Disney have honoured their founder’s vision of global domination today as they proudly took another long stride forwards in accomplishing that goal. The Disney corporation purchased 21st Century Fox for $52 billion, along with taking on another $13.7 billion of Fox’s debt.
It’s nice to know that multi-billion dollar global media corporations are even further into their overdraft than I am. This deal has been rumoured all over this week but it has finally come to fruition as of today, and now the whole world can shed a tear for this once great company…
Who are we kidding? 21st Century Fox have never been some bastion of quality programming. It has been their policy to keep on trotting out The Simpsons year after year, never building the courage to turn off Grandpa’s life support and put down Santa’s Little Helper with a well placed shotgun blast. They have been the stereotypical greedy multinational corporation and it seems only fitting that they have been gobbled up by a larger competitor.
Still, I think it’s hard not to be cynical of Disney’s steady march towards owning everything on Earth and soon I imagine that they will be forcing us all to tweet about how good Lion King 12 is lest we be sent to the Mickey Mouse Re-education centre. Joking aside, Disney are worryingly huge in entertainment right now. They own Marvel Studios, so by extension the biggest film franchise on the planet; they are planning on making their own streaming service, which many are saying will likely topple Netflix in the near future; and of course they are the biggest producers of children’s entertainment in the world, warping our minds the moment we first begin to question the world around us. It’s no wonder generations have become so infantilised that we still love Disney films well into adulthood. Yes you do, you can lie to me but not to yourself.
Let’s remove our tinfoil Mickey Mouse hats and figure out what this whole acquisition actually means. Well, Disney have acquired some pretty big franchises: X-Men, Alien, Predator, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Modern Family, The X-Files, Avatar, and the list goes on. With Disney’s huge coffers it may be quite likely that some of these properties will be rebooted or remade in the next decade. Additionally, these will all be franchises that can be added to Disney’s upcoming streaming service, which is likely the major intent behind the takeover. Disney have also acquired large stakes in UK’s Sky news service and its equivalent Star in India. The only real parts of Fox they have not taken over are Fox News and its many sports subsidiaries, which I am sure everyone is glad to know will survive.
Disney are showing themselves to be as adaptable and forward thinking as ever. They are doing better than most of Hollywood in understanding that streaming services are the future, and seem to have the ability and funding that will keep them on top of all future trends. Perhaps Fox have made the noble (and lucrative) move in backing out of this race when they have, rather than collapsing a few years down the line. Disney have endured accusations of plagiarism, sexism and antisemitism, yet are still trusted round the world to make wholesome family entertainment. They are smart and adaptable, and it makes me wonder if they will be taking over any other media companies in the next couple of years.
I suppose at least we may see the X-men finally be introduced into the main Marvel Universe, because overly confusing timeline shenanigans and continual retcons are exactly what the MCU needs, right?