fox name change

Say goodbye to 20th Century Fox (and Fox Searchlight, too). Disney, which purchased Fox last year, is killing off the Fox name and rebranding the respective companies as 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures. Insiders suspect the move is an attempt to distance the studios from Fox News, which was not part of Disney’s acquisition.

Variety is reporting the news about the rebranding of 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight. Per their report:

Disney has already started the process to phase out the Fox name: Email addresses have changed for Searchlight staffers, with the fox.com address replaced with a searchlightpictures.com address. On the poster for Searchlight’s next film “Downhill,” with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell, the credits begin with “Searchlight Pictures Presents.” The film will be the first Searchlight release to debut with the new logo. “Call of the Wild,” an upcoming family film, will be released under the 20th Century banner, sans Fox.

What’s the reasoning behind the change? It probably has something to do with Fox News. While Disney snapped up 20th Century Fox-related material, the deal did not include the Fox broadcast network or Fox News, which both remain part of Fox Corp., owned by CEO Lachlan Murdoch. One insider tells Variety: “I think the Fox name means Murdoch, and that is toxic.”

In the grand scheme of things this change isn’t that big of a deal. Still, it’s just another sign of how the industry is changing, and how far-reaching Disney’s power has become. One big question I have: will the Fox fanfare remain? That iconic, ass-kicking drum beat giving way to trumpets, which has been in place since the 1930s? The answer, at least according to CNBC, is yes: “The iconic logos for the two studios will also be altered, but only slightly. The word “Fox’ will be taken off the logos, but the swirling lights, monolithic font and fanfare will remain.”

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studio will continue to use the Fox name for now, but there are discussions underway to change those as well.

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