Disney has some major plans for Fox — here's what we learned at CinemaCon


Dark Phoenix Fox

  • Following the official absorption of 20th Century Fox into Disney last month, Disney came to CinemaCon on Wednesday and showed just how much Fox will be a part of its theatrical slate.
  • Turns out, it will play a big part — so big that there will have to be release-date changes so Fox and Disney movies don’t go up against one another on the same weekends.
  • Business Insider is at CinemaCon. We’re breaking down everything Disney revealed in its presentation to theater owners.

The big question going into this year’s CinemaCon, the annual movie theater convention currently taking place in Las Vegas, was how much of Disney’s presentation would be about Fox?

Disney head Bob Iger has said publicly that some of the recognizable IPs that Fox possesses would continue, but would just the big blockbusters make the cut? Turns out that’s a big NO.

On Wednesday, Disney and Fox executives took the stage to present the upcoming slate of Disney titles for 2019 and there is a wide range of features from Fox that will fill up that slate. In fact, the release schedule is so full for Disney since the deal to acquire 20th Century Fox (which also includes its independent film shingle, Fox Searchlight) became final, there will likely be release-date changes coming to some titles.

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One of the most eye-popping moments of the presentation was when Disney’s executive VP of theatrical distribution, Cathleen Taff, showed a graphic of the Disney slate for this year (which includes “Avengers: Endgame,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King”), and then that graphic changed to include the Fox titles (“Dark Phoenix,” “Stuber,” “The New Mutants,” “Ad Astra”). It’s a lineup that should have every executive in the other studios shaking in their boots.

One industry executive told Business Insider at CinemaCon that basically Disney now dominates the release schedule and all the other studios have to fight over the scraps.

“I’m still just trying to get my mind around this,” Disney chairman Alan Horn told the audience following a sizzle reel that opened the presentation, which showcased past hits from both Disney and Fox, with the message being “one vision.”

deadpoolHorn also made it clear to the audience made up of exhibitors from around the globe that theatrical is still “the cornerstone” of Disney going forward.

Fox’s vice chairman, Emma Watts, took the stage and along with showing footage from coming releases “Dark Phoenix” and the drama “Ford v. Ferrari” — starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale about Ford Motor Company’s quest to build a car that could beat Ferrari at the Le Mans in 1966 — said that franchises like “Kingsman,” “Alien,” and “Planet of the Apes” will continue to get made. And yes, more “Deadpool,” too.

“With the vast resources of the Walt Disney Studio behind us we are ready to write our next great chapter,” Watts told the audience.

It seems very clear that Disney has no plans to shelve Fox or push it to its Disney+ streaming service. The studio is looking to increase its dominance in the theatrical space even more than it already has.

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