Disney isn’t wasting any time when it comes to integrating Fox properties into its marketing following the $71.3 billion Disney-Fox merger that was finalized March 21. Major Fox properties “The Shape of Water,” “Deadpool,” “The Simpsons,” “Avatar,” and “Atlanta” have already been added to the official The Walt Disney Company banner on the company’s website. If Disney was going to prominently feature any Fox properties on its official banner, it makes sense it would do so with a recent Best Picture Oscar winner (“The Shape of Water”), a $2 billion franchise (“Avatar”), a record-breaking television series (“Simpsons”), and more.
With the Disney-Fox merger finalized, the Mouse House now owns film division 20th Century Fox and will distribute such tentpoles as James Cameron’s forthcoming “Avatar” sequels. The merger has given Disney control of blockbuster properties such as “Deadpool” and “X-Men,” in addition to their in-house mega-franchises “Star Wars” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Walt Disney Company banner puts newly-acquired major Fox properties opposite Disney-owned “Star Wars,” “Captain Marvel,” “Good Morning America,” and “Frozen” to make clear what a dominant force Disney is in the aftermath of the Fox acquisition.
While Disney has previously said it will not touch indie label Fox Searchlight (the company behind “The Shape of Water” and Oscar winner “The Favourite”), it has already axed one Fox imprint: Fox 2000. The news was announced the day after the merger. Fox 2000 was well known for producing mid-budget dramas for adults and specialized audiences, including “Hidden Figures,” “The Hate U Give,” “The Thin Red Line,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Walk the Line,” “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Joy,” and “Life of Pi.”
Major layoffs of Fox executives have also struck in the aftermath of the merger, including Fox 2000 head Elizabeth Gabler, president of worldwide marketing Pam Levine, domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson, and chief creative officer Tony Sella, among others. Sella was behind the production and release of over 400 Fox titles, including “Avatar.”
Next up for Disney is the release of Tim Burton’s “Dumbo” on March 29 and “Avengers: Endgame” on April 26.