The deal announced last week that Disney is buying a large chunk of 21st Century Fox’s properties is one of the largest deals this decade. To put it in perspective, though, the $66.1 billion deal is only slightly more than half of the biggest deals of the decade.
Nevertheless, the purchase raises a number of interesting (and troubling) questions. Here are five of each.
5 troublesome questions
1. Is it going to be approved?
As one of the biggest media mergers ever, the deal has to be approved by the Justice Department. While the head of Fox, Rupert Murdoch, is a friend of President Trump, that’s no guarantee the deal will be approved.
Another big deal, AT&T and Time Warner, is already being held up as it is examined by government lawyers with anti-trust concerns.
2. Are the Murdochs going to get involved with Disney?
Part of the deal gives the Murdochs a small stake in Disney. Whether or not that’s enough to get them a seat at the decision-making table, both in terms of content and company direction, remains to be seen.
3. What does this mean for streaming content?
Netflix can’t be excited with the prospect of this deal. With Disney having already announced their plans for a streaming service, the Mouse House just added a ton of Fox content – “Alien,” “Avatar,” FX shows, National Geographic shows, plus the Fox share of the Marvel universe. And, Disney now has majority control of Hulu. Whether that gets merged into the new Disney service or benefits from being beefed up is yet to be seen.
4. What happens to the Fox TV network?
The Fox TV network isn’t part of the deal. Reports say the Murdochs want to refocus Fox TV around news and sports, moving away from scripted TV. That could result in a dramatic makeover – perhaps with an even more prominent place for the stars of the conservative Fox News channel.
5. What does this deal mean for the movie industry?
It raises some interesting and potentially worrisome questions about the future of the business. Fox saw a $1.3 billion profit in 2016, but reportedly the increasing costs of moviemaking was one of the reasons that led it to come to the table with Disney.
If Fox is getting out with that kind of profits, what does that mean? We’ll have to wait and see.
5 entertaining questions
1. X-MEN! AVENGERS! WHEN?
Let’s cut right to the chase for most movie fans – the most important thing is that now the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a whole new cast of characters to add to their playground. This brings almost all the major characters back into the Marvel fold – Spider-Man is on loan from Sony, and there’s still a weird hangup with Universal preventing standalone Hulk movies. But, the X-Men, Deadpool and the Fantastic Four will be making their presence felt in the MCU before long.
How they do that is still up in the air – have the mutants been in hiding all this time? – but it will be interesting to see. We probably won’t see an X-influence of any kind until maaaaayyybe the sequel to Avengers: Infinity Wars (although I expect we’ll hear some references in next summer’s Deadpool 2).
2. It’s Fantastic
The Fantastic Four are already the biggest winners from this deal. After two attempts by Fox to launch the First Family, seeing them come back under Marvel’s umbrella is a relief for comic book fans. (Even Captain America (nee Johnny Storm) is excited.)
3. The world of Avatar
It’s been eight years since Avatar dominated the box office, but the sequels to James Cameron’s space epic are looming over the box office schedule, with expected release dates of the Decembers of 2020, 2021, 2024 and 2025.
Considering how Disney is owning December right now with Star Wars movies, we can expect a dose of galaxies far, far away with our eggnog and mistletoe for quite some time.
4. Speaking of Star Wars…
When Disney bought LucasFilm in 2012, they didn’t get all the stars in Star Wars. Fox, which had the distribution rights to the first two trilogies, held on to the home video and digital distribution rights – most notably of the original Star Wars (aka A New Hope). Now Disney has them, and don’t be at all surprised if a Christmas in the near future brings the complete Blu-ray box set of all the movies (including the original cuts).
5. Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Two geek culture touchstones have been sitting mothballed in Fox’s attic since the early 2000s (with the exception of some comic books). Is it finally time to get everyone’s favorite browncoats and badass vampire slayers out of retirement? It’s probably unlikely, but when you wish upon a star…