By now you’ve probably seen the meme of Mickey Mouse wearing Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet from “Infinity War,” with the Infinity Stones symbolizing the different franchises/studios Disney has acquired thus far — Star Wars, Marvel, etc.
Last week, the Walt Disney Company officially added another “Infinity Stone” to the gauntlet; the company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox was finalized March 20.
I’ve seen a variety of responses to this news. For some fans, it’s a positive move. Disney can now integrate the X-Men and the Fantastic Four into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, should they choose to do so (they’re definitely going to choose to do so). However, there are also concerns about Disney becoming a creative and economic monopoly. Will they drown out competitors and stifle creativity?
I’m still not sure how I feel about the acquisition overall, but I’m leaning more towards the negative. I’d like to see a really good Fantastic Four movie, and I believe Disney will make that happen. On the other hand, while “Infinity Gauntlet Mickey” is a funny joke, I don’t know that I like the idea of Disney exercising that much control over content. Disney is already an entertainment powerhouse, and we’ve seen some examples of Disney strong-arming movie theaters.
My hope is that Disney continues to allow for diversity of content. Fox has some great films in its recent repertoire: “Logan,” the Planet of the Apes reboot series, “The Martian,” and “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (the sequel…not so much). Not to mention classics like “Alien” and the original Star Wars trilogy.
Some of these are family oriented, some are not. It’s important to have great movies for all ages, and I appreciate Disney’s history of kid-friendly films. However, it’s also important to allow for darker, more serious content for adults that covers deeper themes. I want films like “Logan” to still exist.
The Fantastic Four will fold nicely into the MCU, but I’d not actually super keen on adding the X-Men into that cinematic universe. I love the Marvel movies and the way they tie together and have a common feel/overarching narrative. But I don’t want all superhero movies to feel the same, and I appreciate that the X-Men franchise was its own thing.
I feel like Disney has done a great job letting Lucasfilm be creatively independent, so I don’t think we have to worry about all new Disney/Fox films having the exact same feel. And Pixar has produced a number of excellent animated films after their Disney acquisition in 2006 (though there’s definitely a lot more sequels).
I also have mixed feelings about Disney’s new streaming service. As a consumer, it is a bit frustrating to have to keep signing up for different streaming services in order to access all the content you want to watch. Despite my protests about this trend, I’ve already decided to cave and sign up for the Disney streaming service (I’ll admit it, exclusive Star Wars content always gets me).
But I worry about Netflix’s future without access to the Disney or (presumably) Fox catalogs, and I don’t want strong original projects like “Stranger Things” to go away if Netflix were to one day fold. (“Daredevil” and the other Marvel TV shows already have.)
In short, I don’t have insider expertise about how the entertainment industry works behind the scenes, so I don’t really know how the Fox acquisition will impact what films we will (or won’t) be seeing. Maybe we won’t really see much change in content, though we should still be concerned about Disney using its bargaining power to force movie theaters into agreements that are more in Disney’s best interest than the theater’s (i.e. making them show a certain film for a minimum number of weeks and provide a certain percentage of ticket prices).
This particular paragraph from a Wikipedia article particularly concerns me:
As a film fan, what do you think? What are the positives and negatives of this deal? What are you excited about and concerned about? How will this impact the entertainment industry?