Everything You Need to Know About the Disney-Fox Deal

disney fox deal questions

Early Thursday morning, the Walt Disney Company announced that it was buying 21st Century Fox in a historic $52.4 billion deal that has shaken the media and entertainment industries. As part of the deal — valued at over $60 billion including debt — Disney will acquire Fox’s film studio 20th Century Fox along with all its movie franchises, select TV networks like FX and National Geographic, and more.

We break down the full extent of the Disney-Fox deal, and what it means for the future of the movie industry, streaming, and Rupert Murdoch.

What Does Disney Get in the Deal?

Disney gets 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, the FX and National Geographic channels, and Fox’s regional sports networks, as well as the majority ownership of Hulu.

That means that 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight’s wide array of franchises, films, and shows will be absorbed into Disney. This includes old, current and future franchises like Alien, Predator, Avatar, Die Hard, Fantastic Four, Kingsman, Planet of the Apes, Red Sparrow, Star Wars (distribution rights for the original movies), X-MenAlvin and the Chipmunks, Ice Age, Night at the Museum, Percy Jackson, The X-Files, the Chronicles of Narnia, Independence Day, M*A*S*H*, and Maze Runner. TV shows under Fox and FX include long-running shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy, as well as series like 24, Prison Break, Legion, and American Horror Story.

There’s no telling whether Disney will play a large role in producing the above franchises and TV series, but the company is planning to make use of its ownership of Avatar, having already developed Avatar-themed attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Fantastic Four reboot

Wait, Does This Mean the Fantastic Four Going to Disney?


There was some concern that the confusing history of The Fantastic Four‘s movie rights would exclude it from this deal, but in Disney’s press release of the announcement, the company proudly touted that the deal “provides Disney with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.”

X-Men Films Ranked

Will the X-Men Meet the Avengers?


In a call with investors and analysts shortly after the deal was announced, Disney CEO Bob Iger hinted that the X-Men characters could be introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, stating “Bringing Disney and Fox together will combine some of the world’s most iconic entertainment franchises.” Marvel President Kevin Feige and X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner have both previously voiced their support for bringing the X-Men into the MCU, Feige telling Vanity Fair, “Would we like to [bring the X-Men into the MCU]? Yeah, of course.”

But don’t think that means that this news will bring Hugh Jackman back as Wolverine. He’s retired for good.

deadpool 2 trailer

But What About Deadpool and Other R-Rated Fox Movies?

In that same call with investors, Iger assured that Disney wouldn’t put their family-friendly stamp on 20th Century Fox’s R-rated properties:

“It [Deadpool] clearly has been and will be Marvel branded. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool. As long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.”

So fans don’t have to worry about R-rated Marvel films being watered down while they’re under Disney — as long as they stick to the brand. Ryan Reynolds may have tested that brand a little too early though:

What Does Fox Get to Keep?

Fox will retain the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, and Big Ten Network, which will be consolidated as a newly listed independent company, reportedly called New Fox. New Fox will be spun off to existing Fox shareholders.


What Will Happen to the Fox Studio Lot?

One of the assets that 20th Century Fox retains is the legendary Fox Studio lot, one of the remaining Big Five studio lots in Los Angeles. But without the TV and film properties that were filming on the lot, what would be the fate of Century City, especially since that real estate is valued at tens of billions of dollars?

It turns out that Disney will lease the lot for seven years as part of their acquisition of Fox. This means that no one who works on the lot would be relocated in the near future and a historic lot won’t become condos. Yet.

fox news

Does Rupert Murdoch Now Own Stock in Disney?

Yes, as will Fox shareholders.

The deal is something called an all-stock deal, in which an opportunity is offered for the transaction to be paid for mostly in stocks rather than cash. The all-stock deal leaves Fox investors owning a 25% stake of Disney. With Fox’s shares closing at $32.75 yesterday, the deal gives Fox shareholders 0.2745 Disney shares for each Fox share they own. The Murdochs will receive a small stock in Disney, but Rupert Murdoch has expressed an interest in focusing his energies on his consolidated media company, New Fox. According to Fortune, none of the Murdochs are expected to be given board seats at Disney.

“Are we retreating? Absolutely not. Those who know me know I am a news man with a competitive spirit. Fox News is probably the strongest brand in all of television. We are pivoting at a pivotal moment,” he told the Guardian. Murdoch’s focus away from the Fox and film and TV properties explains why Disney CEO Bob Iger extended his contract with Disney through 2021, at Murdoch’s request during the deal, to aid the transition.

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