20th Century Fox is no more. Sure, the studio still exists, as a subsidiary of new parent company, Disney. But the legendary company literally isn’t a thing anymore, as it’s been renamed 20th Century Studios. And with the change in moniker, there apparently is a big change in leadership, as well, with the vice chairman and president of production, Emma Watts, stepping down. But in a new report from THR, the loss of Watts just highlights some major changes happening at the studio formerly known as Fox.
According to the report, part of Watts’ decision to leave Fox was due to the studio’s new status quo under Disney. Apparently, with the Mouse watching over everything, the once-prolific studio will be pared down to a release schedule that features roughly four films each year, with equal focus given to the streaming platforms Disney+ and Hulu. That’s a big departure from the previous Fox output that included upwards of seven films each year, in addition to the TV output.
Of course, critics of Watts and Fox can point to a string of terrible box office results in 2019, to illustrate why Disney is putting less of a premium on the studio in the years to come. “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and “Alita: Battle Angel” both drastically underperformed and led to losses. And yes, there were wins, such as “Ford v Ferrari,” but those wins couldn’t overpower the shadow cast by the bombs. And unfortunately, the immediate future doesn’t look great.
The next major Fox release is “The Call of the Wild,” starring Harrison Ford. The upcoming family-friendly film reportedly carries a budget of approximately $125 million before the expensive reshoots occurred. So, who knows what the final budget sits at right now? However, what is known is that the film is expected to open with a weak box office debut, with analysts predicting somewhere around $15 million. This means ‘Wild’ is likely going to be yet another major loser for Fox.
Also, let’s not forget about “The New Mutants,” arriving in April. With the ‘X-Men’ franchise coming off its worst performance yet with ‘Dark Phoenix,’ not much buzz is building for “The New Mutants,” without even mentioning the fact that the troubled behind-the-scenes drama has delayed the film by more than two years.
Long story short, when Disney finalized its purchase of 20th Century Fox in 2019, not many fully understood the cascading effects that would follow, leading to what is now the almost-complete dismantling of the once-beloved studio. But hey, it’s Disney’s world. We just live here.