This morning, it was officially announced that Disney has acquired a lion’s share of 21st Century FOX (for just over 52 Billion, plus another 10+ in assumed debt), making the Iger-led company a behemoth the likes of which Hollywood has never seen. In the buyout, Disney has acquired numerous legacy brands, brought several interesting (and potentially conflicting) franchises under the same roof, and set the stage for a very attention-grabbing future.
But what does this monumental purchase really mean? Here are a few questions this banner day for Disney raises, with some thoughts on what the future holds.
How will Iger run the giant?
Along with the announcement of the purchase comes an extension of Disney CEO Bob Iger’s employment, now projected out to 2021. This is the latest in several extensions by the head of the company, which was decided on to help with the integration of the new FOX properties.
Interestingly, it was a similar deal with ABC that brought Iger to the company over 20 years ago, and there are bound to be several promising executives joining the mouse as well.
This leads to an interesting power dynamic. After Iger, who will head the company? More importantly, with Iger continually hanging around, is it worth waiting around for? We could be seeing a very interesting vie in a couple years’ time.
Something to Marvel at?
A big thing coming under the Disney umbrella are the now unified properties of Marvel, which have been split for several years. While some have been floundering under FOX (famously, Fantastic 4), some have actually found a lot of success (X-Men, Deadpool).
So, what happens to these titles now that they’re with Disney? When the mouse acquired Star Wars, they stripped much of the EU from canon, giving them a fresh platform to work from. But with the success of films recently, we may be seeing an integration of properties, with a few hoops to jump through. In the original comics, X-men, Avengers, Deadpool and the like cross over frequently. Could this be the start of seeing some already-established FOX-developed characters in the MCU?
Where does the streaming war go from here?
Another goodie for Disney is another 30% of HULU, giving them a strong controlling share of the streaming service. With the battle lines for streaming supremacy being drawn with Netflix and Amazon, Disney now has two horses in the race, with their new Disney-centric service to be released soon.
So, how will the Disney properties balance? It’s been hinted that the new Disney service will be the family-friendly entertainment home, while some of the more mature titles going to HULU, which raises a bigger question…
How mature is Disney going to go?
The mouse has a long history of walking the line of family friendly and universally profitable, leaning more to the former of late. With several more adult properties being thrown in to the mix, how, and will Disney release them?
Similar surface separations have been implemented in the past (as with Touchstone Pictures, among others), which allow Disney to keep its clean image, while still releasing more mature content. But properties like The Simpsons and Deadpool tend to really push the boundaries. Will Disney keep them up?
The Simpsons, specifically, is a very interesting case. Famous for being the longest-running cartoon in history, its ratings have steadily declined for the last several years. While FOX probably needed the brand to stay relevant, Disney clearly doesn’t. Could this finally spell the end to the series, or will Disney keep the legacy program going?
There are sure to be more interesting questions to be raised as this purchase gets implemented. Sound off in the comments with some of your own!