say “You know what? That’s a really offensive term. Call us mutants.”

      5. Here’s my pitch for a Batman movie (Since Affleck probably isn’t going to come back anyways):

        Have TWO different protagonists with interlocking arcs. Bruce Wayne…and Tim Drake. Bruce is currently trying to deduce a recent string of violent murders and heists across Gotham, but has alienated most of the Batfamily in his middle-age conceitedness. Tim is a too-smart-for-his-own-good teen is who let down by how dour things have gotten in Gotham (“Man, remember when Batman…y’know, DIDN’T mow people down with the gun turret on his Batmobile?”).

        As he does in the comics, Tim figures out Batman’s secret identity and imposes himself to help, much to Bruce’s initial chagrin. Tim’s enthusiasm turns out to be infectious, bringing Nightwing and Batgirl back into the fold for the first time in years. Then, the perp Bruce has been chasing is finally revealed, and is the antagonist for both Bruce and Tim: Red Hood (Bruce, for having to confront one of his greatest failings, and Tim to be able to assert himself as someone worthy of taking the Robin mantle, and everything that comes with it).

  6. Yeah, I think you’ve summed it up pretty well: it may be insane and slightly frightening but at least the company has a good track record. I’ll trust Disney to do right by 21st Century until evidence to the contrary.

    1. Oops, forgot the * thing. Meant to add a footnote to my post…

      *I really like Schism for this reason. It pushed the X-Men into a different direction, and moved the franchise forward beyond ‘Xavier vs Magneto’. I’m a total Cyclops fan, but I actually liked the direction they took with him… which they then squandered and failed to capitalise on.

      1. I feel like that’s the sad truth to Cyclops in general, constantly getting side-stepped by bad writing or even just a change in tone with new writers. Burning the bridge between him and Emma actually tuned me out of reading any X-books for a while.

  7. When Disney had the Chronicles of Narnia they made two movies I felt were great. Then Fox took over and turned one is often considered the best of the Books into a dumb action movie. So I really see no downside to Disney reclaiming them.

    Since Disney will no doubt go after Sony next. I wonder, does Sony technically own any Anime?

  8. I really don’t have any strong feelings either way about this merger, but I do wonder what they will do with the Blue Sky Studios films now.

    And now people everywhere who always incorrectly thought Anastasia was a Disney movie will now be technically right! That’s annoying, tbh!

    1. I kind of expect Disney to resell Blue Sky to be honest. In order to get to the stuff they did want, they had to take some stuff of the hands of Fox they don’t really have any use for. Blue Sky belongs on the list, but they might be able to flip that one over to Paramount, the only one of the bigger studios which doesn’t have its own animation division yet. Sony might be interested too.

  9. No wonder Uncle Walt hasn’t been around to yank the chain on his favourite “niece” quite so often lately; clearly he’s been working on upgrading that beastly occult puissance of his to PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER (one confidently anticipates a Jafar-style upgrade when next we see him, assuming old Mustachio can circumvent the enemy-weensy constraints placed upon such Power … I say, has anyone seen a shiny new lamp recently?).

    One would also like to note that we should have seen this coming – nothing says “Cartoon” quite like a mouse swallowing a fox whole!

  10. Mouse, since you mentioned you were a huge fan of the new Star Wars series, I’d like to know your thoughts on The Last Jedi, because the fanbase is HELLA DIVIDED over it right now. (I liked it, for the record….though I also like the prequels, too…so what do I know?)

      1. I’ve been commenting with simple phrases like this, because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. But, this is a movie I could have deep discussions about ’til the cows come home! (And, talking of which, it’s 2 A.M. right now, so,…goodnight and good morning! :D)

    1. Well Rock, not to dampen your spirit, but I felt I should let you know: Abrams is not only returning to direct Episode IX, but the script is being written by the Abrams and the guy who wrote Batman V Superman.

      …me, I’m going with “cautiously” optimistic for the time being.

  11. Ohh, this. I remember when I was told this. And I’m scared.

    Also, I’m putting my foot down with calling Homer Simpson a “Disney character”. I honestly wasn’t even completely sold on calling the Pixar characters that.

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