Friday, December 15, 2017

Disney Buys Fox - What Does it Mean for the Parks?

© Disney

This week the Walt Disney Company announced that it is purchasing 21st Century Fox, commonly just known as a collective 'Fox', for $52.4 billion in Disney stock.  The massive purchase isn't the first time that the mouse has purchased another large company, with past buys including Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, ESPN, Lucasfilm and ABC, but it is one of its largest cost-wise.

By purchasing Fox, Disney is going to gain another round of media outlets, televisions networks, popular franchises and more.  There's a ton to pick through in a deal of this size, but since we focus on parks and rides here, I've been wondering mostly how it will affect Disney's network of parks and resorts.

First, the deal means that current Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger will stay on board until 2021, extending his contract by several years.  To some degree, that means that the parks will see stability in the overall picture of the company since the big leadership picture remains the same.

© Disney
Along with the deal comes new movie studios including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, known for films such as X-Men, Fantastic 4, Deadpool, Ice Age and Avatar.  Obviously one of those was already licensed for a Disney theme park, Avatar, and the main press release for the sale does point that out.  However, the idea of additional Avatar lands opening seems slim, at least in my opinion, and Ice Age, while popular, seems useless when the Pixar catalogue exists.

It does allow several Marvel characters to reconnect with that brand's other characters, already owned by Disney, which is a benefit as Disney continues to roll out attractions based on the Marvel universe.  Not sure we'll see a Deadpool ride any time soon, though.

It also gets them franchises like the Simpsons, American Horror Story, Empire and Modern Family.  The Simpsons already live in Universal Parks, which also now partners with Horror Story for Halloween, and most other shows listed make no sense for the parks at all.

And really... that's it that seems to even be worth noting with regard to the theme parks.  The purchase seems aimed more at connecting and distributing media content, such as Disney now owning 60% of Hulu and having more ways to get their content to consumers than ever before.