When Titans Merge: Disney and Comcast are after (the) Fox

June 20, 2018

When Titans Merge: Disney and Comcast are after (the) Fox*

Comics fans are familiar with the title “When Titans Clash”! Most people associate it with Marvel in the 1960s (where it was used several times), although I believe it originated with a Superman comic in the 1940s. In that case, it was Superman versus Lex Luthor.

Well, nowadays Lex Luthor would probably stage a hostile takeover of the bottle city of Kandor, giving him control of a lot of Kryptonians to battle Supes. 😉

There are titans today…and they are companies.

The Department of Justice recently opposed a merger of AT&T and Time-Warner…and the judge shot it down definitively, even basically chastising the DoJ for bringing the case and warning them not to try to get a stay.

Shortly after that decision came down, Comcast made a bid to purchase (parts of) 21st Century Fox…challenging an existing Disney bid.

It’s easy to make a snap judgement that Fox should go with Disney…you know, I’m sure many people think of Disney as an entertainment company (like Fox), and Comcast as a service provider, but it’s not as simple as that.

Let’s frame this some different ways:

“ABC and NBC both bid for another TV network”

In August of 1995, Disney announced a $19 billion bid for ABC (the American Broadcasting Company), which also included Cap Cities.

In March 2013, Comcast bought NBC/Universal after owning part of it.

If we look at it that way, is Fox more like ABC or NBC? ABC has cultivated a family friendly reputation (though that’s not all they do, of course), while Fox was sort of the anti-ABC when it started. This isn’t clearcut…

“Battle of the theme parks: Universal Studios challenges Disneyland”

Would the Simpsons fit better at Universal Studios or at Disneyland? I’d say the former…but Fox’s Marvel assets fit better with Disney’s Marvel assets for theme park rides. An X-Men ride would work well at Disney parks…and Mickey Wolverine seems obvious…

This all reminds me of one of my favorite things: the great geeky magazine, Psychotronic Video used to have “Still not a part of AOL Time-Warner” on its cover. 😉

I think Fox ends up going with Disney (I would, even though Comcast is offering an interesting sort of insurance if the deal got quashed).

So, let’s just talk movies for now: if Disney merged with Fox, who could challenge them in terms of franchises?

What are top-grossing franchises, according to

Box Office Mojo

?

  1. Marvel Cinematic Universe [Disney]
  2. Star Wars [Disney]
  3. Harry Potter extended [Warner]
  4. Batman [Warner]
  5. X-Men (including Deadpool) [Fox]
  6. “Disney Live Action Reimaginings” [Disney]
  7. James Bond [Sony currently…formerly MGM before, and yes, WB did Never Say Never Again]
  8. Spider-Man [Sony: a deal has been worked out for Spidey to appear with Disney’s Avengers]
  9. Middle-Earth [Warner]
  10. The Avengers [Disney]
  11. DCEU [Warner]
  12. The Fast and the Furious [Universal (Comcast)]
  13. Transformers [Paramount/Dreamworks]
  14. Pirates of the Caribbean [Disney]
  15. The Hunger Games [Lionsgate]
  16. Shrek [Paramount/Dreamworks]
  17. Jurassic Park [Universal (Comcast)]
  18. Star Trek [Paramount/Dreamworks]
  19. Twilight [Summit Lionsgate]
  20. Despicable Me [Universal (Comcast)]

For movies, then, Disney-Fox would be challenged by…Universal (and Warner, among others).

Eventually, it may all become like the original Rollerball movie…where there is one giant “Energy” corporation. 😉

Oh, and this was my tweet (@bufocalvin) when Disney first announced that it was going after Fox:


My crossover: Rocket Raccoon steals the Banzai Institute’s time machine, robs Mos Eisley, accidentally creating a history where Dr. Doom is President. Link Hogthrob teams with Riff Raff, using Seth Brundle tech, to set things right. 😉


 

*This one is a bit obscure, but there is a Peter Sellers movie named “After the Fox”. I didn’t think it was a great movie…but I did love the ending. 

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The Emmys are really geeky this year…but is that new?

September 17, 2017

The Emmys are really geeky this year…but is that new?

We are a few hours away from the 2017

The Emmys

broadcast, and I was struck by how geeky it was. I @bufocalvin tweeted

Confusing people from the 1950s: “The show with the robots might win Best Drama @TheEmmys because the dragon show isn’t eligible*.”

😉

That fits my personal narrative that geek-friendly content is becoming more mainstream and more respected. Oscar winning actors have no compunction about appearing in geek-friendly franchises, the box office is dominated (even in awards-friendly December) by geek-friendly works, and streaming companies are investing millions in shows based on comic books and science fiction/fantasy books.

However, I always like to question my own beliefs, so I decided to go back and look. Was it really true that Best Drama Series (that title has changed repeatedly, but I’ll use that for simplicity’s sake) tended to be mainstream, mundane series? I was guessing it might be anthology shows that seemed to almost reproduce Broadway plays, but I wasn’t sure.

Let’s set the comparison: this year, there are seven nominees, and three of them are undeniably geek-friendly: The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, and Westworld (43% geek-friendly…GF).

We’ll jump back ten years at a time:

2006-2007 (20% GF)

  • Boston Legal
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Heroes (GF)
  • House
  • The Sopranos

1996-1997 (20% GF)

  • Chicago Hope
  • ER
  • Law & Order
  • NYPD Blue
  • The X-Files (GF)

1986-1987 (0% GF)

  • Cagney & Lacey
  • L.A. Law
  • Moonlighting
  • Murder She Wrote
  • St. Elsewhere

1976-1977  (0% GF)

  • Baretta
  • Columbo
  • Family
  • Police Story
  • Upstairs, Downstairs

1966-1967 (60% GF)

  • The Avengers (GF)
  • I Spy (? I can’t remember for sure if they encountered science fiction inventions, so I won’t count it)
  • Mission: Impossible (GF)
  • Run for Your Life
  • Star Trek (GF)

1956 (there aren’t 1957 nominees…the system was considerably revamped for 1958 to separate shows with continuing characters and anthology shows, since the latter kept getting all the nominations. By the 1960s, they were combined again, and by the mid-1960s, shows with continuing characters were solidly in the nomination process)

  • Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre
  • Climax!
  • Producers’ Showcase
  • Studio One
  • The United States Steel Hour

So, it looks like my feeling was right, at least based on this methodology. In the beginning (with the exception of the super-geeky 1960s), there were no GF nominees for Best Drama. From the 1970s-through the twenty-oughts, there there were 20%. This year, there are more than twice that…

* I don’t want to suggest here that, if Game of Thrones was in the running, it would automatically win. I have made a couple of attempts to get into GoT, and it just hasn’t grabbed me. I am slowly making my way through it (I feel it is my geek cultural responsibility). 😉 On the other hand, I’m really enjoying Westworld (which I’ve just started watching…we only recently got access to current HBO shows). I liked the original movie, but so far, the plotting on this is solid, the direction is good, and I’m enjoying the acting. This isn’t the actual comparison, but if it was first episode of GoT versus first episode of Westworld, I know what I’d pick…

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