Comcast, either out of fear over potential regulatory hurdles or simply because their CEO was always just in this to stick it to Bob Iger, has waved the corporate white flag of surrender and allowed Disney’s purchase of the majority of 21st Century Fox to stand uncontested. Rejoice, internet – an X-Men-Avengers team-up movie is now on the table!
But how’s that going to work, logistically? How does the Marvel Cinematic Universe turn around and suddenly declare, “OH, btw, there have been mutants around this entire time”? Or do they mutants only turn up for the first time now? Or do they come to us from an alternate universe? Will they turn out to have been hidden in the quantum realm? What of The Fantastic Four? Do they maybe make more sense as a TV series on Disney’s Netflix killer? And what in the world do you do with Deadpool? Could they ever do a Deadpool Kills the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie?
Hold on. I’m starting to hyperventilate a little bit. It’s just so…so amazing!
Is it, though?
I get it. I really do. Marvel Studios will soon have all of its legacy characters back. We never thought we’d see this day, yet it’s almost here and the group geekgasm is going to be loud enough to make even the nastiest porn star blush. No longer will we, the fans, have to photoshop Wolverine into Avengers posters. No longer will we, the fans, have to suffer through lesser X-Men and Fantastic Four movies. And no longer will as many as 10,000 Fox employees have jobs.
Bob Iger already told investors he expects Disney to save billions after the Fox deal goes through by eliminating any of the redundancies between the two studios. Inverse’s James Grebey dug up a report from December in which analyst Rich Greenfield estimated the total number of jobs which might end up on the chopping block. Here’s the pertinent quote:
“Disney expects over $2 billion in synergies from the Fox acquisition, with the overwhelming majority of that from cost-savings – meaning job cuts. In order to reduce costs by upwards of $2 billion, we believe Disney will need to cut well-over 5,000 jobs and the number could easily swell toward 10,000 given the high degree of overlap between the two companies around the world.”
Here’s how a 10+ year veteran of the film side of the Fox studio described his current mindset to THR:
I alternate between panic, sleeplessness and trying to stay calm. There are so many people who do such a specific task at a studio, I think it’s hard to figure out what to do next. I’ve been here for many, many years, always on the film side. How do I reinvent myself and make myself employable?
After the first of the year, we finally got a real-world look at what our retention bonuses and severance packages would look like. At that point, many of us started actively looking for work. Those with less tenure and smaller severance packages wanted to jump ship first. Why wait to be pink-slipped and compete with thousands for the same handful of jobs when you can leave now and put this mess behind you? A lot are going to Netflix. This has been easy pickings for them.
With Comcast out of the way, the only thing which could stop Disney now is the Justice Department, which might well find that allowing one studio to own nearly half of the entire market isn’t good for business or the consumers. However, the Justice Department has already offered its provisional approval.
The irony here is Disney is doing this almost solely to acquire content to feed into its next phase as a streaming giant, yet the massive layoffs on the way have already and will continue to lead experienced industry veterans into the arms of the same tech companies Disney is trying to dominate – Amazon, Apple, and Netflix.
But, yeah, an Avengers Vs. X-Men sounds pretty cool.