Disney To Buy 21st Century Fox In $52 Billion Deal

Disney To Buy 21st Century Fox In $52 Billion Deal

After weeks of speculation and rumors, Disney announced on Thursday that they would be purchasing 21st Century Fox in a massive $52 billion deal.

“We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry,” said Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox, in a press release.

The deal will see Disney gain control of the rights of Fox’s film franchises, including AvatarX-Men, and Fantastic Four, among others. Though the deal is expected to take over a year to process, this means that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is set to get a whole lot bigger as several of Marvel’s most popular characters and teams will now be available to join the MCU in future years.

In addition, Disney will acquire Fox’s creative television properties, such as Twentieth Century Fox Television and FX productions. The Fox Broadcasting Network, which includes Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and the Big Ten Network, will be separated into a new company.

Disney chairman and CEO Robert Iger, who was expected to leave his position in 2019, will extend his contract through 2021 to oversee the acquisition. Iger previously oversaw Disney’s purchases of Lucasfilm, Pixar and Marvel, though this deal is the largest yet.

“The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before,” said Iger.


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Wolverine Podcast Officially in the Works

Wolverine Podcast Officially in the Works

The Marvel Empire is once again expanding into new territory with a ten-episode, scripted podcast titled Wolverine: The Long Night.

According to Mashable, the serialized story will run in 2018 on Sticher Premium, and will be released on other platforms come Fall.

The story will revolve around two agents who venture to a small town in Alaska to investigate a series of murders. Sally Pierce (Celia Keenan-Bolger) and Tad Marshall (Ato Essandoh) will work with a local deputy played Andrew Keenan-Bolger. Their main suspect? None other than Wolverine himself, played by Richard Armitage of The Hobbit and Hannibal fame.

“It’s very easy to turn up the volume on reality there. In addition to the crime investigation into the serial killer on the loose, there are also elements of the fantastic. And some of them have to do with Wolverine as his legend grows in this area, as people observe him bounding through the mists with packs of wolves; as they witness him save and end lives,” said Ben Percy, the writer for the series.

Percy said the podcast will carry a Serial vibe with hints of Unforgiven and True Detective. Director Brendan Baker, sound designer Chloe Prasinos, and producers Daniel Fink of Marvel and Jenny Radelet of Stitcher will join Scott Adsit of 30 Rock, Bob Balaban, Brian Stokes Mitchell and a cameo from Chris Gethard, who hosts the podcast Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People.

Marvel’s dominance in the film world has shown the strength of their characters and stories, and with the clout and money the company now has, expanding into one of the most modern forms of storytelling seems like a no-brainer.

“Being in this space where we can really touch and interact with our fans in a more 24/7 basis is one of our priorities. The beauty of this medium is you can listen to it as a show when it’s first released and voraciously consume it from a habitual standpoint, or, like I do and many people do with podcasts, you can listen to it very leisurely,” said Dan Silver, Head of Platforms & Content for Marvel New Media.

“We’re attempting to provide an audio experience that feels very much like if you just turned off your television screen, but left the sound on,” he says. “It’s very dynamic, it’s very real, it’s very raw, and it’s made for what people would expect from Marvel,” Silver added.

Wolverine: The Long Night will be available through the Stitcher Premium podcast platform in Spring 2018.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Brendan Quinn’s work such as his look at the relationship between comics and Hip-Hop, why the Witcher 3 was not as great as everyone thinks, and or which historical stories he thinks should be made into videogames!

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Disney Buying Fox Might Not Be A Bad Thing

Disney Buying Fox Might Not Be A Bad Thing

Yesterday the movie news cycle was hit by a juggernaut of a reveal. Apparently, behind closed doors, Disney has been negotiating to buy 21st Century Fox. The motivations why are obvious. In recent years the House of Mouse picked up those itty bitty Star Wars and Marvel franchises and the last remaining fragments of both movie universes are still lingering over at Fox (oh and they also added Avatar to Disney World and guess which studio owns that). Obviously, Fox isn’t too keen to give up their big fish properties, so the logical solution for a massive multibillion-dollar organization like Disney is to just buy Fox outright and keep the spoils. And before you think it, yes there has subsequently been word released that this deal is no longer in negotiations. But hey, the last time something like this happened was when the Sony email leaks revealed information about a deal for Spider-man. It was immediately announced in the fallout that the deal was no longer happening and then guess what happened? This seems similar. A deal so big neither company wants it to be scrutinized by the press before completion. It’s likely still happening and it’s also likely not a bad thing.

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Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, and James Marsden in X-Men (2000) – image via 21st Century Fox

It almost goes without saying that the lynchpin to this whole deal is the fact that Fox still owns the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four universes, huge Marvel properties that aren’t under Disney control. Obviously, Marvel would like to have that back. Folding the X-Men and Deadpool into their big ol’ MCU sure would open up additional franchise possibilities that are too good to ignore (not to mention the fact that the Kevin Feige would undoubtedly be able to finally make a decent Fantastic Four movie, which Fox simply can’t seem to pull off). However, it also comes with a big caveat. In recent years, Fox has been willing to embrace R-rated superhero stories and in Deadpool and Logan delivered two massive hits that pushed the limits of the genre in intriguing ways. Obviously, R-rated adult entertainments aren’t exactly Disney’s specialty and if anything, could sour the reputation of the company’s “all family all the time” approach to entertainment. It’s a worry, yet not one worth getting too concerned over.

