Disney closed its $71.3 billion Fox deal in mid-March 2019, but what’s left of 20th Century Fox is already getting a slap on the wrist by its new parent company. According to a report from Variety, Walt Disney Co. had its quarterly earnings call and chief executive Bob Iger said that “the Fox studio performance … was well below where it had been and well below where we hoped it would be when we made the acquisition.”
The report goes on to cite box office busts like X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Stuber and The Art of Racing in the Rain, but were any of those expected to be smash hits going into release anyway? Plus, Variety also notes that finished Fox films aren’t having much luck finding studio support, putting them at even more of a disadvantage. The piece also goes on to claim that Disney is “unimpressed” with Josh Boone‘s New Mutants and labeled it a movie with “limited box office potential,” so don’t expect much support from The Mouse on that one.
Even though Disney’s quarterly report revealed a weak opening for the new Disneyland park, Galaxy’s Edge, the higher-ups still pointed a finger at the Fox film division when breaking the news to investors that per-share stock price and revenue projections were off. Disney has already nixed a good deal of big projects in development over at Fox, but the alarming result of this latest report, as Variety puts it, is that “Disney is prioritizing making more broadly commercial projects, which includes ongoing work on sequels to James Cameron’s Avatar and starry safe bets like the on-screen reunion of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in the drama The Last Duel.”
But at least we’re still getting bold content through the Fox Searchlight division, right? Yes – for now. While the article does note that Taika Waititi‘s Jojo Rabbit is expected to hit the awards circuit this year, some Disney executives already aren’t feeling it. Fox Searchlight has begun screening the film ahead of its Toronto International Film Festival debut and one executive reportedly “grew audibly uncomfortable,” concerned that Jojo Rabbit won’t appeal to Disney fans. Variety further explained, “His unease may have been over the film’s cutting-edge satire, but it was also an expression of the culture clash taking place as the two studios embark on their new union.”