The deal between Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox may be closer to reality than we thought.
A new report from CNBC suggests that the two sides are close to finalizing Disney's purchase of most of Fox's assets, including the 20th Century Fox movie studio, and that the deal could be announced publicly as soon as next week.
The estimated value of the deal is $60 billion.
Rumors that Disney was interested in buying 20th Century Fox began circulating in early November, with the caveat that the on-again and off-again negotiations had stalled. However, reports soon followed that Disney and Fox were talking to each other once again and that Fox was favoring Disney over other suitors.
The desire for Disney to regain the film rights to all of the Marvel Comics character, including the X-Men and Fantastic Four rights currently held by 20th Century Fox, is said to be one of the driving factors behind Disney's interest in the deal.
The deal would not include Fox's sports and news assets, which will become the core focus of the leaner 21st Century Fox. The company has come to feel that it is simply not a large enough media company to compete with giants like Disney and the new digital heavies Netflix and Amazon.
While many fans will be overjoyed that the X-Men and the Fantastic Four could soon be parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's somewhat bittersweet for the X-Men movies franchise, which is in the midst of a boom period and creative renaissance. Deadpool kicked things off for the with its surprisingly successful blend of R-rated action and comedy. Logan followed up on that momentum by delivering a powerful drama about the last days of Wolverine, with powerful final performances from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart that could draw Academy Awards attention.
Fox has plans to follow that up with a busy 2018, releasing three films in the X-Men series. The New Mutants will blend teen superheroes with horror, Deadpool 2 will see Ryan Reynolds return to his role as the Merc with a Mouth, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix will put longtime producer Simon Kinberg in the director's chair for a cosmic saga.
A Gambit movie is also planned for 2019 with Channing Tatum in the lead role, and James Franco is reportedly working on a Multiple Man movie with Kinberg.