Acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney

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Movies, Magic, Monopoly

On November 6, 2017, CNBC reported that The Walt Disney Company was negotiating a deal to acquire 21st Century Fox's filmed entertainment, cable entertainment, and direct broadcast satellite divisions. Due to Disney already owning ABC, FCC regulations required that this deal exclude some of Fox's TV networks, which were spun off into "Fox Corporation." On November 16, it was revealed that Disney faced a bidding war against Comcast, Verizon, and Sony to acquire Fox. The deal was finalized on March 20, 2019. In 2020, Disney renamed their Fox assets to remove Fox from the name, since some assets were spun off into Fox Corporation. 20th Century Fox is now 20th Century Studios and Fox Searchlight Pictures is now Searchlight Pictures.

Bad Qualities

  1. The fact that this is a horizontal merger (unlike Disney's previous acquisitions) makes it more evident that Disney is trying to monopolize the film, or to a bigger extent, the entertainment industry. This gives Disney a lot more control in the film market, which means more films can affect other businesses due to Disney's stricter budgeting such as demanding higher box office revenue cuts.
    • As a result of having much more control in the film market, Disney also has a lot more control over what projects for movies will and will not be approved to go ahead and be made.
  2. Disney mainly did this deal just to help expand Disney+'s library and was less interested in Fox's actual production capabilities. Disney even said that they wouldn't have made this deal if it weren't for Disney+.
    • Despite Disney+ being the main reason for the acquisition, some Fox content on the service has been removed mainly due to rights issues and pre-existing contracts with premium channels (such as HBO and Starz in the USA). Thankfully, this issue only applies to the United States.
  3. In response to economic issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney shut down 20th Century Studios' beloved animation studio, Blue Sky, showing that they failed to give it the same recognition as Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios although the studio already can't keep doing business further in the future due to the losses they had to bear from not letting go of the Ice Age franchise. This closure laid off 450 employees and has lead to the cancellation of Nimona. Thankfully, about a year after Blue Sky closed, Nimona was acquired by Netflix and Annapurna and will be animated by DNEG for 2023.
    • What's insulting about this is when after the closure of Blue Sky occurred, Disney has started to milk some of the studio's franchises such as Ice Age and Rio, showing that Disney doesn't value Blue Sky Studios' movies as creative works of art only as means to boost profits although one can say that Blue Sky Studios got a taste of their own medicine over their milking of the Ice Age franchise.
    • In light of Disney’s controversial handling of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, three former Blue Sky executives testified that Disney pushed back against the LGBT elements in Nimona.
    • Though Blue sky DID had it coming for stealing Scrat's true creator and committing tax fraud
  4. Disney changing The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild and Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2021) from 20th Century Studios releases to a Walt Disney release shows that they want to take all the credit for 20th Century Studios' work despite barely having anything to do with any of their work before the acquisition.
  5. Speaking of being laid off, after the merger was completed it was reported that up to 4,000 employees would lose their jobs because of this. The top executives given two to six months' notice of being laid off include 20th Century Fox film president of domestic distribution Chris Aronson, president of worldwide marketing Pamela Levine, co-president of marketing Kevin Campbell, chief content officer Tony Sella, international distribution president Andrew Cripps, executive vice president of corporate communications Dan Berger, executive vice president of legal affairs and executive vice president of Fox Stage productions Bob Cohen, executive vice president of publicity Heather Phillips, 20th Television president Greg Meidel and Fox Consumer Products boss Jim Fielding.
  6. Disney ended Family Guy syndication on Adult Swim. While it may not sound like a big deal since it's still on other networks, this syndication was rather important to the show and it was iconic to the network.
    • To rub salt on the wound, the last episode to air on the network was "Stewie is Enceinte", ending this syndication on a bad note.
    • Adult Swim is also set to lose Bob's Burgers in 2023 because of this deal.
  7. Disney has been making Disney+ original films from franchises that were part of this acquisition, and such unfortunately was handled poorly with films such as Home Sweet Home Alone, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2021), The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild and Cheaper by the Dozen (2022), further showing that they only think of 20th Century Fox as a cash cow and not as a studio with plenty of works of art given that they are making another Night at the Museum movie and an Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. Hell, even 2021's Diary of a Wimpy Kid was much more tolerable compared to the rest so far despite being dumbed down.
    • The fact that Disney is mostly only paying attention to the big franchises such as Home Alone, Night at the Museum and Ice Age also further proves that Disney in general is becoming more and more creatively bankrupt and more dependent on sequels, remakes and reboots.
  8. Disney also cancelled a sequel to Alita, a cyberpunk movie and the Greatest Showman film. This shows that Disney doesn't want Fox to make sequels to movies unless it’s a popular franchise and something they know people are familiar with.
  9. Disney has also cancelled lots of X-Men movies that had great potential such as one based on X-23.
    • To make things worse, the X-Men series ended on a sour note twice with the first being Dark Phoenix and with the latter being New Mutants.
  10. Disney also cancelled and rejected plenty of non-sequels and adaptions that everyone will hope to see like The Boogeyman (an adaptation of Stephen King's 1978 short story of the same name; although it eventually returned for 2023), Mega Man (Netflix got the rights), The Witch Boy and Play-Doh (Entertainment One got the rights to it).
  11. As a result of the merger, screenings of old films produced by Fox have been restricted heavily, with several theatre chains reporting that Fox's back catalog was no longer available to them and even Little Theatre in Rochester, New York being barred by Disney from screening Fight Club in the future.
  12. They have been using The Simpsons to make boring promotional shorts.
  13. Unfortunately, starting in 2023, the theatrical releases for 20th Century Studios will be scaled back with 7 direct-to-streaming releases for Disney+ and Hulu a year, and only 3 theatrical releases a year, which isn't much. This is one of the many reasons why Disney is both the reason for this acquisition and that trying to eliminate competition so that all theatrical movies are Disney movies.
  14. Disney often blames 20th Century Studios for losing money, since many of their films flop in theatres when in reality, it's not even their own fault when it comes to box office results.
  15. Finally, the most infamous decision made post-acquisition was to rename 20th Century Fox to the less iconic 20th Century Studios, which was completely unnecessary, as the Fox TV channels (including the disreputable Fox News) were named after the film studio, not vice versa. 20th Century Fox is the name the studio had ever since it was formed in 1935 from a merger between two studios, and it has remained an iconic name. Some say it could've been more tolerable if it was renamed back to its original name, 20th Century Pictures, as that was what it was used to be called before the Fox merger.
  16. It's leading to a future, where almost all of our blockbuster entertainment comes from a single major movie studio. [1]

