Has Disney’s Treatment of Solo Teased How They Will Treat Future Fox Properties?
When it was announced that Disney were likely to buy out Fox, I was immediately enthralled by the positives of any deal between the two. The prospect of adding X-Men and the Fantastic Four to the Marvel Cinematic Universe had my imagination running wild.
But then the worries started setting in. Will every film feel like a Disney property; no swearing, light, quippy, family friendly? Will films start feeling bland as they become part of the Disney brand?
I’ve always been confident that this wouldn’t happen. Disney ultimately likes money, and they’ll do what makes the most of it. A Deadpool film that doesn’t curse or make crass sex jokes would get slaughtered and therefore not make as much money. An Alien film that isn’t dark and scary also wouldn’t make a lot of money.
When it comes to the creative side, I don’t have a lot of concerns about Disney’s treatment of Fox properties. It’s the marketing that worries me most.
When Disney acquires all these properties, it will inevitably end up competing with itself for advertising and commercial success. Our very own John Hoey wrote an article about Disney’s plans for the future of Star Wars, and it offers up a potentially worrying future for all the new properties that will soon come under the Disney banner.
There’s plenty of interesting tidbits in that article, but one thing that peaked my interest was their treatment of Solo: A Star Wars Story. John mentions that while Disney were happy to pay for the film’s extensive reshoots, they refused to budge when Lucasfilm requested to push the release date back to December 2018.
Of course, this meant that Solo had to come out on 25 May, three weeks after Avengers: Infinity War and one week after Deadpool 2. There are many theories as to why Solo didn’t do as well as previous Star Wars films, but it certainly wasn’t helped by the fact that it was forced into a situation where it was the third blockbuster in as many weeks, and the first of those was another Disney property.
This opens up a possibility that moviegoers might have had blockbuster fatigue. If you’ve already gone to the cinema twice in one month, you might not be so keen to head in a third time.
Now, if you properly market a film ahead of time, then you can let casual moviegoers plan ahead by putting it in their heads early on. Perhaps more people might have picked Solo over Deadpool 2 if it was marketed competently.
Unfortunately, Solo was not marketed well, and it’s something that many have criticised. John Hoey’s article actually tells us that one factor in play here was that Disney were not willing to let Solo interfere with their marketing plans for Infinity War, given that film came out three weeks before.
They weren’t necessarily wrong to do that, given that Infinity War had been hyped up for years and Solo had been given a lot of bad press around the sacking of its directors and extensive reshoots. Infinity War was always going to make more money, so I don’t blame Disney.
But by refusing to move Solo further away from Infinity War, Disney shot themselves in the foot. By the time Infinity War was released, Disney had only really done the bare minimum for Solo and released a couple of trailers (the first one dropped in February, three months before release, which didn’t give them a lot of lead time for promotion), so that only gave them three weeks to really push the film once Infinity War was out.
This particularly makes me wonder how Disney will handle situations such as this in the future. Granted, Solo had mitigating circumstances. It didn’t finish shooting until Fall 2017, which probably impacted the delayed release of its first trailer.
But what if Disney decide to reboot the Alien franchise, and end up scheduling it for release between the next Avengers film and the new Planet of the Apes film (because you know that reboot’s coming)? What do they prioritise?
Avengers is pretty much a guaranteed money maker, so how do they ensure that Alien gets the maximum coverage that it can? While this particular example may not happen, Disney will be getting their hands on so many properties that you can see this happening sooner or later. When you own nearly all the franchises that are coming out in the same month, how do you make sure each of them get fair treatment?
I’m sure Disney have thought about this and they’re probably smart enough not to let this become a permanent issue. But Solo shows that they’re clearly still capable of mistakes.
What do you think? Will Fox properties thrive or struggle to compete with all the other Disney properties out there? Let us know in the comments.