On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, one of the biggest media mergers ever occurred between Disney and 20th Century Fox. Disney acquired 20th Century Fox’s TV and movie assets for $73.1 billion. The major Hollywood movie studios are now: Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, Universal, and Paramount. There is still a lot to be figured out regarding how the new mega-media company will run going forward, but there are few things that are already known. This deal has granted Disney some new studios and TV networks such as: FX, Fox Searchlight, and the National Geographic channel. But, it did not grant Fox TV network! Since Fox Corp will run independently from Disney, Fox Sports, Fox News, and Fox TV network will be unaffected by this deal. Something from Fox that Disney did gain is its 30% stake in Hulu. Before making this deal, Disney had 30%, Fox had 30%, NBCUniversal had 30%, and Warner Media had the final 10%. After the merger, Disney has a 60% stake in Hulu, which changes the power dynamics completely.
Why a $73.1 billion deal, you ask? Well, Disney and Comcast were in an all-out bidding war over the summer, and $73.1 billion was the magic number to overtake Comcast’s offer of $65 billion. Conversations have been going back and forth, and even some legal action since 2017.An aspect of this merger that has been getting a lot of attention is how the Marvel Universe will play into this. Since the 1990s, 20th Century Fox had ownership of the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, and it has also produced many X-Men movies. Now, Marvel, once again, has the ownership of these characters and can start working them into the MCU as they please. Not a lot is known yet, but it has been reported that Deadpool’s character will not be recast and future Deadpool films with continue to be R-rated. Chris Hemsworth, a.k.a Thor, welcomed Deadpool and Ryan Reynolds into the MCU with an Instagram post depicting Deadpool wearing Thor’s helmet, holding a tiny Thor hammer, and with Mickey Mouse ears in the background. The post had the caption: “our love child #Thor #Deadpool @vancityreynolds.”
There is still so much for the public to be filled in on that will reveal itself as the year progresses. This deal also raises a lot of questions and concerns about how the media landscape should be going forward. It has been many years since a Hollywood studio has just ceased to exist. What does this mean for the future? A clear hierarchy has developed over the years. However, competition exists for a reason, and it is often necessary. This will cease to exist if one studio after another is absorbed until the last one is left standing.