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Well, Disney Now Owns Fox – And Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again

That headline is seriously not hyperbolic. Welcome to a new world for Hollywood.



Damn you Simpsons, and your exact knowledge of our apocalyptic

So that did, indeed, just happen.

After a month of hush-hush talk, rumor, and finally anticipation for a near done deal, Disney did something no one thought possible last year — they have purchased the entertainment assets of 20th Century Fox, for the most expensive accusation in company–and Hollywood–history. And I know what you are thinking, you little entertainment blog reading nerd, you: the MCU can now use the X-Men! And might be able to make a good Fantastic Four movie! And they can now open the Star Wars movies with the Fox fanfare again (this one is extremely unlikely but, still, I know you are thinking about it!) But this deal doesn’t just have ramifications on all the geek stuff that you (and, admittedly, I) like — this deal is going to send shockwaves throughout the entire industry, waves that we won’t even fully comprehend until months and years from now.

But, for now, this is what we are left with: the facts. Disney has purchased the assets belonging to 20th Century Fox for a massive, massive $52.4 billion. For reference sake, Disney purchased Marvel for $4.24 billion, Lucasfilm for $4 billion, and Pixar for $7.4 billion. By comparison, those deals were mere pennies compared to how much Disney is looking at acquiring Fox for.

But, to be fair, Disney is getting a lot more than a brand or two by buying Fox. Every film that the Fox studio has ever made is now there’s (literally thousands and thousands of films). Hundreds of huge TV shows, including huge hits like The Simpsons and Family Guy. A 30% stake in Hulu which, adding to Disney’s already owned 30%, makes them the majority owner. Cable brands like FX, FXX, and National Geographic. In fact, Disney pretty much gets everything associated with Fox aside from Fox News, Fox Sports, and the Fox Broadcast channel. Everything else, from Avatar to X-Files, is now under control of Disney.

Which, yes, is a big fucking deal. I mean, just look at the past two months of box office: In November, the first two weeks of box office were owned by Thor: Ragnarok, a Disney distributed film. Justice League (a Warner Bros. brand) took things over for a mere week…until it was replaced by Coco, also a Disney film, for an additional two weeks. And now Star Wars: The Last Jedi is opening into theaters, and will likely be number one for at least a month, if not more. In fact, the movie most likely to take the Number One spot from The Last Jedi? The Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which is being distributed by FOX. So if the merger was already 100% in effect, that means a Disney movie would have been thwarted by a Disney movie thwarted by a Disney movie thwarted by ANOTHER DISNEY MOVIE.

And, once again, this goes far beyond movies. There’s also television, of which Fox was a huge component of, with huge brands like How I Met Your Mother, American Horror Story, and literally dozens of other things providing for a nice, healthy marketplace. Now it’s all just Disney, which is really quite insane. And here’s the sad, twisted tragedy of it all: I REALLY like Disney.

In fact, if I were forced to pick my “favorite” of the Big 5 movie studios currently working in Hollywood…yeah, I would have to go with Walt Disney Pictures. And the reason why is, honestly, quite simple: at this point in time, they actually seem pretty committed to making good movies. They are one of the few companies that seem to realize that generally well-received products = an increase of profits, and do that by making films like Thor: Ragnarok, Coco, and the new Star Wars films — all movies I generally like and have no qualms watching. I love Pixar movies, I love Disney animation movies, I love Marvel movies, I like Lucasfilm stuff — I generally respect the quality of films that Disney attaches itself too.

But I still think about this deal, and still mostly feel a mix of apprehension and fear. Disney has become the defacto most powerful name in Entertainment, to the point I worry about what becomes of everything that isn’t the Mouse House. It isn’t a big secret that Hollywood is doing pretty poorly in recent times, with increased pressure coming from streaming giants like Netflix, who continue to get a big piece of the entertainment pie, and won’t be slowing down in the immediate future. In fact, a big reason Disney purchased Fox in the first place was to combat this problem in the first place (they are starting their own streaming service, don’t you forget, and need all the content they can get to make it viable.) But with Disney acquiring everything left and right, is it only a matter of time before Sony, no longer interested in having a film production arm, also decides to sell of its properties. And then Disney will buy them. And maybe Warner Bros, looking for a space franchise to go against Star Trek, will buy Paramount. And so and so on until there’s like, two companies left.

