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Disney Has Axed a Number of Upcoming Fox Films in the Wake of Their Merger


Mickey Mouse celebrating his ultimate control

When Disney closed its $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox assets on March 20, it was expected that, in addition to the gaining of so many properties like the X-Men franchise and Deadpool, it would also mean that there would be something lost in the process, and that has come on the employee and creative side of things. We’ve already seen a massive loss of jobs, but now things are also being cut on the creative end.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, after the merger was official, film studio chief Alan Horn discarded a number of Fox projects from his development and preproduction slate, “including the $170 million tentpole Mouse Guard, the Tom Hanks starrer News of the World (to Universal) and an adaptation of Angie Thomas’ best-seller On the Come Up (to Paramount).”

The latter is especially disappointing because, despite my own mixed feelings on The Hate U Give, it was good to see a movie with a pro-Black Lives Matter stance made from a YA book, and Angie Thomas’ second novel, On the Come Up, has even more potential. Sadly, “a source says Thomas’ last project, The Hate U Give, lost $30 million to $40 million despite a modest $23 million budget and a marketing spend believed to be about $30 million.”

Despite that, there are a still a number of movies greenlit by Fox film president Emma Watts, who made the transition to Disney, that are still moving forward. Those include “the Matthew Vaughn-directed Kingsman prequel The Great Game, the low-budget witchcraft pic Fear Street and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.” It makes sense why those would be the ones they picked. Kingsman has been a pretty solid franchise for them, a low-budget horror film can mean big gains with little effort, and people will absolutely see West Side Story just because it’s Spielberg’s first musical.

Also on the come-up are: Free Guy, a Shawn Levy/Ryan Reynolds joint, Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, and (sigh) Avatar 2, which apparently finished shooting last Thursday.

Still, those green lights are being met with scrutiny, and according to THR, one source says that Horn is questioning young characters smoking onscreen in West Side Story. I mean, considering the movie ends with a murder and then offscreen suicide, I don’t think that’s the biggest problem y’all will have. The movie is about two rival gangs, Disney.

“‘With Fox, we can make movies that right now I say no to. … We always have to think about the smoking policy. The audience for a Disney movie may not know what they are going to see, but they know what they aren’t going to see,’ the exec said in a recent interview with THR. ‘There are certain things we just can’t include because we’ll get letters.'”

Watts’ group is being tasked with making larger all-audience PG-13 and R-rated films, including a domestic terrorism thriller The Ballad of Richard Jewell, about the security guard at the center of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing with Clint Eastwood being looked at to direct. I’m sure there won’t be any letters about that …

“We are now just only beginning to see how all this consolidation will change how movies get greenlit and made,” says a producer involved with a Fox-developed movie. “They are looking at everything.”

The mouse sees all.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Walt Disney Studios.)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.