Since acquiring 20th Century Fox after a buyout of parent company 21st Century Fox, Disney hasn’t had an easy time. Despite monster successes like ‘Avengers: Endgame’, stocks are down. Part of that is due to the massive investment into Disney+, which hasn’t launched yet, but it doesn’t help that Disney is taking a bath in the box office failures of Fox projects ‘Dark Phoenix’, ‘Stuber’, and ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’. Since buying out Fox, Disney has already slashed many jobs and positions, but the belt is tightening even further.
Last week, Disney chief executive Bob Iger didn’t hold back during his quarterly earnings call, declaring:
“The Fox studio performance … was well below where it had been and well below where we hoped it would be when we made the acquisition.”
Fox employees who were already fearing for their job security are on high alert as Disney appears to be sharpening its knives to slice away Fox projects that are determined not to have “broad commercial prospects.”
For the time being, it appears the following are safe and set to be released as planned: ‘Ad Astra’; ‘Ford vs Ferrari’; ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’; ‘The King’s Man’ (prequel to ‘The Kingsman’); ‘Free Guy’, a video game action-comedy starring Ryan Reynolds; and ‘Fear Street’ based on the YA novels by R.L. Stine’.
In addition, projects in pre-production that are believed will still get made include ‘Avatar 4’ and ‘5’, ‘Fear Street 2’ and ‘3’, ‘Death on the Nile’ (sequel to 2017’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’), ‘Bob’s Burgers: The Movie’, ‘Garfield’, and Zorro reboot ‘Z’.
It is believed that Disney has already saved $50 million in development by canceling plans for a ‘Die Hard’ prequel, reboots of ‘Flash Gordon’ and ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’, and video game adaptations ‘Mega Man’ and ‘The Sims’, plus ‘The Argonauts’, ‘Assassin’s Creed 2’, ‘The Boogeyman’ (based on Stephen King’s book), ‘Chronicle 2’, ‘Hitman 2’, ‘Magic: The Gathering’, ‘Play-Doh’ (they were going to make a movie out of Play-Doh?!), ‘The Return of the Killer Klowns from Outer Space in 3D’, and ‘Toymageddon’ (a reboot of ‘Small Soldiers’) among many others.
All of the cancellations mentioned are parts of franchises or reboots. Among the original movies that have been scrapped are ‘Tinkerbells’, “about a group of misbehaving fairies,” and an animated movie based on the award-winning comic book ‘Lumberjanes’.
One movie that is coming out but has Disney worried is Taika Waititi’s ‘Jojo Rabbit’ about a young German boy whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi himself), and who befriends a Jewish girl hiding in his attic. Disney is reportedly terrified that this film will create controversy, something the House of Mouse notoriously dodges at all costs.
We’ll continue to monitor the situation as Disney and Fox settle into one cohesive body. Check back for updates!