Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets, which has been greenlit by the U.S. Department of Justice under certain minor conditions last week, will dramatically change the balance of power in the movie industry. For decades Hollywood has been ruled by six major film studios, including Disney and 20th Century Fox.
The deal, that was originally announced in December, will unite two major studios with an impressive list of movie franchises under one roof. If the deal is finalized, Disney, which already owns the rights to the Star Wars franchise, all Pixar movies and Marvel’s Cinematic Universe will be adding Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool to its impressive portfolio of guaranteed blockbusters. Notorious for driving hard bargains, Disney’s negotiating power will be further strengthened by the deal, a prospect that owners of movie theaters will not be too thrilled about.
After the acquisition of 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight, Disney will stand head and shoulders above the remaining four of the former ‘Big 6’. With a combined domestic box office market share of nearly 28 percent (29 percent if you include Fox Searchlight) since 1995, Disney including 20th Century Fox will be larger than its closest competitors, Warner Bros. and Sony, combined. Considering the prospect of having to compete with such a giant in the future, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Comcast, owner of Universal Pictures, made a counterbid to acquire 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets itself.