Under its new Disney corporate ownership, Twentieth Century Fox will be now only releasing five to six films annually, according to Disney CEO Bob Iger during the company’s quarterly earnings conference call yesterday.
“I’m guessing there will be five or six films a year from Fox, but we’re not locking ourselves into that,” Iger stated. “And then of course we have Fox Searchlight, which will continue its business as is.”
This is a slashing of the studio’s output by half. Last year Fox released twelve feature films including Deadpool 2 and Bohemian Rhapsody. As of right now, Fox only has six live action feature films and one animated film on its calendar for 2019 – the X-Men franchise installment Dark Phoenix set for June 7, the action/comedy Stuber on July 12, The Art Of Racing In The Rain on August 9, the Brad Pitt science-fiction thriller Ad Astra on September 20, The Woman In The Window on October 4, the biopic Ford V. Ferrari on November 15 and the animated Spies In Disguise on Christmas Day.
In order to slim down its 2019 release schedule, the studio bumped Call Of The Wild and The New Mutants from their dates this year into 2020.
The more indie and arthouse Fox Searchlight released four films last year and has just three scheduled for this year.
This news clarifies a statement Iger made in March where he stated at company’s annual shareholders’ meeting that Disney planned on keeping open Fox Studios to produce and release films under its own banner. We now know that while Disney plans to keep Fox open for business, it is doing so with the production throttle pulled way back.
Well, to quote a former controversial Hollywood blogger – Toldja!
Back when the Disney – Twentieth Century Fox acquisition was first announced, we predicted that Disney would either shut down or dramatically reduce Fox’s output. And that reduction would not be a good thing for either the film business or audiences. This production decrease creates a decrease in the amount of competition between studios, competition that ultimately serves the audience by giving them a greater diversity of films to choose from. This also harms filmmakers, as it is effectively shrinking down the number of potential films that could get made. This means less jobs, as the ripple effect spreads out to affect cast and below the line crew. And that is additional unemployment to the already hundreds who were served pink slips when the merger finalized earlier this year.