It’s not often you hear of a huge company acquiring one of similar stature. It’s even less often that you hear this kind of news in the film world. But nonetheless, this could soon be a reality according to the recent news of The Walt Disney Company beginning negotiations with 21st Century Fox in order to buy Fox’s movie studio, 20th Century Fox. The negotiations also included talks of Disney acquiring other aspects of the Fox Entertainment Group, mainly relating to television.

It’s important to note what would not be included in the deal. Disney does not intend to purchase any aspect of Fox relating to sports, news, or any other sort of broadcast television. Disney already owns and operates various companies relating to these branches of media, and by operating multiple organizations of the same market, Disney could face legal trouble brought on by antitrust laws, which limit how much power a single company can have in one market.

So why would Disney actually want to take over Fox’s film division? Many have been quick to note that buy purchasing 20th Century Fox, Disney would gain the rights to many Marvel characters, namely the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, which they could then include in their Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, this would seem to be more a bonus rather than a reason for making the deal. Disney’s Marvel movies have enjoyed great success without the Fox characters, with their 17 films released thus far making a total of over $13 billion. Realistically, Disney does not need the Marvel characters in Fox’s possession to be successful, but the idea is certainly one appealing to fans.

This could even just be a move by Disney to increase its overall physical presence in the filmmaking industry. By acquiring Fox’s film and television branches, Disney would gain control over a significant number of studios and production houses. This again seems unlikely to be the main reason for negotiating the deal. Disney is already so large, and has found great success at its size. While expanding would certainly grow the company, Disney would also have to spend considerable amounts of time and money operating said studios and production houses.

It would seem that this move by Disney could be mainly to support its endeavour into the streaming world. Earlier this year, Disney announced its plans to create its own Netflix-like streaming service. One concern upon the announcement was the amount of content Disney would have for this streaming service. Disney certainly owns an extensive catalog of beloved films, from the Pixar movies to the Star Wars films, and many television series from channels such as Freeform and Disney Channel. However, with the wide range of streaming services already available, Disney would likely need even more content to draw in customers.

By purchasing Fox’s media companies, Disney would be able to add decades of content to their streaming service, which would certainly help to get consumers on board. Fox also has many films and television programs that are targeted at very different audiences than those of Disney, which would certainly help the streaming service to increase its reach.

Perhaps Disney could even use some of the Fox studios to focus solely on the production of content exclusive to the streaming service. Original content continues to be one of the most important factors in a streaming service’s success, and has become a focus for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and many other competitors in the streaming market. While most of the content on Disney’s service would likely be classified as original Disney content, Disney might want to have content that is completely exclusive to their service.

The potential acquisition has been quite polarizing. While some celebrate the prospect of the Marvel characters being reunited, or Disney growing its streaming service, many are worried by the idea of Disney completely dominating the market.

It will be interesting to see how the deal pans out- discussions have stopped, for now, so it could be that this deal never happens, which is definitely a very possible outcome. But even the idea that one of the Big Six film studios could be buying out another member of the Big Six is fascinating.

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