Disney is buying 20th Century Fox today for $52 billion. They get the movie and TV studio but not Fox News or Sports, or the 20th lot at Pico and Motor in Century City.
Rupert Murdoch unloads the part of his business that he never had any feel for, and begins downsizing his empire. He holds on to the press control he so relishes. But he’s off the red carpet.
What Disney gets is a lot for that $52 billion. Already a powerhouse with their own animation, Marvel, Pixar, and LucasFilm, now Disney obtains something out of its reach for a long time: serious movies for adults.
In “big” Fox it gets Stacey Snider, who’s a great studio head, along with Steven Spielberg’s movie “The Post” with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. Disney could wind up with this year’s Oscar winner.
But they could also have the Oscar winner with one of the films from Fox Searchlight, the part of Fox that makes and distributes consistently good movies. Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula have done a masterful job. This year they have “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” in the Oscar race, each heading for Best Picture nominations.
Disney has long coveted some way of making those kinds of quality movies with live people in them and no comic book characters, etc. They had Miramax years ago but let it leave in 2004. Now they will be players in a nice new arena.
And of course, Wolverine and the X Men will be reunited with Marvel.
There’s a lot more synergy, and certainly the whole streaming issue will now be to their advantage with the Fox libraries of movie and TV shows.
As far as the Fox lot goes, who knows what the Murdochs will do with it? They’re sitting on a ton of movie sets and memorabilia. It’s not clear whether all of that will move to Burbank. Maybe Rupert will convert the lot back into a residential neighborhood. It’s the end of an era, to be sure.