Dark Phoenix was quite the dismal end to the X-Men franchise as the studio passed the torch of Marvel’s mutants on to The Walt Disney Company after the acquisition of 20th Century Fox. But it’s the film’s box office performance that will be even more detrimental, because the film’s overall losses have forced Disney to axe pretty much all developing movies that were in the works from 20th Century Fox with the exception of a couple key franchises. Find out more below.
Variety has word on Disney stopping 20th Century Fox movie development and refocusing their strategy for what to do with properties they acquired from the studio. That’s because Fox movies resulted in a $170 million operating loss for Disney’s fiscal third quarter. Bob Iger revealed the news to Wall Street analysts during Disney’s quarterly earnings call:
“One of the biggest issues was the Fox studio performance which was well below where it had been and well below where we hoped it would be when we made the acquisition.”
During the call, Iger also confirmed Fox’s superhero properties from Marvel were being handed over to Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios, and remakes of Home Alone, Night at the Museum, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Cheaper by the Dozen were heading to Disney+ (more on that over here). Along with that, The Hollywood Reporter says Disney hopes to release 10 or more movies from 20th Century Fox each year, but not until they refocus a bit. However, half or more of those movies could end up being on Disney+ or Hulu.
Otherwise, the only other Fox properties that aren’t being tossed out the window are James Cameron’s Avatar sequels and a continuation of the Planet of the Apes franchise. The latter is a rather intriguing property to mention since there hasn’t been any word on a Planet of the Apes sequel since War for the Planet of the Apes arrived back in 2017. There’s still a large time gap to fill between those movies and the eventual collision with the future depicted in the original Planet of the Apes. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if Disney ended up wanting to remake that movie as part of a new trilogy or something like that.
This is not good news for anyone who thought that 20th Century Fox would be able to continue business as usual under Disney. Some hoped that Fox would be able to live at Disney in the same way that Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios and Pixar Animation have, working mostly independently in support of Disney’s overall success. But Fox’s disappointing film performances have resulted in Alan Horn and Alan Bergman being sent to apply the same “discipline and creative standards” to the Fox division.
The light at the end of the tunnel here is Fox Searchlight isn’t being impacted by this shift in strategy at 20th Century Fox. The indie-focused studio will still proceed as planned, in addition to make new movies for Disney+. But even so, it’s clear Fox will now be steered by Disney’s captains, and we’re likely not going to see as much bold, risky output over there for a long time.
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