Number of releases does not include output from Fox Searchlight art-house division, Disney CEO Bob Iger says
Now that Disney is captaining the ship at the Fox film studio, the Mouse House plans to cut the studio’s production and release five to six films a year.
“I’m guessing there will be five or six films a year from Fox, but we’re not locking ourselves into that,” Disney chief Bob Iger said during the company’s quarterly conference call on Wednesday. “And then of course we have Fox Searchlight, which will continue its business as is.”
So there will be more than the five or six from the broader Fox umbrella, but Disney plans to reduce the number of films coming from the core Fox studio, which released 12 films in 2018, including “Deadpool 2” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” (The art-house division Fox Searchlight had four releases last year and three slated for this year, including this week’s “Tolkien.”)
Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said that the company’s expected $2 billion in cost synergies from its acquisition of Fox’s film and TV entertainment assets always included an expected pull-back in the number of films being released from Fox.
On Monday, Disney announced a beefed-up release slate that featured seven upcoming Fox titles for this year, including next month’s X-Men spinoff “Dark Phoenix” (pictured above) as well as the Brad Pitt sci-fi movie “Ad Astra,” the biopic “Ford v. Ferrari” and the animated “Spies in Disguise.”
Disney also bumped Fox titles like “Call of the Wild” and “The New Mutants” to 2020 from their previously slated 2019 dates.
In March, the company finalized its $71.3 billion acquisition for the majority of Fox’s entertainment assets. Since then, the Street has been scrounging for as many details as possible about Disney’s plans for Fox.
During Disney’s annual shareholder meeting in March — just ahead of the Fox deal closing — Iger told investors that Fox would still produce and release films under the Fox banner.
“The company itself will be The Walt Disney Co., but there will still be companies, especially on the movie side, with the Fox name,” Iger said said at the time. “We will continue to make movies under the Fox brand and Fox Searchlight brand. And FX, which isn’t Fox, but sounds like it and it will keep its name.”