It’s official: Disney has acquired the film and television arms of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion.
Assuming regulators allow the deal to go through (it’s expected to take at least a year to close), Disney will own the rights to everything from the Avatar movies to FX’s The Americans. Fox, meanwhile, maintains the rights to Fox News, the Fox broadcast network, Fox Sports 1, and the gigantic Fox studio lot in Los Angeles. One of the six core studios that make up Hollywood has effectively been gobbled up by another, the biggest deal of its kind in decades (probably since the 1955 dissolution of RKO, since by the time MGM finally disappeared, it had been ailing for decades, unlike Fox). Variety marks it as the second-biggest merger ever after AOL-Time Warner.
Much casual interest in the sale has been driven by the fact that Disney will now own the film rights to the Marvel comics characters associated with the X-Men and Fantastic Four, which Marvel sold off to Fox long before either was a Disney subsidiary. (Marvel still doesn’t entirely own film rights to the Hulk — solo Hulk movies have to be produced with Universal, which is probably part of why there haven’t been any recently.) But Disney also now owns the rights to a bunch of other well-known cultural properties, including The Simpsons, the Alien franchise, and Alvin and the Chipmunks.