- There are still seven Fox movies Disney has to release before 2019 is over. But what’s going to happen to the 2020 slate and beyond?
- There are 14 Fox releases from 2020 through 2027 that are supposed to hit theatres, but it’s possible some of those titles will not get theatrical love and find their way to Disney Plus, Disney’s upcoming Netflix competitor, instead.
- Here’s a breakdown of what those 14 movies are and which might get moved to a non-theatrical release.
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Mergers and acquisitions come with growing pains and it looks like right out of the gate that’s what Disney is going through with buying Fox.
Disney already had the most formidable group of assets in the movie business – Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Pixar – before it went and gobbled up a rival studio, but the existing Fox material Disney inherited has, for a brief moment, forced the studio to cope with something it hasn’t had to recently: mediocrity.
“The Fox studio performance … was well below where it had been and well below where we’d hoped it would be when we made the acquisition,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said during an earnings call earlier this week. A big reason for that $US170 million quarterly loss for Fox was the epic flop of the latest X-Men movie, “Dark Phoenix.”
But don’t cry for Disney. In 2019, it currently has 38% of the market share at the domestic box office and five of the six top grossing movies of the year domestically are Disney titles (four of them have grossed over $US1 billion worldwide).
That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised to see change come to Fox.
Disney currently has to deal with releasing titles that were made and ready for release before it acquired Fox. That’s why before 2019 is over there are still seven Fox releases: “Ad Astra,” “The Woman in the Window,” “Lucy in the Sky” (Fox Searchlight), “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight), “Ford v. Ferrari,” “A Hidden Life” (Fox Searchlight), and “Spies in Disguise.”
But what about 2020 and beyond?
There are still a lot of Fox titles ready to come out, including Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” and a bunch of “Avatar” movies. But setting those bigger titles aside, will everything that’s on the slate get their releases?
“I think Disney is doing exactly what they had always planned on doing – weeding out the playing field,” Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, told Business Insider. “I see most of these future releases going the way of Disney Plus, unless they’re contractually obligated. Disney wants the best that Fox has to offer, and that’s mostly their franchise films.”
Below are the 14 Fox titles Disney is planning to release theatrically (for now) between 2020 and 2027:
“Underwater” (January 10, 2020)
2020 will kick off for Disney/Fox with this thriller starring Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, and T.J. Miller as a crew of underwater researchers who battle to stay alive when an earthquake damages the subterranean laboratory they are in.
With a January release – the typical dumping ground for movies studios aren’t that excited about – there’s instant fear it could get pulled, but hopefully that’s not the case for this one.
“The King’s Man” (February 14, 2020)
After two movies, this successful franchise is now doing a prequel with director Matthew Vaughn once again taking the helm.
Both “Kingsman: The Secret Service” in 2015 and “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” in 2017 were strong earners for Fox with both bringing in over $US400 million worldwide. So Disney will expect another hit.
“The Call of the Wild” (February 21, 2020)
Three movies into 2020 and no Disney release yet (the first from the Mouse House will be Pixar’s “Onward” opening March 6). This Fox release will be the latest adaptation of the classic 1903 Jack London novel about a dog named Buck who is sold and ends up as a sled dog in Alaska.
This version will be done through CGI animation and will star Harrison Ford, Dan Stevens, Bradley Whitford, and Karen Gillan.
This was originally slated for a late December 2019 opening, but instead Disney is using that slot by going with the Fox animated release, “Spies in Disguise.”
“The New Mutants” (April 3, 2020)
This instalment of the X-Men franchise has been sitting on the shelf for some time.
Its original release was April 2018. Since then, it’s had two more release changes and after Disney bought Fox there were rumours that the title would be put on Disney Plus. However, Disney has continued to say the movie will have a theatrical release. But with the poor performance of “Dark Phoenix,” it’s anyone’s guess if we will finally see the movie two years after its original release date.
“Free Guy” (July 3, 2020)
With Disney releasing “Black Widow” in May and the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson/Emily Blunt-starrer “Jungle Cruise” on July 24, the July 3 placement of this Fox action-comedy is an indication the studio is excited.
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Taika Waititi, Channing Tatum, and “Stranger Things” star Joe Kreery, the story revolves around Reynolds playing a bank teller who suddenly realises he’s a background character in an open world video game. “Stranger Things” producer/director Shawn Levy is directing.
“Bob’s Burgers” (July 17, 2020)
In the works since being announced in 2017, the movie version of the popular Fox animated TV series will be a musical comedy.
This one feels like better fit for Disney Plus, but as of now it’s going to theatres.
“Death on the Nile” (October 9, 2020)
Heading into the fall we will get Kenneth Branagh’s latest directing effort, which is an adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel.
Branagh plays detective Hercule Poirot, who while on vacation, finds himself investigating the murder of a young heiress. Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening, and Letitia Wright also star.
“Ron’s Gone Wrong” (November 6, 2020)
This is the first animated movie from UK-based Locksmith Animation, which signed a coproduction deal with Fox in 2017.
The story is set in a world where digital bots have become best friends of children. However, we follow an 11-year-old boy whose bot doesn’t exactly work properly.
On the outside, you have to wonder if Disney needs to put this in theatres, especially with a yet to be announced release from Walt Disney Animation slated to come out weeks later on November 25.
“West Side Story” (December 18, 2020)
With not a “Star Wars” title in sight, Disney is banking on a Fox title (and its Emma Stone-starrer “Cruella” a week later) to bring in the holiday season box office coin.
The latest adaptation of the famous Broadway musical has Steven Spielberg directing and Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler as the stars.
“Nimona” (March 5, 2021)
Before Disney hits us with “Doctor Strange,” “Thor,” and “Indiana Jones” movies in 2021, on the slate is this animated movie based on a 2012 web comic turned graphic novel.
Fox has had the property since 2015. It was originally to be released in February 2020, but Disney has moved it to its current release date. But with a yet-to-be-announced Disney live action movie slated for a week later, it becomes a question if this is better suited for Disney Plus.
“Avatar 2” (December 17, 2021)
Disney will close out 2021 with the property that was probably a big reason why it bought Fox in the first place: the sequel to “Avatar” will finally be upon us.
And it doesn’t end there.
“Avatar 3” (December 22, 2023)
Two years later, we go back to Na’vi, or who knows, it might be another place by then.
“Avatar 4” (December 19, 2025)
Now we are looking so far ahead that the only titles on the slate are James Cameron’s epic franchise and untitled “Star Wars” movies that will be released the years “Avatar” movies are not.
“Avatar 5” (December 17, 2027)
I have no clue what the world will be like in 2027, but there will be an “Avatar” movie playing – somewhere.
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