The Disney-Fox merger is expected to be completed mid-week with en masse layoffs to begin shortly after. Nearly 7,500 people are expected to be let go as a result.
That threat has long been looming over key marketing personnel at Fox, so much so many have already reportedly jumped ship. As part of a feature piece in Vanity Fair (via CBM, it has been revealed key positions that would normally oversee the marketing of major blockbusters are currently being managed by consultants and temp workers.
The article indicates longtime employees have spent much of last year and this in a kind of “prolonged trauma” with lots of vague guidance and a lack of business directives. This has apparently impacted the marketing of Fox films in recent months with filmmakers meeting with a handful of high-end consultants temporarily taking jobs recently vacated by long-term employees. Once in the job, they are reportedly offering a more ad hoc approach to selling films.
The magazine quotes sources who explain what a meeting about “Dark Phoenix” was like in February between filmmakers and these temp marketing and distribution departments execs:
Attendee #1: “We know when we are dropping a trailer, but we are nowhere near where we should be at this time. It’s frightening. I would be mad if I were a filmmaker.
Attendee #2: “What’s not normal is the elephant in the room, which is that most people there are not going to be the people that are still in the job when the movie opens.”
Attendee #3: “Nobody has come around and said, ‘This is what’s going on.’ Why can’t they just tell us that there is no place for us? Why can’t they let anyone know? We are not leaving because we didn’t make money for the company or we did a bad job. We are leaving because of pure capitalism.”
How much Disney intends to actually commit to pushing “Dark Phoenix” ahead of its June release isn’t clear at this point, especially with the possibility they could well make some “X-Men” reboot announcements a month later.
20th Century Fox has annually pumped out around 12-20 theatrical releases a year, the piece indicates once it’s merged with Disney and essentially a label within that company, that rate will be reduced to 3-5 theatrical releases a year