With the ink now drying on Disney‘s $52.4 billion merger with 21st Century Fox, much attention has been paid to the transfer of the X-Men and Fantastic Four rights and their future inclusion in a revamped Marvel Cinematic Universe. But that deal doesn’t just buy a load of superheroes, it’s given the studio the rights to many, many other movies franchises as well and now, Disney CEO Bob Iger has announced that they’ll “look carefully” at their new IP lineup to work out what they can do with it.
Other than the Marvel stuff, probably the biggest coup for Disney is getting the full rights to James Cameron’s Avatar franchise. After all, they’ve already invested in Avatar for their World of Pandora theme parks and they’ll doubtless be eager for the upcoming sequels to smash the box office as widely open as the first one did.
Unfortunately, the future is slightly murkier for the rest of Fox’s big franchises, among them Planet of the Apes, Alien, Predator, Kingsman, Die Hard, The X-Files and The Simpsons (along with many others), but Iger is eager to assure their fans that things aren’t going to change overnight. In an interview with CBR, he relayed what he told shareholders and investors on a conference call yesterday:
“Not all of it will be branded anything other than what it’s branded today, as a for instance. How much we will create under that banner, we’re still uncertain. It’s going to take a while from a regulatory perspective. They’ll continue to develop in that period of time and at such time as we close this deal and have control, we’ll take stock and really look carefully at what their slate looks like going forward and how many movies it would make sense to make.”
This purchase leaves Disney as the most prominent IP owner in human history by far, now having the rights to produce movies in most of the biggest franchises ever. While it’ll be interesting to see the future developments with the MCU, one company having the rights to so many properties is a little worrying, and perhaps an omen of a future of stylistically cookie-cutter cinema with little originality.
But for now, we’ll hold off judgment until we see what Disney’s plans are. Who knows, maybe in 10 years we could see some vast Disney shared universe where Kylo Ren battles the Queen Alien alongside Iron Man and John McClane. Now wouldn’t that be something.