avatarland animatronic

Positive for Disney: Disney Gets Ownership of Avatar

The acquisition would give Disney the rights to James Cameron’s Avatar, a huge film franchise the company have already incorporated into the Disney parks. Disney has proven itself to be a master of corporate synergy in the past, so actually owning the film rights to their expensive new theme park land, Pandora: The World of Avatar, would be handy. (Peter Sciretta)

The Simpsons Supporting Characters

Negative for Disney: Disney Gets Ownership of Properties Already in Competing Theme Parks

Speaking of theme parks…

While Disney fully owning Avatar in the parks and on the big screen would benefit both divisions, they would also be acquiring the rights to film and TV projects, like the The Simpsons, that already have deals in competitor’s theme parks, like Universal Studios. This would not be a first for Disney, as their acquisition of Marvel excluded the theme park rights to most Marvel superheroes east of the Mississippi. The result is that Universal has a theme park land and costumed characters based on Disney properties and Disney has less control of their ecosystem. (Peter Sciretta)

fox

Negative: A piece of Hollywood History Gets Swallowed and Possibly Spit Out in A Corporate Merger

This is admittedly sentimental and the entry that closes out this list, while attached at the hip to this one, is far more unsettling. But I’ll just come out and say it: a studio that has operated since 1935 getting absorbed by another entity really bums me out. There aren’t that many Hollywood studios and those that have been around since the golden age of the industry just feel, well, magical. Yeah, they’re corporations and yeah, the magic I’m talking about is mostly an illusion cooked up by hot lights and hotter headlines, but it sits uneasy with me. Here is an iconic movie studio, one that has seen the ups and downs of the industry for over 80 years up close and personal, a place that has literally been a huge piece of Hollywood history…and it could be swept away with a few signatures. What becomes of the historic Fox studio lot? What becomes of the stories and legends and tall tales associated with this place, a place that has existed in Hollywood for so long?

Disney could let it all stand as is. It could continue operating as business-as-usual. But it wouldn’t be the same. Even before we get to the business ramifications, the nostalgic in me, the person who loves diving into sordid tales of film industry history, would be sad to see an institution like this get all-but-shuttered. (Jacob Hall)

A Wrinkle in Time Trailer

Positive: Disney’s Recent Trend Toward Diversity Gets More Powerful

Disney has made an emphatic effort to create a more diverse environment behind and in front of the camera. And with four major movie studios under their wing, that could mean wonders for actors, actresses, and directors of color. Disney’s feature films have seen a trend toward showcasing stories about diversity (Moana, Queen of Katwe, Zootopia) with diverse talent in the director’s chairs like Ava Duvernay in the upcoming adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.

At Pixar, we’ve seen a concerted effort to showcase diversity with this year’s dazzlingly authentic Coco, Lucasfilm has Kathleen Kennedy calling the shots leading to more diverse Star Wars leads than we’ve ever seen, and Marvel has become a beacon for diversity in the superhero genre, changing the races for many supporting characters if not for their main characters. With Hollywood suffering from hit-after-hit over sexual harassment cases and boys’ club mentality, Disney’s active efforts in favor of diversity could mean good things for future 20th Century Fox flicks. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

scrooge mcduck

Negative:Disney is One Step Closer to a Movie Monopoly

Bow to our Disney overlords. If the deal is struck between Disney and 20th Century Fox, Disney would not only own the rights to Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Rupert Murdoch’s film studio, but also its spin-off networks like FX and the National Geographic. As of now, Disney already makes almost $1 billion more than its next biggest rival, Warner Bros. With Fox under its wing, Disney’s only competitors in the movie industry would be Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal, and Sony, all of which mostly rely on television revenue.

Monopolies are never a good idea, and a monopoly in the movie industry not only has unsettling implications for Disney’s heavy focus on big-budget films (if you thought mid-budget movies were dead now…), but also for how Disney will wield that power. Disney attacked the LA Times for the publication’s investigation into the company’s business dealings in its Anaheim, Calif. theme parks, blacklisting LA Times critics out from all screenings of Disney films. John Lasseter thrived for years in a system that aided his sexual harassment of female employees. Disney strong-armed theaters into giving the company 65% of ticket sales for surefire blockbuster hit Star Wars: The Last Jedi — a higher percentage than studios have ever demanded. Severe backlash to these power moves caused Disney to walk back, but once the conglomerate has a monopoly over one third of the movie industry, what else could the company be capable of? (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Negative: Fox Employees Could Lose Their Jobs

Since originally publishing this piece, a Slashfilm reader pointed out that we failed to mention another obvious negative to this potential acquisition: the hundreds of jobs that could be on the line for current Fox employees. Corporate acquisitions don’t often allow for a clean and easy transfer of power – at best, the buyer replaces people in power with whomever they think are right for those jobs, and at worst, they decide to clean house completely, wiping out entire departments and putting them under the purview of previously-existing management ecosystems. We’ve been talking about the acquisition in big picture terms, but it’s worth remembering that there’s a human cost to something like this as well. (Ben Pearson)

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