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Walt Disney Studios is officially buying 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets for an approximate $52.4 billion in stock, giving Disney a massive share of the entire film industry. Considering that two major film studios haven’t merged in decades, the question on everyone’s lips is how does this deal shift the filmmaking industry’s landscape?

  The corporate giants finalized and announced the deal on Thursday, which will grant the Mouse House access to a vast library of content, including franchises such as Alien, Avatar, Kingsman, The Simpsons, Planet of the Apes, and of course, the X-Men and Fantastic Four.

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Twentieth Century Fox is a studio known for taking risks, and those risks can pay off big-time. They’ve produced and distributed some of the highest-grossing films of all-time – George Lucas’ Star Wars and James Cameron’s Avatar and Titanic – while also leaving room for smaller productions. Through Fox Searchlight, the studio is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Oscars – in recent years they released Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years a Slave, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, and The Martian – and Disney sees the potential in getting back into the awards race in which they’ve been sorely lacking in over the years. After all, Fox recently received 27 nominations for the 2018 Golden Globes, whereas Disney received only 2 (both for Coco).

Together, Walt Disney Studios (including Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, and Pixar Animation, among others) and Fox Entertainment Group (including 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Fox 2000, among others) will make up approximately 27 percent of the entire film industry. The number is made up of both studios’ average market shares going back to 1995. But now that Hollywood’s Big Six has been reduced to just five, that number stands out even more and is significantly higher than the nearest competition.

Based off the same formula going back to 1995, Warner Bros. Pictures (New Line Cinema and DC Films) retains 15.36 percent market share; Sony Pictures (Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, Tri-Star) with 12.22 percent; Universal Pictures (DreamWorks, Focus Features) with 11.49 percent; and Paramount Pictures (Nickelodeon, Paramount Animation) with 10.89 percent. The rest of the industry is comprised of mini-majors and independent studios. What’s interesting is that the last time a major film studio acquired another major was in 1982 when Kirk Kerkorian purchased United Artists and subsequently merged it with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer – and their combined market share wasn’t nearly as close as the Disney/Fox merger.

While some fans are excited about Marvel Studios’ potential with the X-Men and Fantastic Four, the deal may have significant consequences for creativity and film distribution. After all, Disney did just recently try to strong-arm smaller theater chains across the United States with their absurd distribution agreements for Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens when/if the deal goes through.

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