It’s official, The Walt Disney Company now owns much of the assets of the former 21st Century Fox (the new Fox Corp kept some of the sports, local TV stations, and national News organizations). With a purchase price of $71B, you can be certain Disney executives want to show shareholders they’re getting value for their dollar. So expect some Fox properties to start showing up in the theme parks relatively soon.
Of course, being a humble Disney blogger, I couldn’t help draw up my own list of where Disney can get started integrating former Fox properties into its theme parks. While not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, it is an idea of how Disney can quickly start building some synergy and recouping that investment.
Everyone thinks Fox’s animated feature Anastasia is a Disney movie anyway. But I’d go a different direction than making it into a dark ride. Instead bring the Broadway musical production to a new theater in Disney Springs once it wraps its national tour. The Westside of Disney Springs needs Broadway caliber theater to compliment the music hall of the House of Blues and Cirque du Soliel show. There’s even a perfect plot of land right next to Cirque.
Night at the Museum
If Disney is looking around for a movie property to make the next great audio-animatronic boat ride, I present to you the Night at the Museum franchise. A complete trilogy of films already, with the potential for even more movies set in the world, Night at the Museum could turn out to be one of the hidden gems of the Fox acquisition. If you’re not familiar with the franchise, it involves the simple idea that after guest leave a museum, history comes alive – literally. This would be a fantastic addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios providing it a boat ride attraction, one type of ride it does not yet have.
When Andy Weir’s novel The Martian was made into a movie starring Matt Damon as the astronaut left behind on Mars who had to adapt to survive until rescue arrived even President Barack Obama called it great science fiction. Epcot’s Mission: Space already takes us to Mars, so why not incorporate The Martian into that pavilion. A little more ambitious plan would involve whole new ‘other worlds’ pavilion in Epcot that would include exhibits and attractions that explore what it will take for humankind to explore and colonize other planets and maybe one day other solar systems.
Disney now owns a controlling stake in National Geographic (Nat Geo) an entity that is more than just the magazine. It’s also a Television network with four sub-networks focused on wildlife, lifestyle, ethnic music, and children’s interests. Of all the Fox properties, this one fits Disney most like a glove. You could add the Nat Geo logo to any sign or attraction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and it wouldn’t be out of place. Making this move would lend the legacy of Nat Geo’s brand to Disney’s existing efforts and serve as brand awareness to everyone visiting the park. It could result in potentially 10s of thousands of new subscriptions to Nat Geo TV and magazine subscriptions a year. That’s a win-win.
In researching this article the number of amazing films and TV shows that Disney now owns the rights to is impressive. Everything from box office winners like “Independence Day” and “Braveheart,” to less well known, but equally marvelous films like “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” or “The Last of the Mohicans,” or vintage classics like “How Green was my Valley” (1941 Best Picture Oscar winner) or “The King and I” (with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr). There are dozens of gems in there waiting to be polished up and given new life with updated Blu-Ray releases or, as appropriate, remakes.
Are there any former Fox properties that Disney now owns that you’d like to see in the parks soon?