Good Qualities

  1. Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox actually has a lot of potential for all the reasons listen below.
  2. This deal would benefit greatly to one of Disney's properties Marvel Studios in which it would help incorporate the former Fox properties, the X-Men and Fantastic Four into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the former receiving disappointing releases and especially the latter having a poor track record of film adaptations. Given Disney's reputation on the Marvel license, they also did well with Sony's Spider-Man which could give the Fox properties some revitalization.
    • This also confirmed that Deadpool 3 is in works with Ryan Reynolds returning as the lead character with the film still aiming to be rated R.
  3. This also opens the doors for Anastasia to become a Disney Princess, marking the first Disney Princess to be acquired and the first Russian Disney Princess, the first Slavic Disney Princess, and the first Disney Princess to come from Eastern Europe. This is notable due to Don Bluth and Disney being fierce rivals ever since Don Bluth resigned from Disney in 1979.
  4. Despite failing to give Blue Sky the recognition they deserved, Disney was at least kind enough to release Blue Sky's last finished project, Ice Age: Scrat Tales, on Disney+.
    • Because of that, they managed to secure the rights to Scrat.
  5. This opens the possibility of re-releasing the unaltered versions of the original Star Wars trilogy, which is something that Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams have shown interest in doing.
    1. It should be noted that although 20th Century Fox's distribution rights for episodes V and VI and the prequel trilogy were set to expire in May 2020 as a result of Disney buying Lucasfilm, they were still set to retain full distribution rights for episode IV.
  6. Thanks to them when Disney+ came out in 2019, they listened to Simpsons fans' criticisms with the 16:9 cropped episodes of older Simpsons episodes from 1989-2009 and gave viewers the option to watch the 4:3 produced episodes in their original format or the widescreen/cropped version on May 30th, 2020. That does show Disney had seen full potential with The Simpsons in a good way there.
  7. The tone of the Simpsons didn't go down, though they changed some of the cast.
  8. With the Simpsons being owned by Disney, the chances of a second movie seems higher than ever.
  9. They still made some good movies with Fox like Nomadland, Summer of Soul, Free Guy, The Night House, The Last Duel, The French Dispatch, Ron's Gone Wrong, West Side Story (2021), The Bob's Burger's Movie, and Nightmare Alley.
  10. Believe it or not, Bob Iger (before he was replaced by Chapek) actually did see potential in Blue Sky Studios as seen in here and here. If he was still president, then Blue Sky Studios wouldn't shut down and may have worked on their projects they considered doing like Nimona (though Netflix now acquires the rights), Foster, Mutts, Spore, etc.