Which, I must emphasize, is bad for everyone. Competition is the lifeblood of any industry, entertainment especially, and the moment the world of theatrical production is owned by one gigantic company, things will suffer creatively as well. For now, I just have to remain confident in my trust in Disney — they make movies I love, and I can only hope they will continue to do so in the future. But as much as I liked Thor: Ragnarok and Coco…my favorite movie of the year might just be Logan. And would a film as uniformly strange and adult be made under a Fox-branded Disney? I like to hope so, I really do. Because, so far at least, none of Disney’s acquisitions have particularly ruined a brand. But with big mergers like this, I just have to be wary. This is crazy territory we are entering here, and there’s a ton of things I love caught in the mix.

For what it’s worth, we won’t really know what impact Disney has on Fox for a while now: the stuff the studio was already making for next year (like Deadpool 2 and Shane Black’s The Predator) are still going to be released, likely in the same state they would have been under Fox proper. But there’s a lot of plates in the air right now, and I have no idea where things will settle. I have hope the art will not suffer in the midst of this commercialism, but far from confidence in that idea. We shall see in the coming year, I guess.

In the meantime…yeah, Wolverine will probably fight an Avenger at some point. So that’s cool, I guess.

Also published on Medium.

Matthew Legarreta is the Editor and Owner of Freshly Popped Culture. A big ol' ball of movie, TV, and video game loving flesh, Matthew has been writing about pop culture for nearly a decade. Matthew also loves writing about himself in the third person, because it makes him feel important (or something.)


Disney Celebrates International Women’s Day By Giving Its Favorite Man, Jon Favreau, A Live-Action Star Wars TV Show




It’s no big secret that Disney is going in gung-ho on bringing new people into the Star Wars franchise. In the last year, we have seen over half a dozen people be given new movies and projects set within the series, as Lucasfilm slowly starts to build up what the future of this franchise will be following next year’s Star Wars: Episode IX. But while I say “people”, I probably should be more clear — white men. Disney has given the keys to the franchise solely to a bunch of middle-aged, white men.

Is this in and of itself some type of hiring sin? Eh, no, not really. And I don’t even blame Disney/Lucasfilm entirely for the situation — it’s clear that Kennedy and her cohorts are running scared a bit here, with a string of high profile, low experience collaborators causing headaches behind the scenes (Josh Trank, Gareth Edwards, and Lord & Miller.) For that reason, they have been turning to experienced “sure things” to take the reigns of Star Wars, namely in the form of J.J. Abrams (who already did it in The Force Awakens!) Rian Johnson (who already did it in The Last Jedi!), Stephen Daldry (a prestige journeyman with twenty years of experience!), and Weiss/Benioff (they show-ran the most complicated series ever made, THEY ARE PROS!) And you know what the paradox is here? All the filmmakers with decades of experience and a reputation of being professionals are almost entirely — you guessed it! — white dudes.

Enter Jon Favreau. Disney is clearly a fan of the man ever since he gave them the first Iron Man (which in and of itself was a bit of a risky decision to give to him at the time…but I digress), and has worked with him again on massive hits like The Jungle Book and future GARGANTUAN hit The Lion King. They appear to like him, he appears to like them, and there are billions of dollars that prove the relationship works. So now Favreau is being given a pretty big role in Disney’s current crown jewel franchise — Star Wars.

Not the Star Wars project you might think, though. Rather than diving head first into the crowded realm of future Star Wars movies (occupied by at least one more saga film, two competing trilogies, and a whole bunch of individual “story” films), Favreau will apparently be helming the previously announced live-action TV series on Disney’s forthcoming streaming service. This was announced just earlier today on, alongside the expected statement from Kathleen Kennedy:

“I couldn’t be more excited about Jon coming on board to produce and write for the new direct-to-consumer platform. Jon brings the perfect mix of producing and writing talent, combined with a fluency in the Star Wars universe. This series will allow Jon the chance to work with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base.”

And the expected outburst of excitement from Favreau:

“If you told me at 11 years old that I would be getting to tell stories in the Star Wars universe, I wouldn’t have believed you. I can’t wait to embark upon this exciting adventure.”

Putting aside the pure exhaustion I have to new Star Wars projects right now (TOO MANY), who the fucks idea was it to announce this news today of all days? It’s no big secret that the critical community at large (or Film Twitter, at the very least) has been giving Lucasfilm crap for their seeming dismissal of having more diverse voices behind the scenes. Warranted or not, the complaints about the lack of anyone but straight men being a creative force of the series is extremely prevalent. And if you’re facing backlash over not hiring women to do things…adding yet another man to your company on the damn day of appreciatiating woman just reads as a back slap at worse, and tone deaf at best. READ THE FUCKING ROOM, LUCASFILM.

