Geek circles were sent into a frenzy with the report of Walt Disney being in negotiations to acquire various entertainment divisions and properties of 21st Century Fox. And though the House of Mouse has many reasons for this purchase, one reason stands out to many comic book fans.
In the wake of this news going public, Wall Street Journal is stating a reason for this purchase is to secure the rights of Marvel properties that Fox has the rights to like the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises.
The report states that buying Fox will bring Disney a significant asset that will make it a more formidable competitor in TV and film. Under a deal that dates back to the 1990s, Fox controls big- and small-screen rights to Marvel’s X-Men and characters who have appeared in the comic books and Fantastic Four.
But getting two of the popular properties under the Studios banner was but one of the reasons driving the negotiations, according to the report, as Disney wants to compete with Netflix in the streaming game.
Disney has announced its plans to launch 2 different streaming services. One will be an ESPN-branded service offering coverage of sports, and the other will offer television shows and movies produced by Disney.
Though Disney has a deal to stream their movies on Netflix, it expires in 2018 and the company does not plan on renewing it and opts instead to use their own service and compete with Netflix.
But one area where they have trouble is in the television offerings. Netflix is seen more as a threat with the investment into original series and now that shows like Stranger Things and Making a Murderer have become successful, it is more of a challenge.
The report states that sources familiar with negotiations say that talks have stopped and they are not sure if they will be picked up again. And even if they do, nothing shall be finalized until a deal is agreed to and ink on the contracts is dry.