Disney is, without question, the most successful film studio this year with four of its features being the four biggest box-office grossers so far in 2019. That doesn’t mean they haven’t had the odd dud though, including some of the waste they inherited from their acquisition of 20th Century Fox.
Disney CEO Bob Iger, as part of his investors call to shareholders this week, says that the company lost $170 million last quarter in large part because of the recent lackluster film titles it inherited from the Fox merger. Most of that loss he blames on the performance of the final Fox-produced “X-Men” film “Dark Phoenix”:
Iger says: “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.” He confirmed Disney co-chairmen Alan Horn and Alan Bergman will be working with Fox executive Emma Watts to “consolidate and to cut back on the number of [Fox] releases so as to focus on the kind of release that we hope would come out of that studio.”
Iger namechecked X-Men, Deadpool, and Fantastic 4 as now being “part of Marvel Studios” but made no mention of any plans to integrate them into the MCU or new features involving the characters.
Certain Fox titles are safe for now, from “Ford v. Ferrari” and “Murder on the Orient Express” to two more “Kingsman” films and four “Avatar” sequels. However Iger warns investors it’ll take a year or more for Disney’s ownership of Fox to be felt in the latter studio’s releases:
“It will probably take a solid year or two years before we can have an impact – obviously it takes longer on the development side – but an impact on the films that are actually in production. We’re all confident that we’re going to be able to turn around the fortunes of Fox live action and you’re going to see those results in a couple years.”
THR goes further into this saying Fox has released between 12-16 films annually in recent years, and sources tell them the studio could release 10 or more movies a year once the kinks are worked out – but add ‘half or more’ of those could end up going straight to Disney+ or Hulu.
“Dark Phoenix” opened in early June and closed out its U.S. run with just $65 million domestic – seven previous “X-Men” movies outgrossed that total in just their opening weekends. Oscar-winning composer Zimmer wrote the score to the film and this week shared some unreleased demos that were written during the production of the film on Spotify. He says they “ended up with nearly 16 hours worth of music” made for the film, including some real experimentation, and now has decided to share his efforts: