The Fate of Fox’s Film Franchises
The decision to sell most of 21st Century Fox to the Walt Disney Company has raised the question of what exactly happens to their film divisions. Disney has plenty of film companies under its roof, which produce fewer, more expensive films than the variety Fox releases each year. Disney chose to acquire Fox to get their back catalogue for its forthcoming streaming service, so they might close the studio or turn it into a label.
In any case, it’s worth considering the fate of Fox’s major film franchises. Marvel are hoping to fold the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool films into their universe eventually, and are happy to accomodate James Cameron’s ambitious plan for four Avatar sequels following their collaboration on the Pandora area in Florida’s Animal Kingdom.
What about the others? This year saw Alien: Covenant and War for the Planet of the Apes both underperform at the box office: frankly I’ve had enough of Ridley Scott’s fan fiction, and would only care about another Alien film if it featured the return of Ripley, Newt and Hicks. War, meanwhile, was such a perfect conclusion to Caesar’s story that I’d be sad, but not that sad, if there wasn’t another Apes movie in the near future.
Fox is having another go at Predator with Shane Black, which should be fun, but again, if it underperformed, it wouldn’t be the biggest loss: there are countless Predator comics in a diverse array of settings. Likewise, the world doesn’t need remakes of Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China, or yet another Die Hard sequel.
It would be best for Disney if Fox continued to make films, with the added benefit of them being free from having to make decisions like an Independence Day sequel without Will Smith. Surely Disney would see the benefit of the attention and additional income smaller planned films like Lumberjanes and Goldie Vance provide?
Likewise, one particularly hopes Fox Searchlight can maintain its identity under Disney, distributing prestigious films for them the way Miramax used to, fostering relationships with forthcoming generations of filmmakers who could potentially earn the responsibility of helming a big production for Marvel or Lucasfilm.
Animation is Disney’s bread-and-butter, which begs the question, do they want Blue Sky Studios? The studio could wind up the victim of job cuts and downsizing, and it would be preferrable to sell the company to another film studio without a major theatrical animation division (namely Paramount). It would be a shame if Disney turned Blue Sky into even more of an Ice Age factory.
The Disney-Fox merger is already set to cost thousands of jobs: let’s not lose lots of potentially interesting films to more sequels as well.