So I understand that this post may irk people the wrong way. I get that so many people believe that the Disney/Fox merger, which was finalized in July of this year, is kind of a big deal.
This deal went down in a hotel (as so many of them do) in Manhattan where Disney purchased assets from Fox at the tune of $71.3 billion dollars. That’s billion with a capital fucking “B”. So the deal was hashed out to include a thirty five billion dollar cash pay out upfront, as well as a distribution of three hundred and forty three million shares in Disney to Fox shareholders. While this deal is far from over, as several foreign governments (and the European Union) have yet to approve the deal, the Department of Justice has approved the deal…mostly.
American antitrust workers have approved the deal, barring that Disney can sell off the twenty two regional sports networks (valued at twenty billion!) that are currently owned by Fox. Seeing as how Disney owns ESPN, from what I understand, this could give Disney something verging on a monopoly in the realm of cable sports.
But why is this deal happening in the first place? Why would Disney even need assets from Fox? Well, if you spend any amount of your day surfing the internet, you could be lead to believe that this whole thing is about Disney and Marvel Studios finally(!) acquiring both of the X-Men and Fantastic Four film rights. To a certain extent, I can’t blame you for having that belief. The internet is covered wall to wall in articles and video proudly explaining how Disney reacquired the film rights to properties that they sold in the nineties to keep from going broke. You’ll see countless write ups from fans and bloggers talking about how Wolverine could seamlessly be integrated into the fabled and holy Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or how John Krasinski HAS to be cast as Reed Richards from the Fantastic Four.
That’s all well and good and a great sentiment, but it’s ultimately not true.
Disney brought assets from Fox for a massive and utterly stupid amount of money to compete with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.
Disney is throwing it’s own hat in the streaming ring next year with its very own streaming service. Disney, contrary to popular belief, is not stupid. They can see that the landscape is changing as more and more people are opting out of cable and going to the movie theater in favor of digital downloads and binge-watching their favorite shows. Honestly, the only reason I have Netflix at all is for watching Daredevil and Friends, and most of my kids’ favorite shows are streaming on Hulu (which Disney will own thirty percent of btw). But if/when this deal is finally all said and done sometime in the year 2019, Disney should be commended for how much of a gamble this whole deal actually is.
Whatever Disney’s streaming service will be, look like, or even called is a huge mystery that represents Disney, for the first time in a long time, being the underdog. There is no guarantee that this will work out in their favor. At the end of the day, the ones that really matter, the customer (us), will be asked/required to pay another subscription fee to watch and enjoy our favorite films and tv shows. This is about more than weather or not Deadpool will be PG-13, or if the Thing is going to show up in another crappy Thor film (I’m still upset over Thor 3), this is about Disney going head to head with the likes of Amazon, Apple and Reed Hastings (the owner of Netflix). None of whom are going to go down without a fight.
Disney may be looking to once again dominate the competition, but this is one fight that they may not win. Even with the added assets (assuming of course this deal actually goes through) of Alien, Planet of the Apes and more, there is virtually no guarantee that they can do more than carve out a piece of the audience for themselves. Because it really doesn’t matter what shows and films are soon to be held by the house that the mouse built, what matters is us. We’re in control of whether or not this all works and I think we all need to appreciate the risks that Disney is willing to take for a streaming service that may not work out for them. Regardless of the money spent, the next couple of years are going to be very interesting to say the least.
But, yeah, I sure do hope we see Captain America punch out Galactus one day.