In what could potentially be the most far-reaching and impactful movie industry news story of 2017, CNBC is reporting that The Walt Disney Company is in early talks to potentially purchase parts of 21st Century Fox, the parent company of both the 20th Century Fox movie studio and the Fox Television production company, along with other media assets like FX Networks and National Geographic, as well as international platforms like Star and Sky.
The deal would not encompass Fox News, the FOX broadcast network, local broadcasting affiliates or Fox’s sports programming assets, which would remain as part of the Fox empire. Disney already owns ABC and ESPN, and believes incorporating Fox’s sports coverage would encompass a monopoly and make them a target of an anti-trust case.
So what does this mean for movie fans? Right off the bat, you could expect Fox’s X-Men (including Deadpool and Wolverine) and Fantastic Four properties to be properly incorporated into Disney’s Marvel Studios, helping them get one step closer to bringing all their wayward comic book assets back under one roof. Disney would also acquire such heavyweight franchises as Alien, Predator, Planet of the Apes, Kingsman, Die Hard and, most enticingly, Avatar.
The move would make Disney a more formidable media conglomerate at a time when AT&T is trying to swallow Time Warner Inc., owner of CNN and HBO, and technology companies are flexing their muscles by creating original content. Bulking up would also allow Disney to better compete with tech giants such as Google and Amazon that are making inroads into Hollywood.