5. Fox’s Biggest Film Franchises Are Now At The House of Mouse
Disney knows how to turn franchises into box office juggernauts: its Marvel and Star Wars films leave devastating craters which competing blockbusters steer clear from. If they can turn around the middling returns of iconic franchises like Alien, Planet of the Apes, Predator and even Independence Day, they’ll have even greater control over the box office and achieve week to week dominance like no other.
But keen observers of Disney will know that what the company has always been interested in is Avatar, the envelope-pushing, billion-grossing property created by James Cameron, and its impending sequels. The company opened “The World of Avatar,” an immersive fantasy nature preserve based on the films and has become one of their hottest themed attractions. Expect Avatar to expand across the Disney empire now.
6. The Fate of Prestige Cinema Is Uncertain
Fox was a company that was consistently on the hunt for an Oscar, even as it tried to play the blockbuster game with its iconic franchises. Whether its arthouse fare through Fox Searchlight or crowd-pleasing thrillers under the 20th Century Fox main brand, their future might be uncertain under a company that almost always aims at the blockbuster audience.
This isn’t to suggest we’re going to see a full stop on movies like this year’s Murder on the Orient Express and The Mountain Between Us. The early messaging from the company is that it’s excited to bring Fox Searchlight into the family. But if the House of Mouse is going to avoid tripping up antitrust regulators, it’s going to have to reduce overall output. Where reductions will be made is the question.
7. The Fox Network As We Know It May Be Dead
It’s a basic tenet of the federal rules on TV that no one company may own more than one broadcast network. Since Disney already owns ABC, that means the Fox Network stays with Rupert Murdoch. But while several Fox shows will keep going, there’s no reason they’ll be around for long if Fox can’t make money via international sales and streaming rights.
And with advertising being Fox’s only source of revenue on shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons, that means the network’s future will be very different from its present. Either the network will transition to cheaper to produce unscripted content (i.e. reality shows) or it will become a CW-esque home for production companies, such as Sony and Warner Bros, without a native network.
8. Media And Entertainment Gets More Consolidated And That’s Bad
While it might be exciting for pop culture geeks and movie nerds to think about what Disney and Fox could accomplish together, the truth is that any merger makes consolidation worse. That’s even more pronounced in Hollywood, where major players are already few. One big fish has eaten another and there aren’t many left.
The standard counter to this is to suggest that tech companies like Netflix can “disrupt” entertainment, but that’s purely hypothetical. Netflix’s films division is anemic in comparison to its series offerings. YouTube struggles to make nice with the entertainment establishment while it struggles to retain its top draw creators.
But we’re looking at a world where Disney has a controlling stake in Hulu, ownership of beloved TV classics, a secure future in streaming and a greater share of the box office. Having one less major entertainment company is a bad sign for the health of the entertainment industry, and for everyone who seeks more diversity in what they watch.
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