Home Entertainment Disney slashes 20th Century Studios’ film production schedule

Disney slashes 20th Century Studios’ film production schedule

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When it comes to movies there are few sounds as iconic as the trumpeting fanfare that heralds a 20th Century Fox movie. When the lights go down and you hear those drums beat and the trumpets blare you know it’s time for the main attraction. So it’s with some genuine sadness that I’ve got to tell you to prepare to hear it a lot less in the future, courtesy of the new global overlords of entertainment over at Disney.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock larger than the entire planet you know that last year Disney acquired its former competitor 21st Century Fox, along with all its subsidiaries – and if you know anything about mergers and acquisitions, you know that changes were bound to occur. While comic book fans are delighted that Kevin Feige gets to play with the X-Men, over in the real world a few hundred people across various former Fox divisions have already lost their jobs following rounds of layoffs, and Fox 2000 Pictures – which released smaller independent fare and gave us movies like Hidden Figures and Life of Pi – will release its final movie in May before shutting down.

20th Century Fox, now rebranded as 20th Century Studios, has just lost its former vice-chairperson and head of production, Emma Watts, who resigned at the end of January. As per THR, Watts was dissatisfied with Disney’s recent decision to drastically reduce the studio’s movie production schedule and pivot it towards creating more content for Disney+ and Hulu. Over the last few years, the studio has released between ten to twenty movies per year, and this has now been slashed to four theatrical releases per year. It’s not altogether unsurprising though, given that Disney CEO Bob Iger stated last year August that he was unhappy with the performance of the Fox titles at the box office shortly after the high profile bomb that was Dark Phoenix.

This reduction will only really come into effect in 2021 for movie watchers though, as 20th Century Studios is still on track to release features like Kingsmen prequel The King’s Men, Ryan Reynolds’ Free Guy, The New Mutants (finally), Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, and a few others in 2020. As of right now the only real blockbuster-style movies we’ll see from the former big-six studio in the future are the Avatar sequels which are still on track for release in the upcoming years. So, if like me, you were still holding out faint hope that we might see an Alita: Battle Angel sequel, forget about it.

It’s the end of an era for the film studio that’s given us so much enjoyment over the years. As former Fox Filmed Entertainment CEO, Bill Mechanic, told THR:

“I don’t think the label means anything anymore. It’s a repository for rights to either remake pictures or use characters. You’re making four movies a year out of branded product.”

Cynical, sad, but true. So for old times’ sake:

Last Updated: February 5, 2020

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