Back in early November we heard the first rumblings that Disney was interested in purchasing certain parts of the Fox empire, namely film division 20th Century Fox. After the initial news reports came out, it was revealed that the talks had fallen through and that the acquisition wouldn’t happen. Well . . . looks like they’re back on again.
According to Variety Walt Disney and Fox are in talks again to determine which of their assets Disney would be interested in purchasing. With Disney already owning Marvel, the obvious benefit of Disney purchasing 20th Century Fox is that it may lead to them getting the rights back for X-Men, Fantastic Four, and other Marvel properties currently owned by Fox. And, yeah, that’s huge. But what would this purchase mean for horror fans?
Well, 20th Century Fox is also the production company for two big horror franchises: “Alien” and “Predator.” And on the TV side of things, let us not forget that “The X-Files” is also owned by Fox. Now, whether or not these properties would be included in a sale to Disney remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t be too shocking to see Disney acquire them. After all, if there’s one thing that the House of Mouse loves above all else it’s money and two popular sci-fi horror franchises would be a welcome addition to their bankroll.
So should we start freaking out that Disney is going to make “Alien” and “Predator” kid friendly? No, not at all. In fact, while Disney is known for its cartoons and family films, it has several divisions of film studios responsible for various styles of films. Under their umbrella they have Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilms, and then there’s Touchstone Pictures. In the past they’ve owned Miramax and Dimension films. So they’re no stranger to having divisions under them that produce “R” rated or adult content films. I wouldn’t expect the status quo of “Alien” or “Predator” to change if Disney should acquire them. In fact, Disney has shown that for the most part they know better than to meddle in something when it’s working, but are willing to step in when it’s clearly not. So that’s actually a better sign for something like “Alien” which has had some pretty questionable releases as of late.
Really, the only thing about this whole thing that concerns me is the idea of Disney owning so much. 20th Century Fox is a fairly substantial studio and to see them fall under the Disney umbrella is a rather big deal. As much as I’d love to see the X-men and Fantastic Four team-up with the rest of the Marvel universe, it’s a bit disappointing to see less competition out there driving the genres forward. I mean, would we have gotten films like “Logan” and “Deadpool” if Disney had originally owned those characters? Maybe not. This is the kind of purchase that can the landscape of a medium, so I’ll be curious to see what comes next.