Yes you’ve heard all about Disney’’s recent efforts to buy Fox’s assets, as the very notion of this happening has led to speculation of how the characters from the Fantastic Four and the X-Men universes could be incorporated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well, the bidding is now over, but, for Disney, it wasn’t as easy as they’d hoped. Once the various Fox assets went on sale (let’s be clear here: we’re not talking about the entire corporate entity of Fox itself, but many of the assets that make up that entity) went for sale, Disney put forward a bid of about $52.4 Billion dollars. And that seemed to go so well for them. (Keep in mind, this is till a lot of money. Disney bought Lucasfilm back in 2012 for only $4 billion – in addition to giving founder George Lucas some lucrative stock options) but Disney has had to contend with another interested party, Comcast. A short bidding war started. Comcast offered 65 billion dollars. That bidding war has now ended with Disney raising its bid to whopping 71 billion. Universal backed out at that point but their actions forced Disney to not only play more than they ever intended, but, as some analysts say, more than these assets are worth.
The recent bit of news is that the shareholders of both companies have agreed to this final bid, and it’s all moving forward. That’s your story here. Done. We still won’t see Logan trading blows with the hulk anytime soon. It’s not that we won’t see it, but it will be a while, if at all.
What is important to note here is that Disney faces what may be up to a year for the various government agencies to approve the deal and give it the green light – lots i’s must be dotted and t’s must be crossed, and until that time, Fox is still very much it’s own company and no scripts are being written over at Marvel Studios until the deal is absolutely final. Just look at the recently appealed Time Warner/ AT & T, where the Justice Department has appealed the decision to allow it to happen, and the ending of that story (as well as the Disney Fox merger) might (or might not) be the foregone conclusion everyone expects.
Certainly there is more to this merger that Disney hopes to gain than just adding more characters to its already-too-crowded comic book movies. Indeed these assets could really be a great foundation of IP’s to use on its streaming service. Yet the questions always come back to the MCU, the most dominant force in entertainment right now. Could adding the Fantastic Four into (forgive the pun) Phase “four” of the MCU be just what is needed to save that property cinematically, or is Marvel’s first family not something that can really work cinematically (after all there have been four attempts to bring this property the screen if you include the 90’s unreleased Roger Corman version). How will the MCU be retooled to allow for the existence of mutants, and will important characters like Magneto and Logan still have the same resonance when placed against the context of actual history?
Stay tuned, because, to paraphrase Thanos, destiny will arrive.