Could the Fantastic Four and X-Men soon join the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
According to CNBC sources, the Walt Disney Company has been holding talks to purchase some of 21st Century Fox — the film studio that still retains rights to those Marvel characters.
The talks have taken place over the last few weeks and there is no certainty they will lead to a deal. The two sides are not currently talking at this very moment, but given the on again, off again nature of the talks, they could be revisited.
For Fox, the willingness to engage in sale talks with Disney stems from a growing belief among its senior management that scale in media is of immediate importance and there is not a path to gain that scale in entertainment through acquisition. The company is said to believe that a more tightly focused group of properties around news and sports could compete more effectively in the current marketplace.
Fox is still producing films of varying quality based on the Fantastic Four and the X-Men characters… much to the consternation of Marvel fans, many of which would love to see all of the classic Marvel Comics characters finally be reunited under the Marvel Studios banner. The deals with Fox were signed long before Disney bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009.
According to the sources, Disney would not buy all of Fox and the goal would be to form a much stronger traditional Hollywood studio in an era of fierce competition from internet companies like Netflix and Hulu.
The company could not own two broadcast networks and would therefore not buy the Fox broadcast network. It would not buy Fox’s sports programming assets in the belief that combining them with ESPN could be seen as anti-competitive from an antitrust standpoint and it would not buy the Fox News or Business channel. Disney would also not purchase Fox’s local broadcasting affiliates, according to people familiar with the negotiations. In addition to the movie studio, TV production and international assets such as Star and Sky, Disney would also add entertainment networks such as FX and National Geographic.
Again, there’s nothing but speculation. But the idea of finally being able to see all of the Marvel Universe to gather under one umbrella is pretty exciting. It’s also a little frightening, as Disney-Fox would essentially create one Mega Hollywood studio conglomerate, which could make the modern movie going experience even more homogeneous than it already is.
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