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All The Ways Disney Buying Fox Could Suck For Fans

With its purchase of $52.4 billion in Fox assets, Disney moved from one of the most powerful studios in Hollywood to arguably the most powerful. The house that Mickey built will gain major properties like the X-Men, Avatar, and The Simpsons, along with a deeper catalog that includes movies like AlienPredator, and fan fave Firefly.

The deal affects thousands of jobs and could have far-reaching repercussions for decades, but for a lot of genre fans it's exciting for basically one reason: Marvel Studios will now control the X-Men and Fantastic Four. That means two of Marvel's most storied franchises will finally be able to join its massively successful Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and yes, that could make for some positively awesome crossovers. We might finally get Wolverine on the Avengers or a Storm and Black Panther wedding. It also means the Fantastic Four might finally break through and be a success, which is welcome news to fans who have been burned for decades now.

That said, the deal isn't all great news for genre fans. In fact, there are quite a few reasons the deal could actually turn out to kind of suck for fans.

It almost certainly means less movies

Looking at the broader implications of the Disney-Fox deal, the most immediate fallout will likely turn out to be less movies overall. With Disney controlling the release calendar for both studios, the goal would obviously be to avoid competing with itself—which means bigger gaps on the schedule in order to not encroach on its releases. Normally, studios space out their releases to avoid stealing any potential box office thunder from their own feature films. In the past, you might see Disney and Fox release films relatively close together on the schedule in competition, but those days will almost certainly be over once the deal goes through. Factor in the fact that Fox typically releases more movies than Disney each year, and Fox's output could dip to match Disney's typical turnout.

Disney will almost certainly space out releases, especially its blockbuster genre fare, to give them all the maximum amount of time to shine. For fans who like to see a whole lot of movies on the big screen, that is likely bad news.

It could kill riskier movies

Disney is known for breaking box office records, from its blockbuster Marvel movies to its record-setting Star Wars releases to the hugely successful live action remakes of the studios deep bench of animated fare. Put simply: Disney doesn't typically make a movie unless the studio is relatively sure it will make a whole lot of money. The studio has made billions by playing it relatively safe in recent years. Marvel and Lucasfilm cost Disney billions but weren't considered big gambles—both were established, with internationally recognized intellectual properties through which Disney could start cranking out massive superhero and outer space epics. They've certainly been able to put butts in seats, and, for the most part, Disney knows how to make those movies really, really well.

On the other end of the spectrum, Fox is known for taking gambles on quirky projects that almost certainly wouldn't make it out of development at a studio with Disney's expectations. One of Fox's biggest critical hit this year is Guillermo del Toro's mid-budget, period-set mash-up The Shape of Water. The film focuses on a woman who falls in love with an amphibious creature that has been captured by the government. It is basically a monster movie love story filtered through del Toro's keen creature feature eye. It's not exactly the easiest sale in a board room, yet Fox rolled the dice just the same.

Looking to superhero fare, Fox has also been more willing to try riskier projects in recent years. The studio scored big with R-rated projects like Deadpool and Logan, and all those F-bombs and blood splatters would be a hard sell at a place like Disney. Fox is also prepping The New Mutants, an R-rated horror story set within the universe of the X-Men. Again, those are projects that would be tough for Marvel to pull the trigger on considering the expected lower box office take and more risqué content.

It could threaten the Deadpool franchise

Fox turned the foul-mouthed, B-list anti-hero Deadpool into a massively successful and profitable film franchise that has a sequel on the way with sky-high expectations. The film would've made a sailor blush, and with Disney almost certainly looking to capitalize on this prized IP, fans are waiting with bated breath to see what's next for Ryan Reynolds' take on the character following Deadpool 2. In the wake of the deal, Disney chief Bob Iger said the studio is open to possibly keeping the character R-rated in the future and even using Fox as an R-rated banner for more adult-oriented comic book fare. 

The F-bomb-dropping superhero might not fit the usual Disney brand, but the Mouse House isn't going to leave that much money on the table and kill a lucrative franchise in its prime. Looking long-term, Deadpool is a character that has a deep reach into the wider Marvel Comics universe, and it stands to reason the studio would want to eventually mirror that crossover appeal in the MCU. The Deadpool character fans know and love simply wouldn't mesh with the world of The Avengers as we know them. We'll obviously get the Deadpool film already in the pipeline, but it'll be interesting to see what Marvel does in the long-term. Regardless, this deal almost certainly puts the franchise in a more precarious position than it would've been without Disney in the mix.

The X-Men as we know them are likely no more

Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a glimmer in Kevin Feige's eye, Fox was kicking off the longest-running comic book movie franchise with the X-Men. It spawned an original trilogy, several Wolverine-focused spin-offs and a prequel trilogy set within the same continuity. Yet another mainline prequel film is already in the works via X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Fox has built a massive shared universe populated with A-list stars and some positively stellar stories over the years. Behind Marvel Studios, Fox's X-Men franchise is one of the most successful on the market.

