Most people know that the upcoming Disney/Fox merger will have a big impact on future movies, but many do not seem to realize how industry-changing this move could be. Case in point: if the deal goes through as currently planned, Disney will own approximately 40 percent of the box office for 2018.
These numbers come from CNN Money, which adds that this is an estimate; as of now, the number would be even higher, at about 50 percent. Last year, it would have been 35 percent.
Traditionally, the power of the six major studios has been more evenly distributed, though that has already been changing in recent years; for example, while five of them had a double-digit percent of the box office share in 2010, last year only four did. If the merger went through, only TimeWarner (owner of Warner Bros.) and NBC/Universal would be able to make that claim along with Disney, getting 16 percent and 15 percent, respectively, over a five-year period.
According to the Disney/Fox deal, which has recently been approved by the Department of Justice, the Mouse House will acquire nearly all of 21 Century Fox’s properties, with the exceptions of its news and sports divisions, as well as the actual Fox network. This will give Disney control of everything from Avatar and its upcoming sequels to the TV show Family Guy.
Granted, many fans want Fox’s X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises to be folded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but some worry that this deal could ultimately be a net loss for creativity; this will be the de facto elimination of one of the major studios, after all. On the other hand, the changing landscape could result in smaller studios banding together and pooling their talents, which has been done in the past with interesting results.
Another effect that this could have is on Disney’s ability to negotiate with theaters. As it stands, it managed to claim 65 percent of ticket sales for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in contrast to the usual 40 percent to 55 percent that studios get for most films; they also ordained that the film be played for at least four weeks in cinemas’ main auditorium. By controlling even more of the market, they could gain even more power over theaters and by extension what audiences can watch.