Disney Buying Fox Might Not Be A Bad Thing 1
Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool (2016) – image via 21st Century Fox

Here’s the thing, Disney buying Fox wouldn’t just be for the properties. They want the logo too. Fox is an established brand, one obviously willing to do more mature entertainment than anything that could appear with a Disney logo. It’s a lucrative market and one that Disney could continue to profit from. They could still make Fox movies for Fox audiences (including the semi-indie Fox Searchlight offshoot) funded by Disney with that parent logo nowhere in sight. If that sounds insane, well it’s not exactly new. Touchstone was a company that Disney created in the 80s entirely for that purpose and one that did well producing and releasing movies that Disney never would have touched under their typical brand like Alive, The Ref, Ed Wood, The Rock, Rushmore, and Starship Troopers. Fox could be operated the same way. They could be a division where Deadpool keeps being filthy, yet can also pull in characters like the Hulk or Iron Man to indulge in his deeply filthy ways. A place where a more mature and R-rated Logan style movie could be made out of other Marvel characters as well. It would actually be a boon for the entire MCU, providing an offshoot filled with new possibilities.

Disney Buying Fox Might Not Be A Bad Thing 3
Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988) – image via 21st Century Fox

There’s another rationale for all this of course. Disney has made it quite clear that they want in on this Netflix streaming business and has plans to launch their own streaming platform. Obviously there’s more than enough content in the Disney vaults to justify this. But toss in the Fox vaults and suddenly they’ve also got the Alien, Predator, Avatar, Die Hard, Home Alone, and Planet of the Apes franchises to flaunt along with the rest of the lucrative Fox catalogue. More importantly, Fox still owns the distribution rights to the original 1977 Star Wars which Disney essentially has to lease out for any Star Wars box sets or streaming packages. This deal would take care of that and god-willing might allow for a long awaited reconstruction of the original theatrical release of the Star Wars flicks that fans have been whinging about for decades. So, there’s a substantial return on this “screw it, let’s just buy Fox” investment that would work out well for the big company and lead to some good viewing for audiences—it’s actually kind of an intriguing idea.

There is one big concern though. One of the wrinkles in the deal states that Disney can’t buy any of Fox’s television properties as they already own ABC and that would lead to a monopoly. Well fair enough. That’s understandable and I can see why Disney would have no interest in owning Fox News as well, that just makes sense. However, it’s odd to think that would be considered a monopoly while Disney swallowing up yet another film studio wouldn’t be. The fact of the matter is that with Paramount a shadow of its former self and MGM long gone, the number of movie studios is shrinking rapidly and it wouldn’t exactly be an exciting prospect to think that Disney might just own the entire film industry eventually. Like any film studio, Fox makes its share of crap. Yet, they are also a distinct entity of their own willing to take relative risks every year. Perhaps Disney would keep that mandate and collect the money and perhaps they wouldn’t. It’s tough to say.

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John Boyega and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) – image via Disney

Regardless, aside from the number of massive corporations that control all aspects of our daily lives shrinking down to an even more terrifyingly small number, this merger might not be a bad thing. There are opportunities here. It’s almost worth embracing the Big Brother aspect of it all just for the sweet rewards of getting the original Star Wars edits in HD or getting to hear Captain America drop an f-bomb. Then again, I suppose that’s the exact type of deal with the devil required to inch our way towards that sci-fi dystopia we all know is inevitable. Sigh…this is a tough nut to crack. Entertainment over evil empire? Hmmm…how’d this debate end with the Internet again? Has Google changed its name to Skynet yet?


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Phil’s take on Blade Runner 2049, Happy Death Day, and It! He also had a chance to sit down with Guillermo Del Toro. Check out his interview here!

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Marvel Announces Inhumans TV Series for Fall 2017

Marvel Announces Inhumans TV Series for Fall 2017

Marvel Television announced plans to bring the Inhumans to ABC as a television series in 2017 as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The story is confirmed to follow the mute hero Black Bolt and his royal family, but details on the cast and showrunner are yet to be announced. In a completely new release strategy for television, the first two episodes will be shown exclusively in IMAX theaters for two weeks at the beginning of September 2017. The series will then run weekly in the fall on ABC, with exclusive content that can only be seen on the network.

Originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Inhumans are primitive humans who were experimented on by the alien Kree race – who are already established in the MCU via appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – and given advanced intelligence. The Kree forgot about their creations and eventually they formed their own civilization in a walled city on an island in the Atlantic sea. They discovered a substance called “terrigen” that gave them superpowers or bizarre appearances, and based their entire culture around their use. The series follows Black Bolt, the king of the Inhumans whose voice is so powerful that he destroys cities when he speaks, and other members of his Royal Family.

Marvel initially announced an Inhumans film to be released in 2019, but after a delay it was taken off the release calendar entirely. The Inhuman race has been crucial in the plot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., though it is unknown if this series will connect to other Marvel television offerings. This will be Marvel’s third show on ABC, after the still running Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the cancelled Agent Carter, and joins Iron Fist, The Punisher, Cloak and Dagger and Runaways on Marvel’s announced upcoming TV slate.

Ranking the Best Marvel Cinematic Universe Films

Ranking the Best Marvel Cinematic Universe Films 2

This week, the folks at the Marvel movie factory are hoping that 13 is their lucky number with Captain America: Civil War. The massive blockbuster represents the culmination of 8 years and 13 movies worth of episodic storytelling that transformed summer movie season into a grand comic book movie experiment.

Read moreRanking the Best Marvel Cinematic Universe Films