Ignoring the exact date of the hiring, though, Favreau being announced for this is…fine, I guess. I am not nearly as enthusiastic on the guy’s filmography as some (or Disney, especially) seem to be, but his films are usually pretty good at least (unless they are Iron Man 2.) So this certainly isn’t the worst pick for a Star Wars project. That being said, choosing a guy with zero experience writing a TV series to write a TV series of this scale is a bit disappointing. There are plenty of fine, experienced showrunners out there — why give Jon Favreau, who has already cultivated success in his career a dozen times, yet another big project? Hiring Jon Favreau to do this Star Wars series is ignoring TV showrunners who are perhaps more suitable for the part, which puts his hiring as a “double whammy” of ignoring potentially better candidates, if you ask me.

Anyways, whatever — I’m just hoping that the next announcement of someone getting a Star Wars project is a little more unique, a little more interesting, and a little more diverse. Or, second option…don’t announce another Star Wars project for a while. I think we have plenty to mull around already, Lucasfilm.

Also published on Medium.

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Why Marvel Moved Up The Avengers: Infinity War Release Date

It was a win-win-win-win decision for the company, really.



The first weekend of May is considered the “start” of the summer movie season…but, in recent years, that has pretty much evolved to become the “Marvel movie” slot. Barring one exception in 2009 (the only year Marvel didn’t release a movie in the past decade), every year since 2007 has given us the release of a new film featuring a Marvel superhero in the first weekend of May. It’s become something of a tradition, one that wasn’t entirely surprising to see Marvel keep intact as it approached its tenth anniversary as a film studio. And with Avengers: Infinity War by far representing their largest and grandest project, the Marvel May slot seemed perfect for the film to have its grand debut. And for years, we’ve all been working off that assumption. Disney set a May 4, 2018 release date for the film some time ago, and there was no way they were going to change that.

Well, they just changed that.

But unlike most sudden release date changes, this one is A) minor and B) mostly a good thing. Instead of launching on May 4, Avengers: Infinity War will now hit theaters everywhere on April 27, abandoning the May month completely. Two months before the film’s release, it’s a bit of a shocking development, although Marvel had fun with it on Twitter, by way of (who else?) Robert Downey Jr.

Now obviously this was planned (Robert Downey Jr. didn’t just push Marvel to massively move the release date of its biggest film out of the blue — come on now), but what was the reasoning for Disney’s decision here? Well, a few things.

Number one? The film was already going to release on April 27 overseas, which is typical for a Marvel release (they almost always open internationally before coming to the States). So moving the release date for America only puts the film in line with the rest of the world, which is ultimately pretty smart: now Marvel and Disney can brag on April 30 about how the film made approximately $67 billion worldwide in its first weekend of release. It will look great, vanity wise.

And this also moves Infinity War away from Disney’s own Solo: A Star Wars Story, opening at the end of May. That’s not even to mention the recently moved Deadpool 2 on May 18, which was a surprisingly big threat to Infinity War’s legs. With a three week gap between the two, however, Infinity War is now in the clear in terms of maximum, immediate revenue (all that really matters in Hollywood in this day and age.)

And as for first-weekend competetion, neither weekend poised much of a threat: nothing was playing on May 4, sure, but the only thing on April 27 was a Paula Patton thriller entitled Traffik, a horror movie called Bad Samaritan starring David Tennant, and comedy I Feel Pretty from Amy Schumer. The latter film already moved back a week to April 20, and neither of the others will make much of a dent on pop culture, so Marvel had nothing to fear with placing Infinity War against them.

Finally, the move will also cut off the threat of spoilers reaching America before the majority of the country gets to see the film. That hasn’t been too much of a threat for other Marvel releases like Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok (both opened overseas a week earlier)…but Infinity War is different. It’s rumored to make some massive changes to the state of the MCU and the characters in it, and I’m sure Kevin Feige would prefer people witnessed such developments in the theater, rather than on Twitter.

Ultimately, there’s nothing all that fishy here about the move. It’s only a week, but it could end up helping the film quite a bit in the long run. And if it means we get to see this movie seven days earlier than expected, I’m sure I’m not the only one who will take this offering with little reservations.

