The deal that has been discussed for weeks has finally gone through. Walt Disney will acquire large chunks of 21st Century Fox's assets, including the long-time studio's film library, for a whopping $52.4 billion dollars in stocks.
The deal is expected to reshape the global media landscape in a number of different ways that truly will not be able to be processed until all of the dust has settled. But it's a move made by Disney seemingly to compete with the changing appetites of media consumers. Disney, as reported by the L.A. Times, will add Fox's movie and television studios to its roster, as well as 22 regional sports channels, two major cable TV brands in FX and National Geographic, as well as Fox's sprawling network of international media operations.
There are assets that Disney does not get in this landmark deal. As is clarified by the L.A. Times, the Mouse House is not able to acquire Fox News, the Fox broadcast network, its television stations or Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. These holdings will be branched out by Rupert Murdoch into a separate company that will operate independently of the Disney deal. In addition, Murdoch's various newspapers -- including the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Times of London and a handful of Australian properties -- will be contained in a second company, News Corp. This is an effort to avoid a monopoly with Disney owning ABC, and therefor unable to own Fox, as well.
There are two sides of this discussion, both of which have been playing out as the deal neared finalization. For some, the removal of an independent movie studio such as Fox comes across as a major loss, the depletion of a massive movie- and television-making company that immediately shifts the balance of power in Hollywood. From the outside, Fox looked fairly strong and competitive in what's always been a cut-throat market, resting on a few key franchises (the X-Men series, the upcoming Avatar films) at a time when rival studios are struggling to find viable franchises in which to invest.
And yet, as the dust continues to settle on this massive deal, we will begin to see the strategic ways that the acquisition of Fox and its assets can benefit Disney in the long run, whether it be in the development of movie- and TV-related content in the company's theme parks (the Avatar exhibit already is set up in Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida), or in the development of the streaming service that Disney wants to build to compete with Netflix.
This is a far-reaching deal that will continue to send shockwaves throughout the media and entertainment community in the weeks and months to follow. Yes, it might mean that eventually we get to see the X-Men or the Fantastic Four in the MCU. But that's a small sliver of the ramifications that will come out of this deal, and that will affect every aspect of your media consumption for the foreseeable future.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.