What Will the Disney Fox Deal Really Cost? | NowThis Nerd

On July 27, 2018, Disney and Fox shareholders officially confirmed their $713 billion merger

and across the galaxy, geeks everywhere rejoiced Marvel’s heroes are coming home! The Fantastic Four might finally get the adaptation they deserve, and the X-Men will take their rightful place as the MCU’s a-list allegory, because let’s face it, the Inhumans were just never going to happen It seems like a home run for superhero fans, but outside of the nerd world, the massive merger has some serious implications for the future of cinema I’m Moose, and this is What the Disney Fox Merger Could Really Cost The merger still faces some international regulatory hurdles, so it’s not entirely a done deal yet, and without the final details, we don’t know exactly what the future holds, but we can do some speculating about what the New Disney could mean for the movie industry, starting with Trouble for Theaters Even before the merger, Disney controlled a scary amount of the box office Between the MCU, Star Wars, Pixar, and their own IP, they raked in over $6

4 billion in 2017 with just 8 films In comparison, between its various sub-studios, Fox released 26 movies in 2017, but only managed to come in fourth place for the year Disney will probably pick up some of the slack, but there’s no way they’re going to maintain the same level of output, when you can make more money with less movies I mean, they don’t even seem in a hurry to release movies that are already in the can, as evidenced by the suspicious silence surrounding ‘Dark Phoenix’ and ‘New Mutants’ Sources have indicated that ‘already completed projects’ would come out eventually, but even if they do see the light of day, Disney could just as easily dump them onto streaming, or quietly release them in the box office black hole that is January

“So what’s the problem?” you may be asking “I wasn’t seeing ‘Kingsman’ anyway” We’ll get into the creative ramifications later, but from a business standpoint, it’s bad news for movie theaters, who Disney are already bullying with ridiculous exhibition terms You don't freaking talk to me like that If you wanted to show ‘The Last Jedi,’ for example, you had to sign an agreement giving Disney 65% of ticket sales, compared to the 55 – 60% cut most films get Ohh, the pain, the pain! Not only that, you’re required to show it on your largest screen for a minimum of four weeks, or else Disney adds a 5% penalty

Now, a hugely popular movie usually translates to a ton of concession sales, which is where theaters make most of their money, Let's all go to the lobby/to get ourselves a treat! but for independent cinemas in smaller markets with limited screen space, Disney’s draconian terms mean that they’re often stuck playing month-old movies to empty auditoriums Without negotiating power, they don’t have the option to run non-Disney movies that might bring in more people, and soon, there are going to way fewer alternatives to choose from anyway [CACKLING MANIACALLY] The big chains will be fine, probably, but this could be the death knell for independent theaters, and a big blow to independent film Because as Disney consolidates its power, there’s even less Incentive for Innovation So let’s say the new Disney releases 15 movies a year How many of those will be daring and innovative films that push boundaries and tread new ground? And how many do you think will be franchise films, remakes and reboots? Now, I’m not saying they’ll release nothing but Star Wars and Marvel movies from now until the heat death of the universe, So long, Earth! Thanks for the air and whatnot! But why chance things with an unknown property, when they can pump out a new 'Black Panther' and make a guaranteed billion? Disney just acquired a ton of new IP from Fox, ranging from 'Die Hard' and 'Predator' to 'Dr

Doolittle,' and while they’re definitely not going to sit on something like ‘Avatar,’ with the limited release spots and lack of competition, a lot of franchises are either going to get stuck in the vault until people stop paying to see superheroes, Dormammu! Dormammu! Dormammu Dormammu? Dormammu! or rebooted in new Disney-fied versions created by committee Take ‘Alien,’ for example Say what you will about ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Covenant,’ but they were gory as heck Now that Disney owns the Xenomorphs, though, what incentive is there to keep the franchise’s gruesome roots intact, when a PG-13 version is all but guaranteed to make more money? What about ‘Deadpool?’ The two movies have shattered expectations for the R-rating at the box office, and Disney CEO Bob Iger has stated in the past that they’d be open to an R-rated offshoot of the MCU, but who’s going to hold him to that? The shareholders? They already put the kibosh on Donald Glover’s animated series because it took things too far, why would the far more expensive movies be any different? As much cash as Ryan Reynolds’ raunchy romps took in, they didn’t make ‘Avengers’ money

