Bringing an end to weeks of heated speculation and alleged false starts, Disney and 21st Century Fox have agreed to a massive $52 billion deal that will, in turn, reshape Hollywood as we know it.
The historic deal comes after Fox revealed its desire to offload film rights and other entertainment divisions in order to double down on news and sports, two of its largest business endeavors.
And though Sony and Comcast emerged as early contenders for a potential takeover, it wasn’t long before Disney became the sole suitor in this landmark arrangement, one which will see the Mouse House gain control of key Fox assets – namely Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four, The Simpsons and Modern Family, along with the FX and National Geographic businesses.
Behind the scenes, Disney CEO Bob Iger has signed a new deal to remain as Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company through 2021, while the announcement also marks a defining sea change for the entire industry. Indeed, Rupert Murdoch, Fox’s executive chairman, believes today’s acquisition will benefit both parties in the long run:
We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry.
For Disney and Marvel Studios, in particular, this merger spells a long-rumored homecoming for the X-Men, and we understand head honcho Kevin Feige is keen to cross-pollinate those iconic mutants with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its roster of established characters – just don’t get your hopes up for Hugh Jackman to swing by for a cameo in Avengers 4. If anything, this merger leaves the door open for another actor to take Jackman’s place and reboot the Wolverine we know and love.
Another factor that prompted Disney’s pursuit of 21st Century Fox was the launch of its new streaming service, which will purportedly boot online with a live-action Star Wars series and Toy Story 4. There are precious few details available for what is, essentially, Disney’s answer to Netflix, but we’ll be keeping you right up-to-date as this story develops. Ditto for Marvel’s vision for the future, as it’s currently unclear what Kevin Feige and Co. plan to do with all their new toys. Avengers vs. X-Men, perhaps?
If nothing else, with Disney now in control of Fox’s entertainment assets, all eyes will be on San Diego Comic-Con 2018.