Well, it’s official. 21st Century Fox has announced the completion of the Disney merger, which gives the House of Mouse access to the company’s main entertainment assets. These include Fox’s television and movie studio, cable television channels, stake in Hulu, and some of the company’s global television operations. The deal was estimated to have cost Disney a whopping $71.3 billion, but world domination doesn’t come cheap.
Understandably, fans are excited for all the great content this acquisition will produce. With Disney now owning the rights to Fox’s superhero properties, the likelihood of the Fantastic Four and X-Men finally joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe is strong. Disney is also interested in continuing some of Fox’s big hitters, so expect more Avatar, Deadpool, and Alien movies as well. Essentially, Disney’s box office dominance will increase and then some.
The acquisition of Fox will also bolster Disney’s television output. Fox’s television division is one of the most successful in the business, and Disney will be after a piece of that action. With Disney set to become a streaming juggernaut, we’ll likely see a host of excellent brand-new original series that will make subscribing to Disney+ and Hulu worth the monthly fees. As the streaming wars heat up, Disney is in a healthy position.
Of course, it’s easy to focus on potentially awesome content and get excited about it. Sometimes we overlook the countless people who work tirelessly to help bring that content to life. According to The Hollywood Reporter, at least 4,000 people are set to lose their jobs as a result of this merger. International Business Times, however, reported that the number will be closer to 10,000. Either way, it’s still too many and those are the people our thoughts should be with right now.
Furthermore, theater chains have also expressed concerns about the merger. As noted by Deadline, Disney is known for demanding a higher percentage of tickets sold for their tentpole offerings. When Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released, the company claimed 65 percent of the profits as opposed to the standard 55 percent. Given that the acquisition means Disney now owns the rights to more tentpole franchises, they will hold more authority over multiplexes.
The effect this will have on the people who work hard so we can watch these movies and shows cannot be understated. However, this merger could be detrimental to the entire industry. The amount of power and influence Disney will wield as a result could be viewed as a drive to eliminate their competition completely.
American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka has been very critical of the merger, claiming that it will “give the combined company control of critical video programming that can be bundled together to harm consumers in local and national markets.” Some have even called for federal investigations to prevent the deal from going through. The consensus is that the deal will limit the content that some companies will be able to offer their customers.
Finally, what if this eventually hurts the average consumer? Who’s to say that Disney won’t use this as an opportunity to rip us off down the line? By eliminating their competition and making us reliant on their streaming service, they could potentially hike prices up. At the end of the day, more competitors mean cheaper products for consumers. If Disney is one of the only good options around, they will have more control over us little people.
Disney’s growing monopolization of the entertainment industry has already caused more harm than good. In addition to the harmful reasons we’ve already discussed, a single conglomerate having so much sway also potentially decreases the variety of entertainment that will be available to us. Fox succumbing to Disney’s vast wealth means we’ve lost a powerhouse studio with its own identity and enough resources to compete with the best of them. Don’t be surprised if Alien becomes Disneyfied.
Fortunately for Disney, the content they produce will overshadow the ill effects. The world will move on and we’ll subscribe to Disney+ and attend multiplexes opening night to see the Avengers meet the Fantastic Four. When those days come, though, let’s not forget about all the people who experienced nightmares to make these dream projects a reality. Then pray that no other media powerhouse falls victim to Disney’s checkbook and more people suffer as a result.