Nerd Talk: All hail our mouse overlord

Megan Roth’s bi-weekly column on pop culture and all things nerdy

Following in the shows of Attila the Hun, Alexander the Great and Napoleon another great empire is being created. Soon we will be bowing down to the All Mighty Mouse, as Disney’s already incredible empire expands.

On Dec. 14 it was announced Disney will be purchasing a controlling interest in Twentieth Century Fox. The deal includes film businesses Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000 along with part of the television side of the business including Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21.

The merger, which isn’t final and we probably won’t see the effects for another year or two, incorporates even more under the House of Mouse’s already massive tentpole.

Some fans will be happy to know the deal includes returning the movie rights of Marvel characters, such as the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool back to the Marvel/Disney powerhouse. Also included in the deal is Fox’s possibly only other successful venture on the silver screen in the past decade, Avatar.

While it is great to know there is a possibility of seeing some favourites on screen alongside the Avengers, it raises a good many questions.

For instance; Fox just found a great niche with R-rated superhero movies. No one else has been able to capture these movies in a R-rating before. I’m even including the rather terrible 2009 flop, Watchmen.

The success of Deadpool and Logan shows us the public wants superhero movies that aren’t meant for children. They want movies that are edgy, funny, dark without being touched by Zack Snyder, and touching while also bringing in parts of the character that would otherwise be left on the cutting room floor because it doesn’t “fit” with the Disney brand.

Disney seems excited at the prospect of reuniting all the Marvel character under the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Bob Iger – Chairman & CEO – saying, “We’re also looking forward to expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe to include X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool.”

“Basically Fox — 20th Century Fox Studios — has some interesting tentpole opportunities, we obviously are going to continue to support that,” Iger told stakeholders. “Not all of it will be branded anything other than what it’s branded today, as a for instance. How much we will create under that banner, we’re still uncertain.“

Next year’s slate of superhero movies from Fox will be released as planned, all of which are not what one would think of when a Disney superhero movie comes to mind. Deadpan – which again, I’m going to tell you, is not a child’s movie – The New Mutants, which is a psychological horror movie, and X-Men: The Dark Phoenix, which will hopefully be nothing like X-Men: The Last Stand.

Once we get into 2019 and beyond the look of the favourites become hazy at best, with Iger himself saying “we’ll take stock and really look carefully at what their slate looks like going forward and how many movies it would make sense to make.”

Why did Disney go through so much trouble to buy out Fox? It’s not like the corporate giant is really hurting for stories, films or even television shows. But the same thing could be said for the buyout of Lucasfilm, or Marvel or even going back to ABC back in the mid 1990s.

Disney buys up the competition, so there isn’t any, or well less.

While movies will still likely be released under the banner of Twentieth Century Fox, Disney will still be taking home the dough. And this has been in the works for a while. Earlier this year Disney opened a new attraction in Disney World called Pandora – The World of Avatar where the company worked extensively with James Cameron to create the new attraction. Now Disney owns Avatar, interesting.

Let’s not forget Disney’s plan to create its own streaming service for sometime in 2019. Before the Fox buyout, Disney was already taking a lot of business away from Netflix. Now with the new merger, a Disney Streaming service will offer a whole lot more than kids cartoons and Marvel movies.

Add to it’s already impressive roster T.V. juggernauts such as The Simpson’s and Modern Family, well Disney’s already unstoppable force has only picked up speed.

It won’t be long until Disney takes over. I don’t think it will be so ominous as having a giant mouse standing over everyone shouting at them to make him money.

But, with this buyout, Disney has very little opposition in the world of entertainment, a world it already sat on high as king. Where will the company look to next?

I, for one, welcome our new mouse overlord.

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