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With the recent reports of Disney’s top brass rejecting requests to screen legacy titles from the 20th Century Fox catalog circulating around the internet, the reaction to this particular wrinkle in a post Disney/Fox merger world has been quite vocal. And adding his own feelings to that choir of disapproval is Baby Driver director and film aficionado Edgar Wright.
As the story has gotten a lot of high profile coverage in recent weeks, Edgar Wright shared the following thoughts through social media:
Edgar Wright’s upset attitude is totally in character, as he more than likely has heard that one of his favorite films, Phantom of the Paradise, has fallen under this very restrictive practice. Considering that film was an inspiration for aspects of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, that personal note probably adds a substantial sting to the fact that he and his fellow fans may never get to see the movie in theaters again.
Though the wider ramifications of this particular decision aren’t exactly fantastic, as even large scale events like specialty Fathom Events screenings of movies like Alien are now going to be a thing of the past. While Edgar Wright's remarks on Twitter are focused on the repertory screening angle, it’s just another sign of the supposed vaulting of 20th Century Fox in general.
As Disney is scaling back on 20th Century Fox projects in general, the brand is only going to shrink in its representation on the market. Even classic titles like Miracle on 34th Street are seeing themselves rolled into the Disney canon, as the recent press blitz for the Day One lineup for Disney+ saw the 1947 holiday gem rebranded as belonging to its new home studio. Which will at least take the sting out of that film’s eventual removal from theatrical screening circulation, and it sounds like that’ll happen after the current holiday season.
Like many other directors inspired by the communal cinematic experience, Edgar Wright is upset that a cultural monolith is locking up huge pieces of history in a singular vault. Much like Martin Scorsese lamenting the “invasion” of cinemas by Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wright is fearful that the classic movies the studio is restricting from theaters will similarly hurt the moviegoing experience.
There’s still a possibility that Disney’s policy on repertory screenings for Fox classics might change. And should that day come, Edgar Wright and his like-minded colleagues will undoubtedly rejoice. But for now, it looks like this issue is only just beginning to make the rounds in pop culture, leaving further developments of such opinions pretty much assured.