I'm touching myself right now And remember, we’re just talking about big budget franchises What about the ‘Pulp Fictions?’ The ‘Clerks?’ The ‘Swingers?’ and other R-rated, provocative films that aren’t a sure thing on paper? Smaller studios like Lionsgate and A24 will be able to pick up some of the slack, and Disney’s committed to continuing Fox Searchlight, which released last year’s Oscar winner ‘The Shape of Water,’ but we could see bold, innovative films like these phased out in pursuit of the almighty dollar I mean, through ABC, Disney just strong-armed the Academy Awards into making a new Popular Movies category, just so their superhero movies can win Oscars instead of having to risk slightly less money making an arsty-fartsy film Why would Disney take any risks when they control 40% of the market? They’re not competing with movie studios anymore, they’ve already won

Now, the real competition is Google, Amazon, Netflix, and other massive companies that operate in a much bigger space than movie theaters Don’t forget, Disney’s got their own huge streaming service in the works, along with the controlling stake in Hulu they just snagged If we are going to see exciting indie films from the New Disney, it’s most likely gonna drop on streaming, as theaters become reserved exclusively for safe, big-budget blockbusters So, we’re likely going to see less movies, less theaters, and less innovation But there’s another cost of the Disney merger that might not be so apparent: There’s going to be a lot of Lost Jobs Post-merger, Disney says that it will save $2 billion yearly through ‘synergies,’ which is corporate speak for ‘layoffs

’ These guys have a family I have a family I'm all-in on this, I can lose my house I'm sorry sir, there's nothing I can do There are no concrete numbers yet, but even the most conservative predictions estimate that up to 5,000 people will lose their jobs, and it could be as high as 10,000

Now normally, if that many people get laid off, another studio would quickly scoop them up, but now that Fox is out of the picture, that’s one less place they can go to work Those jobs will simply cease to exist, and competition for work in the industry will become even more cutthroat than it already is Now, do you think that’s going to hurt the rich, well-connected people? Or will it be the innovative new voices and diverse young talent who don’t make the cut? That is false! A larger Hollywood means more opportunities for underrepresented people, but with up to 10,000 fewer jobs, that’s 10,000 less chances to shine Of course, you don’t have to be an up-and-coming filmmaker or a really talented best boy to be worried about your job security Disney’s not afraid to shitcan an established director with two beloved hits under his belt, either

James Gunn’s ten-year-old tweets were shitty and gross, there’s no argument about that, but the situation surrounding his firing is extremely complicated, and Disney’s kneejerk reaction could set a worrying precedent, one where CEOs and shareholders stifle art they don’t understand Now, the other studios are scrambling to hire Gunn, but if the House of Mouse keeps consolidating their power, there might not be a place for people like him to go Disney isn’t afraid to bully and blackball, after all, they shut the LA Times out of early screenings of Ragnarok in retaliation for the paper publishing an unfavorable story about Disney’s tax situation and that was before they swallowed up one of their few remaining competitors With their new clout, there’s nothing stopping Disney from going ‘Print what we want you to print, say what we want you to say, and be a good boy, because where else are you gonna work? Sony?’ Oh, no, no

Ha ha! The death of Fox means one less place to pitch, one less place to sell your idea, and yourself, and one less place to turn when your employer puts you in the doghouse Look, it’s not all bad Disney didn’t just succed by buying up all your favorite IP, they’re crushing it right now because they’re making amazing movies with your favorite IP Believe me, I can’t wait to see Dr Doom as an evil sorcerer who rules a fascist dictatorship, or an MCU where mutants are hated and feared by the world they’re sworn to protect

But how much of that is Disney, and how much is Kevin Feige? Outside of Marvel Studios, we’ve still got some great stuff from Pixar, but we’re also seeing a ton of lazy live action remakes, and franchises being fumbled Whether you loved or hated The Last Jedi, you can’t argue that Star Wars hasn't become a total shitshow, Well, what do you know? and only time will tell whether the franchise can survive the great divide that’s split its fanbase We’ll have to see what the Disney Fox merger means for movies too Massive studios haven’t been this powerful since the ‘30s, but the landscape has changed since the courts trust-busted them down to size There’s almost nothing standing in Disney’s way, and while I’m still going to enjoy the amazing Marvel movies, and welcome the X-Men to the MCU with open arms, I can’t help but worry about the price we might have paid for the privilege

What did it cost? Everything [a]pickup [b]pickup

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