The studio has also attracted stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Nicholas Hoult to headline the current run of films. Obviously, it stands to reason Fox might've chosen to eventually reboot that universe on its own at some point (it has been around for nearly 20 years now), but with so much continuity already established, Marvel will have few options outside of a full-fledged reboot to successfully mesh the world of the X-Men into the MCU. We've already seen Marvel do it once by rebooting Spider-Man with Tom Holland in the role when he was added to the MCU. A lot of fans are obviously pumped to see the X-Men kicking it with The Avengers, but it will likely mean the end of the X-Men as we've known them for decades.

You lose diversity in creative approach

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has made Disney a ton of cash over the years, but the studio has refined its approach down to a fine art that fits everything from Guardians of the Galaxy to Iron Man under one tonal banner. It's typically big, typically bright, and typically PG-13. Marvel has been successful in blending the comic book franchise with other sub-genres, such as heist stories (Ant-Man), political thrillers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and space adventures (Guardians of the Galaxy). But it all still has that Marvel Studios vibe. Things are a bit faster and looser at Fox. The studio has shown a willingness to mix it up with different styles, from the samurai tale of The Wolverine to a dark and stripped down story like Logan or a hard-R action-comedy like Deadpool. More than anything, it's simply different—it's not the MCU. It has a different feel, a different tone, and a different creative approach. It's also not beholden to the wider events of a shared universe like the MCU. They tell their own stories without having to acknowledge a pending Thanos attack or the fact that Thor and Iron Man are zipping around the globe.

It puts that X-23 spinoff, and X-Force, in jeopardy

The film Logan might have technically been about Wolverine, but there's no doubt young costar Dafne Keen positively stole the show as his young clone Laura, aka X-23. The character is a staple of the Marvel Comics universe, and Keen did an amazing job of bringing her to the big screen. The film ended with the perfect setup for a spin-off film focused on Laura, and director James Mangold is actually working on a treatment for what that project might look like. There's been no update on the project in the wake of the Disney-Fox deal, but there's no doubt the purchase will almost certainly have an impact on the project. 

Fox already has several X-Men films in the pipeline (X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Deadpool 2, and The New Mutants), all scheduled for release over the next year and far enough along they shouldn't be affected. The studio also has several X-Men projects in the development or scripting stage (X-Force, Gambit, Multiple Man) that would likely fall under Disney's purview once the deal is done. Depending on the strategy Disney takes with the Marvel properties it's acquiring, that could derail the longer vision for what Fox might've had in mind—meaning X-23 and X-Force could be on the chopping block or, at least, heavily retooled.

It could mean higher ticket prices

Disney knew it had a hit on its hands with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, so the studio used that leverage to put strict conditions on theaters that wanted to play the blockbuster sequel. The studio pushed demands like an extended run on a theater's biggest screen and a larger take on box office receipts. If Disney swallows up Fox, it would make it by far one of the most powerful studios—and it'd have more than enough clout to push those types of restrictions on more and more releases. If Disney continues to squeeze theater chains for a bigger cut of the profits, those expenses would almost certainly trickle down to the consumer at some point. Ticket prices are already skyrocketing, and giving one powerful studio even more leverage to push those changes would almost certainly do more damage than good when it comes to your wallet.

It's bad for competition

Disney has been the most successful film studio the past two years running, and adding Fox's assets will almost certainly assert that dominance even more. Disney typically makes movies that people like, which is obviously a good thing, and explains why the studio has managed to become so successful in recent years, but acquiring Fox would make Disney one of the most powerful entities in media, commanding a massive kingdom of properties and services. Competition has always bred creativity and ingenuity, but how much competition can there be when Disney becomes such a massive and powerful studio? This deal would give one studio control over Star Wars movies, The Avengers, the X-Men, the Alien and Predator franchises, Avatar, the Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Futurama, and a whole lot more. That's a whole lot of power and a whole lot of pressure.

It could hurt the Fox TV network

There are a whole lot of things included in the Disney-Fox deal, but one piece of the puzzle that isn't on the list is the Fox broadcasting network (home to The Simpsons, The X-Files, Gotham, and Empire). FCC rules do not allow one company to own two major broadcast networks, and Disney already has ABC under its umbrella, so Fox is basically left an orphan in this agreement. Once the deal closes, Fox will be a network all its own, with no studio tie-in, since Disney will have acquired those assets. That could potentially be a boon or a death knell for the Fox network. It gives the network the freedom to conceivably pick up whatever shows it wants, but it doesn't have the synergy and cost benefit of picking up in-house productions (i.e., Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC). That means Fox will be working without a safety net, and it won't have the direct access to make a play for hit projects (e.g., if Disney has developed a series in which it has a great deal of confidence, one it expects to be a big hit, it'll likely look for that project to land at its own network, ABC, as opposed to an outside network). It's still far too early to say how this will change the Fox network, but it will almost certainly have an impact.