The year 2019 saw the biggest acquisition story in the combined TV-Film media industry to ever occur in history, technically something like the closest corporate equivalent of the historical Louisiana Purchase. In that year, The Walt Disney Company acquired the 20th Century Fox movie studios and several other key media assets from their parent company 21st Century Fox. Not only did Disney bring a major film studio under its massive umbrella, it also regained one of the biggest pieces in the Marvel movie-rights pie. But such an epic move comes with massive changes, particularly with the now-subsidiary 20th Century Fox.
And what exactly the future holds for the Fox film studios was revealed in Friday last week according to CNBC. Seeing as the Fox name is a major label for motion pictures (since 1935), Disney has decided to actually drop that name on the studio and some of its affiliate firms. As of January 17, 20th Century Fox has been renamed to just 20th Century Studios. At the same time, the Fox Searchlight Pictures sister studio, which specializes in independent and Euro/British movie productions, will now be simply called Searchlight Pictures. All this comes in the wake of Disney actively removing mentions of “Fox” on company email addresses and posters.
The House of Mouse has yet to provide further comments from the announcement of the Fox name change. What is known however is despite the removal of Fox, certain design elements of these film studios will remain. For instance, the iconic searchlight studio id that opens Fox and Searchlight-produced movies will not go away, but instead be altered to remove, again, the Fox name. Furthermore, no action has been taken as yet regarding changing the names of sister TV-production companies 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios, also part of the original acquisition.
Disney’s Fox media asset acquisition from last year was finalized following a final discussion phase from October 2018 to March 2019. It took the global multimedia juggernaut the sum of $71 billion to complete the deal, with the assets that were not included, including Fox Broadcasting, Fox News and Fox Sports, remaining under the rebranded Fox Corp. under the Murdoch family. Analysts have opined that the distancing from the still-active Fox media company by the House of Mouse was to preserve its neutral, family-friendly image to avoid association with more politically-leaning firms like Fox News.
Image courtesy of Variety