Disney Says Fox Movies Were Failing Even Before The Merger

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It doesn’t take a soothsayer to realize that 20th Century Fox is experiencing something of a cinematic slump.

Films like X-Men: Dark Phoenix, action-comedy Stuber, and The Art of Racing in the Rain, which opened last month to just $8.1 million, all fell flat at the global box office, leading to a stern (yet measured) call to action from Disney CEO Bob Iger during last month’s quarterly earnings call.

Iger’s comments made for tough reading for any Fox staffer, though the chief executive has now clarified his statement in an interview with The New York Times (h/t TheWrap), noting that it was not so much a “slap-down” as it was an admission that Fox’s recent slate of movies had underperformed.

It wasn’t a slap-down. It was an admission that the movies that they had made failed. And I actually gave then a tremendous amount of cover by saying that when companies are bought, processes and decision making can come to a halt.

Disney’s head honcho continued by stating that there were “problems at the studio” long before the Disney-Fox merger was fully consummated. Iger doesn’t specify what, exactly, he means when he refers to “problems,” but he did go on to explain the ways in which Disney’s executives are beginning to supervise future Fox releases.

There were problems at that studio well before the deal was announced. But the reason I did not believe that it was something we should be concerned about is because it’s a short-term problem. And with the talent that we have at our studio, that are now supervising with some of their executives all the movies that they decide to make and how they are made, I’m convinced that the turnaround can happen. It’s not a snap your fingers, but it’s not 10 years of lost value. It’s a year and a half.

Bob Iger is clearly thinking long-term when he discusses 20th Century Fox, which actually coincides with Kevin Feige’s own comments about Disney‘s newly-acquired asset and, more specifically, how it’ll impact the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But let it be known that Iger and the Powers That Be at Disney aren’t experiencing buyer’s remorse – if anything, they look to Fox as a new business venture brimming with opportunity.

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