Fallout From The Disney-Fox Merger Begins As Fox 2000 Shuts Its Doors and Execs Are Given 60-Day Notices
Friday, March 22nd, 2019 at 10:00 am
Disney’s recently finalized acquisition of Fox this week was one of the biggest in entertainment history. The $71.3 billion deal meant that numerous properties that flew under the Fox banner would now belong to Disney. It also means that Fox’s Marvel characters can now play with Marvel Cinematic Universe characters. However, such a merger comes at a huge cost. Usually, that cost is jobs. As many expected, there are massive layoffs happening in the wake of this merger. Fox 2000, 20th Century Fox’s production branch that brought us films like Hidden Figures, The Hate U Give, The Fault in Our Stars, and Love, Simon, is shutting its doors.
But they aren’t the only ones. Some of the higher-ups at the studio are also being handed pink slips. More on the report below.
According to Variety, Disney will stop making films under the Fox 2000 label. But as the trade states, it is a strange move because the Mouse House had assured that Fox 2000 head Elizabeth Gabler would stay on during the transition. However, the report also notes that none of the Fox 2000 staff has been laid off yet, so it’s not yet clear what the plan is for Gabler and others.
While Fox 2000 is being shut down, any films that are currently in production under the banner will continue to be made until completed. These films include League of Wives with Reese Witherspoon, an adaptation of a new Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give) novel, Rick Famuywa’s Children of Blood and Bone, and a Civil War period piece titled News of the World with Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks.
While it was a small arm of the larger Fox film corporation, Fox 2000 was responsible for hit literary film adaptations like The Devil Wears Prada and The Fault in Our Stars. But there were also award-winning films like Hidden Figures and The Hate U Give.
In a report from THR, there are also massive layoffs at the senior leadership level in the marketing and distribution departments. This includes 20th Century Fox film president of domestic distribution Chris Aronson being given a 60-day notice that he wouldn’t be joining Disney during the transition. Additionally, worldwide marketing president Pamela Levine, co-president of marketing Kevin Campbell, and chief content officer Tony Sella are also being let go. These decisions go along with the expectations that Fox’s marketing and distribution departments would be among the harder hit during the transition.
While some 4,000 employees are to be affected by this merger, some are being kept on. THR says some employees are being kept for a transitional period which could last for three to six months, but it’s unclear how many will end up getting permanent positions at Disney.
Unfortunately, all of this was expected to happen. Job losses are more likely to happen during this time as one studio absorbs the other. Which means there will be some major overlap in the various fields of work. Like, public relations, marketing, etc. We will just have to wait and see how many more jobs will be lost.