The Walt Disney Company made history earlier this year when it officially acquired 20th Century Fox's assets, changing the modern-day media landscape as we know it. The inside baseball of that acquisition has been a topic of conversation for quite some time, and it looks like Disney CEO Bob Iger is being candid about it. In a new interview with The New York Times, Iger spoke about the status of the assets before the deal was officially done, and argued that Fox's movies weren't succeeding.
“It wasn’t a slap-down,” Iger revealed. “It was an admission that the movies that they had made failed. And I actually gave then a tremendous amount of cover by saying that when companies are bought, processes and decision making can come to a halt."
“There were problems at that studio well before the deal was announced." Iger continued. "But the reason I did not believe that it was something we should be concerned about is because it’s a short-term problem. And with the talent that we have at our studio, that are now supervising with some of their executives all the movies that they decide to make and how they are made, I’m convinced that the turnaround can happen. It’s not a snap your fingers, but it’s not 10 years of lost value. It’s a year and a half.”
In the months since the deal was closed, that turnaround has already begun to be seen in some interesting and controversial ways. Disney has already scrapped several films that Fox had in development, including adaptations of The Mouse Guard and MegaMan, reboots of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Flash Gordon, and sequels to Assassin's Creed, Chronicle, and Hitman. The merger has also resulted in the shuttering of the Fox 2000 studio, the firing of several high-profile executives, and multiple rounds of layoffs.
"Although there is much to look forward to, we know this integration will entail quite a bit of change across our organizations." Disney execs Alan Horn and Alan Bergman said in a memo shortly after the merger. "We want to acknowledge that and assure you we are committed to engaging in this process thoughtfully and communicating changes as we are able – most importantly with respect for all involved."
"We’ll be making announcements very soon about our senior leadership structure." the memo continued. "It will take some time to reach our future fully integrated state. Day-to-day, our top priorities remain the same: to support the great content we’re creating and deliver a superb experience to our consumers, and to continue to build an inspiring, inclusive environment where employees can bring their best to work every day.
With the deal, Disney now controls franchises such as The Simpsons, Avatar, Predator, and Alien. They also have access to Marvel characters previously owned by Fox, including the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and Deadpool.