The merger that will make most of Fox's film assets a part of the Disney content library will likely close in March of this year, according to a new report at Variety.
Disney, which owns ESPN, had agreed to sell off a number of its regional sports assets in order to clear regulatory approval. They are also not buying Fox News, the FOX network, and a number of related assets, which will remain part of Rupert Murdoch's "New Fox."
A report confirming that the reworked Fox Corp will not bid on the former Fox assets being auctioned off by Disney included a note that "The Disney-21st Century Fox transaction is expected to close by early March." The report was based on a regulatory filing from Fox confirming that they did not plan to bid on the assets.
There have been numerous regulatory hurdles in a number of countries that Disney and Fox have had to clear in order to make the $71 billion transaction work.
Recently, there has been a lot of speculation as to exactly when the deal would finish. While previous reports had suggested the second half of the year, one recent story suggested that the deal could close as early as this month.
Some rumors have indicated that some of Fox's Marvel characters could show up in one of Marvel's 2019 movies, such as Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, or Spider-Man: Far From Home. This seems unlikely, as the movies will be months away by the time the acquisition is finalized — only Spider-Man: Far From Home has a round of reshoots coming up, and Disney would likely want to wait for a Marvel-distributed film to generate buzz they can actually make money off of.
While Fox has two X-Men movies on the docket for 2019, neither of them are said to be tying into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. X-Men: Dark Phoenix hits theaters on June 7th while The New Mutants is planned for August 2nd. After that, it's a safe bet that the franchise will be rebooted entirely under the banner of Marvel Studios.
Walt Disney Company Chairman Bob Iger confirmed the properties would move under Kevin Feige's domain, as the producer has provided five different billion-dollar box office grosses for Marvel Studios.6comments
"I think it only makes sense," Iger said. "I want to be careful here because of what's been communicated to the Fox folks, but I think they know. It only makes sense for Marvel to be supervised by one entity. There shouldn't be two Marvels."
Hopefully we learn more of what Marvel and Disney have planned for these two properties after the deal is finalized.