For the last month, a massive deal — with massive implications in the entertainment industry — between Disney and 21st Century Fox has been brewing. On Thursday, it was finalized, with Disney announcing that it has acquired 21st Century Fox’s film and TV studios for a staggering $52.4 billion dollars. The deal includes Fox assets like the film studio 20th Century Fox, cable networks such as FX and National Geographic, a majority stake in Hulu, and international networks like Sky and Star India. Per the terms of the deal, Fox will retain its news and sports assets.
A Disney-Fox merger is a seismic shift for the entertainment industry, combining two of the biggest studios on the planet. (For a more in-depth look at the wide-ranging effects of the deal, check this out.) It means Mouse House officially gets ownership of Fox’s catalog of intellectual property — James Cameron’s Avatar franchise, The Planet of the Apes, The Simpsons, The X-Files, to name a few — as well as Marvel heroes that were previously under Fox’s corporate umbrella, including the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Don’t expect the X-Men to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe overnight, but it’s a long-term possibility.
For Disney, not only does this provide valuable IP to create more movies and shows, but it bodes well for its plan to release a streaming service in 2019. Now, in addition to Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars films — not to mention an exclusive, live-action Star Wars TV series — a Disney streamer could include things like, well, everything just mentioned, plus Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Alien franchise, Ice Age, How I Met Your Mother, Futurama, and more. If Disney didn’t have Netflix’s full attention, it certainly will now.
That Disney announced the Fox merger on the day of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere is quite a flex, but really, who can blame the company? If it wasn’t already, Disney’s now indisputably the most powerful force in Hollywood.