We knew that once Disney took full ownership of Fox, things would change, but until it actually happened, we had no idea what that change would really look like.Yesterday, on the Walt Disney Company's quarterly earning call, CEO Bob Iger spoke a lot about Fox, as this was the first call since the merger was complete.
One of the things Iger said on the call was that he expected Fox to produce five to six films a year once the current slate of inherited movies is complete, which, if true, would be about half the number of movies the studio had been producing in recent years.
20th century Fox released 12 movies in 2018 and 14 in 2017, and that doesn't include Fox Searchlight and the other divisions of the company that Disney now owns. Clearly the new Fox is planned to be a much leaner and meaner company.
This isn't all that surprising. 20th Century Fox was a full production studio like Disney, and now its owned by Disney. For Fox to continue to output 12 movies a year would mean doubling the total output of Disney as a whole.
Disney only released 10 movies in 2018 and released all of 8 films in 2017. However, it led the box office both of those years. The Disney focus has clearly been about making fewer films that bring in more money and this strategy is sure to be used when approaching Fox movies. Maybe they'll only make six movies, but if the studio can bring in the same amount of money with fewer films, so much the better for the bottom line.
There are a couple of potential caveats to this. First off, while Iger says five or six movies is likely, he's leaving the door open for more, saying...
I'm guessing that it'll be somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 or 6 films a year. But we're not locking ourselves into that, from that end.
The other thing to keep in mind is Disney+. Bob Iger also said during the call that projects from the Fox library that would be unlikely to see movies released theatrically would probably end up on the forthcoming streaming service. It seems that some of Fox's resources will be focused on Disney+, so while we might see fewer theatrical films from Fox we could see several online.
Clearly, Fox will not be the studio it once was again. It will be yet another label underneath the Walt Disney Company, and so, like Pixar or Marvel Studios, it will be working on a limited number of projects at any one time.
This isn't unexpected but it is upsetting. One of the unfortunate side effects of the purchase, in addition to there simply being fewer big studios, is that now there will likely be fewer theatrical releases overall. That just not a positive thing if you're a fan of movies or the industry as a whole.
For has seven projects planned for 2019 and nine set for 2020. After that, the only confirmed films are the animated Nimona and the multiple sequels to Avatar.