Assets that were acquired by Disney

  • 20th Century Fox (Renamed to 20th Century Studios on January 17, 2020)
    • Fox Family (Now 20th Century Family)
    • 20th Century Fox Animation (Now 20th Century Animation)
    • Fox Searchlight Pictures (Now Searchlight Pictures)
    • Fox Studios Australia
    • Fox Stage Productions (Became Buena Vista Theatrical division within Disney Theatrical Group on July 3, 2019)
    • Minority stake of Boom! Studios
    • 20% stake of Regency Enterprises
  • 20th Century Fox Television (Renamed to 20th Television on August 10, 2020)
    • Original iteration of 20th Television (Merged into Disney-ABC Domestic Television)
    • Fox Television Animation (Renamed to 20th Television Animation on March 30, 2021)
    • Fox 21 Television Studios (Became the second Touchstone Television on August 10, 2020, but later merged into 20th Television in December 2020)
  • Fox Networks Group
    • FX Networks
      • FX Productions
    • 73% stake of National Geographic Partners
    • Fox Networks Group Latin America
    • Fox Networks Group Europe
    • Fox Networks Group Africa
    • Fox Networks Group Asia Pacific
  • Star India
  • 30% stake of Hulu (Disney later acquired more stake of Hulu from other shareholders. They now own a 67% stake with the other 33% being owned by NBCUniversal.)
  • 30% stake of Tata Sky
  • Minority investment of DraftKings

Acquired assets that were later shut down

  • Blue Sky Studios-Shut down on April 7, 2021, due to economic issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their last film was Spies in Disguise, the only Blue Sky film to be released under Disney's ownership.
  • Fox 2000 Pictures-Reported the day after the acquisition. They were shut down on May 14, 2021, after releasing The Woman in the Window. Their last film released in theatres was The Art of Racing in the Rain.

Assets kept by Fox Corporation

  • Fox Broadcasting Company
  • Fox Television Stations Group
    • MyNetworkTV
  • Fox News Media Group
  • Fox Sports Media Group (the United States only)
    • Fox Sports 1
    • Fox Sports 2
    • Fox Deportes
    • 51% stake of Big Ten Network
  • Fox Studio lot in Century City (Fox Corporation owns the real estate via Fox Studio Lot, LLC, although it is leased to Disney for the newly renamed 20th Century Studios)
  • Fox's Roku assets


  • The 1998 Simpsons episode, When You Dish Upon a Star, has a shot of the 20th Century Fox logo with the subtext, "A Division of Walt Disney Co." Another case of The Simpsons predicting the future. This was long before Disney even made any major acquisitions apart from ABC.
  • Comcast winning the bidding war for 21st Century Fox would have also resulted in the Fox Corporation spinoff since Comcast already owns NBC. Also, the assets of Fox Filmed Entertainment would've been with Fox Corporation if Comcast bought it since Comcast also owns Universal.
  • Included in this acquisition is the Die Hard franchise. Long before this acquisition was made, Disney handled the international distribution of Die Hard With a Vengeance through their Hollywood Pictures banner.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia franchise was owned by Disney but later sold it to Fox, which basically returned back to Disney after they purchased Fox.


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