Also published on Medium.

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Disney Is Rebooting The Muppets (Yes, Again) And A Whole Bunch of Other Dormant Properties For Their New Streaming Service

Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Father of the Bride, The Parent Trap, the concept of time itself. You know, the usual.



Disney has conquered mainstream Hollywood. That is an undeniable fact, if you ask me — between their Marvel and Star Wars output (not to mention their live action remakes, animated films, and projects from Pixar), Disney seems to be the only big studio thriving in the modern age. But as much as that seems like a compliment to Disney, it’s also something of a dour note for the industry overall — things are rough for theatrical film, for a variety of reasons. But perhaps the most substantial one is competition from the world of cable, Broadcast, and (especially) streaming outlets. When you are routinely getting things of the same (if not better) quality out of TV and streaming, why even go to the theater? The question is baffling to me (because it’s a movie theater, that’s why!), but not for the majority of Americans — ticket sales are the worst they have been in decades, as people would rather get their entertainment fix by staying at home and watching Netflix.

And Disney knows this. They are content with having conquered the ashes of traditional Hollywood, but they aren’t idiots — the media landscape is changing, and they want to be just as viable in the new one as a Netflix or HBO. So they are creating their own streaming service, and taking the battle for entertainment supremacy to Netflix in a big way.

But in building their new streaming outlet, I was rather curious how Disney planned to convince people to subscribe to their service when there were dozens more out there competing for the same eyeballs (and monthly set of dollar bills.) Well, today we got a pretty big hint in how Disney plans to build out their streaming portfolio and, no surprise, it’s taking advantage of their biggest asset: all the well-liked shit they have made and/or acquired over the last century. Brands are king for Disney, and they very much seem to be putting those at the forefront as they dive into this new frontier. Call it a safety blanket if you want (I will: it’s a safety blanket), but it has served Disney well in the last decade, so
…reboot time it is!

Of course, many of Disney’s bigger properties have already been rebooted or remade on the big screen, leading the selections for their streaming stuff to be a bit lower tier. The biggest property announced today for the potential reboot treatment is The Muppets, who Disney acquired from The Jim Henson Company back in 2004, and have since been left scratching their heads at what exactly to do with it. Things seemed great at first when the Jason Segal-led reboot film managed to enliven the love for the franchise, and perform pretty great at the box office to boot. But then Muppets Most Wanted came out and, despite being a whole lotta fun, underwhelmed at the box office. It seemed The Muppets would not be the blockbuster franchise Disney was hoping for.

Rebooting The Muppets

So they transferred the property back to TV, relaunching a new series simply entitled The Muppets. This series had a promising hook (basically The Muppets meets 30 Rock, through the mockumentary lens of The Office) but it failed to get an audience on ABC and, quite frankly, wasn’t even all that good to begin with. Then a whole controversy broke out when longtime puppeteer/Kermit the Frog voice actor Steve Whitmire was fired from working on the property. He argued that Disney’s plans for the character was against what Henson would have stood for. They argued he was a shitty worker who didn’t play well with others, and everyone else was glad to be rid of him. The truth probably rests somewhere in between the two stances, but that didn’t make the controversy anymore crippling for The Muppet brand. They laid low for a year or so, only popping up to make wacky promotional videos and the like for the franchises’ various social media pages.

But apparently, Disney still thinks they can make this thing work in a big way, as The Hollywood Reporter confirms the Mouse House intends to bring the property to their new streaming service. Which, by the way, could use a name pronto. I’m tiring of just calling it “their new streaming service.” Judging by what they seem to want to put on it, maybe simply “Reboot” will do?

Kidding aside, The Muppets isn’t the only reboot Disney plans to anchor the service with. Also in the mix according to THR is film properties like Honey I Shrunk the Kids (you, know the Rick Moranis movie about shrinking kids), Father of the Bride (you know, the Steve Martin movie about being the father of the bride), and The Parent Trap (you know, the Lindsay Lohan movie about trapping parents.) This is in addition to previously announced reboot fodder like High School Musical and The Mighty Ducks which, yeah, were all certainly things at one point in time. They have name value, and that’s all that matters to the house that Micky Mouse built!  At least there will be some top shelve franchise extinctions from brands like Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar’s Monster’s Inc. And, who knows, maybe an original property might sneak its way in there!

…But no promises.

Also published on Medium.

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