Disney Marvel/ AP This file image provided by Disney shows, from left, Chadwick Boseman as Panther, Paul Bettany as Vision, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Male, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, and Don Cheadle as War Maker in a scene from “Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War.”
Friday, Dec. 15, 2017|9:07 p.m.
MENLO PARK, California– The coming union of the Disney and Fox media empires is set to develop a new nirvana for fanboys and -women, one that reunites superheroes and sci-fi characters long separated by an energy barrier of corporate legalism.
Take, for example, the fractured world of Marvel superheroes. For many years, the X-Men (Wolverine, Storm, Teacher X and the team) and the Great Four (Thing, Unnoticeable Lady, et al) have fought bad men from the studios of 20th Century Fox. Meanwhile Iron Guy, Black Widow and other Avengers beat villains in another corner of the galaxy run by Disney. Nearly ne’er the twain did satisfy– though that could soon change.
In a related style, rights to the numerous “Star Wars” films have been spread all over a galaxy far, far away; those will soon be merged under an effective Galactic Emp– er, well, Magic Kingdom.
THE MOUSE THAT ATE THE FOX
Disney’s announcement Thursday that it’s buying most of movie goliath Fox for $52.4 billion in stock brings these as soon as disparate franchises together, perhaps for as-yet unplanned intergalactic dust-ups. Include the “Avatar” franchise to the hit mix, and the business that launched Mickey Mouse will be an inevitable existence at package office and online if the offer goes through.
The combined business will account for more than a 3rd of theatrical revenues in the U.S. and Canada, an $11 billion service last year, not to point out a huge piece of the international theater-going pie, according to Daniel Ives, chief technique officer at marketing research firm GBH Insights.
That would make the Disney juggernaut a more effective theatrical force to be considered than ever before. Online, Disney has revealed plans to release its own streaming service in 2019, after pulling titles like “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and Disney’s “Moana” from Netflix’s streaming platform to move onto its own. After Fox’s deal to send its films to HBO ends reportedly in 2022, its movies will likewise relocate to the Disney streaming platforms.
“Creating a direct-to-consumer relationship is crucial to the future of our media services and it’s our greatest concern,” Disney CEO Bob Iger informed investors in a Thursday conference call detailing the Fox deal.
ONE BIG HAPPY DEATH STAR
Those old adequate to keep in mind the shrieking 20th Century Fox opening to the initial “Star Wars” (Episode IV) might no longer have to browse far, far, away to discover the other titles. The original was made and distributed by Fox, but it was a peculiarity of the series.
Episodes V, VI, I, II, and III were owned by Lucasfilm (bought by Disney in 2012) and distributed by Fox. You can only stream those first 6 films endlessly if you buy them and register them through the not-terribly-popular UltraViolet system backed by a number of studios. (You can also lease them digitally.) “The Force Awakens”– Episode VII– is available to streaming customers, though only if you have Starz.
The Force might finally put these titles in one place.
Buying Fox will also offer Disney a bulk stake in streaming platform Hulu. The addition of Fox’s regional sports TELEVISION networks and National Geographic video shows in the deal could let the new service package hugely popular motion picture and TELEVISION franchises, local sports broadcast rights, and circulation platforms into one live online video empire.
That would recreate online exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court disintegrated in the 1940s. That’s when the court required Hollywood studios to divest ownership of theater chains to keep content manufacturers from managing every action along the method to the consumer.
“This moves Disney from an afterthought in streaming to a legitimate contender,” Ives stated.
At the same time, tech business– especially Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple– are making big financial investments in video streaming. Hollywood-centered home entertainment companies have struggled as individuals drop standard TV bundles, shifting the nexus of power in entertainment from the Hollywood Hills towards Silicon Valley and Seattle.
That market dynamic could assist lead the way for regulators to clear the offer, aimed to close within the next 12 to 18 months.
“These guys are up against Facebook and Google, not Warner Bros. and MGM,” stated Mike Kelly, the former Weather Channel CEO who is now CEO of financial investment and advisory company Kelly Newman Ventures. “If you take a look at it that method, I don’t believe the government would have that huge of a concern with it.”
Iger said he expects a “significant quantity of regulatory analysis both in the United States and worldwide” since of the offer’s size, but he said authorities must quickly approve it since it makes sense for consumers.
He stated Disney’s existing thinking is to split its streaming services into 3 different brand names, such as a Disney-labeled family service that would fold in NatGeo, Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm; an ESPN-led sports service; and an adult-oriented service that would include Hulu and a few of Fox’s TV programs.
Disney also aims to broaden the international audience of its cast of characters as it draws in Fox’s London-based pay-TV broadcaster Sky, which has a pan-European audience, and Mumbai-based Star India.
OH, THAT LONESOME WEB-SLINGER
But there’s one part of the comics world that will leaves Disney’s large web: Spider-Man, whose rights Marvel partly farmed out to Sony.
Although Sony and Disney cut a deal to consist of Spidey in Avengers tales beginning with “Captain America: Civil War” last year, Sony continues to establish its own alternate truth with films like the animated “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse” as well as spin-offs “Venom” and “Silver & & Black” starting in 2018.
O’Brien reported from Providence, Rhode Island.