We’ve always expected that Disney would be making some major cuts to Fox since they acquired the entertainment assets back in March.
Among the first things to go were some employees. At the time, some 4,000 employees were to be affected by this merger, which also included Disney shutting down Fox 2000, a branch of Fox that released films like The Devil Wears Prada, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Hate U Give. Now Disney is moving on to other projects by cutting out even more titles. More on this below.
THR has the full report on the multiple Fox films that are getting axed by Disney in the wake of the recent acquisition. The report says that Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn has decided to drop multiple projects that were in the works at Fox.
One of these projects is a motion capture adaptation of the David Petersen comic book Mouse Guard starring Idris Elba and Andy Serkis, which had a $170 million budget and was set to begin production soon. Another is an adaptation of Paulette Jiles’ The News of the World starring Tom Hanks, which has moved to Universal Pictures. There’s also an adaptation of the Angie Thomas novel On the Come Up, which has moved to Paramount.
So it looks like there are some projects and titles that will be scooped up by other competing studios, while others, like Mouse Guard, will be getting axed entirely. This was always going to be one of the unfortunate consequences of the merger. In addition to the termination of numerous jobs, Disney will be trimming down their production slate for what looks like bigger franchise films and spending less or perhaps nothing at all on riskier projects. The report adds that titles like Mouse Guard were deemed to be too expensive for a non franchise film.
Other potentials like On the Come Up were cut out because they were not deemed profitable. The last adaptation of an Angie Thomas book, The Hate U Give, is said to have lost around $30 to $40 million despite only costing about $53 million including marketing costs. Though it was hailed by critics, it didn’t do as well as expected.
While some of those original projects over at Fox are being cut out, Disney will still follow through with the production for some other films. The Matthew Vaughn-directed prequel Kingsman: The Great Game, the low-budget witchcraft pic Fear Street, and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, will all still be made.
However, even some of those films are open to Horn’s scrutiny, who is reportedly question the possibility of younger characters smoking in Spielberg’s West Side Story. Here’s what Horn told THR:
“With Fox, we can make movies that right now I say no to … We always have to think about the smoking policy. The audience for a Disney movie may not know what they are going to see, but they know what they aren’t going to see. There are certain things we just can’t include because we’ll get letters.”
This is a very unfortunate development to come from this merger, but it isn’t entirely unexpected. While Disney is an entertainment giant, it looks like smaller less lucrative projects could get lost.