Disney/Fox : The after effects of the merger and what it means for fans


After much speculation and a few twists and turns, the Disney/Fox deal has been completed, but don’t expect the transition to be smooth.

21st Century Fox and other assets are now part of the Walt Disney Company. Although at one point there was a bidding war between Disney and Comcast, the House of Mouse ended up as the winner. Among the assets acquired by Disney are 20th Century Fox Animation, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 20th Century Fox Television, FX Networks, Hulu (30%), and more. Fox’s broadcast, news, and sports businesses are not part of the deal.

This means that titles like The Fly, The Omen, and the Alien franchise are now Disney’s property. Not that Disney needs more titles in its catalog or more stories they can squeeze until they’re completely dry, but sadly, there wasn’t much we, the outsiders, could do about it.

What we can do, however, is prepare for what this merger could mean for the sci-fi and horror genres, and it’s not a pretty picture. While many fans rejoice at the prospect of having the X-Men join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, others are understandably worried about how Disney will handle this new batch of characters and stories, and how this will affect other studios and their products.

By having one huge conglomerate in control of a big part of the products we consume, can cause a lack of innovation. More so, if said corporation is so keen on maintaining a certain image – look no further than the firing of James Gunn last year, or the firing of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from Solo: A Star Wars Story. Taking risks for the sake of creativity?

Solo- A Star Wars Story – Courtesy of Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Pictures, Allison Shearmur Productions

Maybe, but only if they fit Disney’s standards and if it brings in revenue. This “box” can be highly detrimental to the horror genre as it’s limiting a group that already has challenging standards. It’s a capitalist world, after all, and box office success comes before quality, substance, and originality.

On that line, one of the biggest complaints about this merger is Disney’s insistence on making a franchise out of everything and saturating the market with blockbusters. Not every good story has to have multiple sequels, TV series, lunch boxes, stickers, and other products.

The prime example of this is Star Wars. Since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, the studio has made three new movies within the saga (Episodes VII, VIII, and IX), an anthology series outside the saga, animated series, and is working on a new trilogy. Not to mention the amount of products you can find everywhere with at least one Star Wars character on it.

Now, imagine if Disney decided to reboot the Alien franchise. It sounds good in theory but in practice it would most likely follow the Star Wars model, eventually draining it and saturating fans to the point where no one can stand the sight of anything Alien related (not to mention, toning it down to fit their mold). But it would generate box office and that’s all that matters, right?

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The Disney/Fox merger will not only affect the horror and sci-fi genres from the inside, but also the distribution of their products, specially those from smaller studios. Disney has its rules when it comes to distribution, hence why you see so many Disney titles at the cinema for weeks.

This means a major struggle for smaller studios who are about to compete with the House of Mouse for the attention of moviegoers. Let’s say there’s a horror movie coming up from a small studio. The story is quite promising, and so is the cast – but there’s no space in cinemas to show it. The competition is only getting tougher.

By acquiring Fox, Disney is not only expanding its market control but it’s also dictating what we see and what we don’t (not only from their products but those from others too), and how we see it, while also over saturating the market. Supporting independent filmmakers and smaller studios have never been more important than it is now.

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Of course, hope dies last, but it’s unlikely Disney will change its practices with their newly acquired titles (except, maybe, Deadpool?) and their variety of genres. Hold your favorite horror and sci-fi movies tight and close to your heart, because no one is safe from this monopoly machine.

What are your thoughts on the Disney-Fox merger? Let us know in the comments.