On Episode 21 of Brunansky’s Vlog, last Monday, on YouTube, I discussed what the single greatest aspect of Disney acquiring Fox could be, in my opinion. The segment that you watched (assuming you watched Episode 21) was much shorter than what I originally recorded, because, as I was recording, I ventured off into other aspects of the deal, which in all honesty pulled away from the intended message, which was, what is the single greatest gain for Disney in this acquisition? Now that the deal has gone through with a price tag of $52.4 billion, I wanted to share some thoughts about the deal as a whole that wasn’t analyzed on Episode 21. Let’s dive in.
First, and possibly most celebrated by the Marvel Movie community, is the fact that with this purchase Disney has the majority of Marvel’s characters back in their control. I realize that this is a big selling point for many people and while I am pleased Marvel will have more characters available for future films, I’d like to look at other possibilities that are just as real as seeing Storm marry Black Panther or Captain America stop an optic blast from Cyclops with his shield. Kevin Feige has never stated (to my knowledge) that once Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is complete that future films will continue in the familiar fashion of films leading into other films leading to the tent pole Avengers films. So, we don’t know after Avengers 4 if future Marvel movies will all be connected or if they will simply be as movies once were, which is independent stories that are not connected but still all falling under the a studios brand name (in this particular case, Marvel Studios). Let’s assume, which is almost never a great policy, that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue forward in the manner in which we have become familiar. If that’s the case, which again, we’re assuming is the case, than it’s possible that we won’t be getting the abundance of stories we currently have been blessed with in theaters. Wether you liked all the Fox X-Men/Fantastic Four movies or not is simply not the point. We still got them on the big screen. Fox took a shot and for that I give them credit. Also, we got those films amidst Sony “Spider-Man” films, Marvel Studio’s film, DC films, etc. We have been spoiled! Since Marvel can now help facilitate new films under the Fox Studio title (assuming that’s part of the contract for the time being) that means we might not be getting 6-8 comic book based movies a year going forward. Truth be told, I’d rather we get 3-5 enjoyable to mind blowingly awesome films a year instead of a few stinkers peppered throughout, but that hasn’t been the case so far. So the fans of these characters will be missing out. Taking what I prefer out of the picture, I look at this from the point of view of X-Men, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer fans. If those characters don’t necessarily fit into the thread of stories Marvel wants to tell, we probably won’t be seeing them on the big screen. We’ll have to wait for Marvel to decide how those characters fit into the big picture (or not). However, that might not be the case either. We might still see random “Deadpool” films pop up that are completely unattached to the larger cinematic universe. We’ll have to wait and see.
Another aspect of this I don’t find particularly great is that with this merger, the creative visual story-tellers now have less opportunities to shop their ideas. In short, there are fewer studios now making decisions. This is not to suggest there are physically less studio buildings, not at all. However, now all the ideas will be sent to less potentially interested producers, directors etc because if the major heads of film don’t want that particular story in the popular zeitgeist than it probably won’t be made. With this merger, we could see a surge or renaissance of independent story-tellers using other methods for delivering films but we’ll have to wait and see. Back to point, if the studio heads decide we need more Science Fiction films that examine (whatever the topic of the day is) then it stands to reason that we’ll see more of those films. However, if a great story comes along that doesn’t fit into that category, we might miss out because there’s less games in town and nobody is buying that type of idea today, tomorrow or next week. So, from a creative stand point, we as consumer and lovers of film, will be getting potentially less variety and more of the same. If you’re reading this and thinking, “no way Jeremy, that wouldn’t happen.” I’d like to point out movies like, Daddy’s Home 2 VS A Bad Mom’s Christmas, Churchill VS Darkest Hour, Battle of the Sexes VS Borg-McEnroe. Hollywood gets an idea and then doubles down on that idea time and time again. Now, with less options for storytellers to utilize to tell their stories, we might see an even greater influx of this type of product delivery to theater chains. This includes the animation divisions too. There really hasn’t been much talk about animation but we cannot and should not forget that there are a few companies that may or may not stick around much longer. OR they could be absorbed into existing companies because why lose talent when you can just reallocate them? So, Fox Animation Studio, Blue Sky Animation, Pixar, Disney Animation, Lucas Film Animation and even Miramax who seems to be purchasing the US Rights for foreign animated films. How will these groups all come together or will they? Again, we’ll have to wait and see.
Additionally, as we discussed on Episode 21, this purchase provides a better strategic advantage for Disney with regards to Online Streaming Services. Disney now has the majority share holdings for HULU streaming service at 60%. This means we could see more Disney related shows (which includes shows on ABC) to pop up on HULU apart from the new Disney streaming service once that arrives. Disney announced they are working on and will be delivering a “DISNEY” streaming service. What that entirely means we are still unsure but we can safely assume that Disney animated films, Marvel, Star Wars, new shows, old shows, classic Disney, etc, will all be part of the new service. Also, Redbox announced their streaming service has been revamped and they are now getting back into the game with the likes of Apple who already has an online streaming/rental service established with iTunes. Since we discussed this particular item on the show we’ll cut this paragraph short. Please visit the news segment from Episode 21 for further analysis.
So, in closing, this doesn’t really seem to be the best thing for us as consumers of these products at first glance. I could be wrong. It’s typically a safe bet to bet on Disney because the Mouse House really invests time and thought into their decisions to ensure that the standard of excellence we’ve come to expect from them is sustained. However, by limiting the options of new and established story tellers, by starting to corner the market for online streaming services, and by possibly delaying or limiting the stories we look forward to from Marvel Comics to the Big Screen doesn’t jive with this guy writing this opinion piece. I hope I’m wrong and it all works out for the best for us as fans, the stock holders and the corporate heads but I can’t say with 100% certainty that will be the case. However, it’s Disney and they have a way of positively surprising even the most cynical of us many a time. That’s all for me. Leave your thoughts below in the comments. Thanks for reading!