Disney and Fox Coordinate Movie Release Plan

While the merger between Disney and Fox won’t happen for another few months, the two companies seem to be working together to organize a release schedule that minimizes competition between each other.


As of right now, the two parties are legally obligated to act as though a massive merger isn’t happening and operate like they won’t be the same company in a few months – business as usual, in other words. However, that’s not to say that both sides aren’t allowed to figure out a schedule where they won’t be competing with one another in the near future, and that’s resulted in a few schedule changes from both companies. Disney already pushed Jungle Cruise back a year, while The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Fox decided to push Alita: Battle AngelAd AstraDark Phoenix, and Stuber back a few months each, while Death on the Nile has been given a more extensive delay of nearly an entire year away from its original release date.


From now until 2025(!), the current release schedule for the next 75(!) Disney and Fox movie releases are as follows (with many dates subject to change and several projects to be added):

  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – 11/2/18
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – 11/2/18
  • Widows – 11/16/18
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet – 11/21/18
  • The Favourite – 11/23/18
  • Mary Poppins Returns – 12/19/18
  • The Deadpool Before Christmas – 12/21/18
  • The Kid Who Would Be King – 1/25/19
  • Alita: Battle Angel – 2/14/19
  • Captain Marvel – 3/8/19
  • Dumbo – 3/29/19
  • Breakthrough – 4/12/19
  • Penguins – 4/17/19
  • The Aftermath – 4/26/19
  • Avengers: Annihilation – 5/3/19
  • Aladdin – 5/24/19
  • Ad Astra – 5/24/19
  • Dark Phoenix – 6/7/19
  • Toy Story 4 – 6/21/19
  • Ford v. Ferrari – 6/28/19
  • Stuber – 7/12/19
  • The Lion King – 7/19/19
  • The New Mutants – 8/2/19
  • Artemis Fowl – 8/9/19
  • Spies in Disguise – 9/13/19
  • The Woman in the Window – 10/4/19
  • Kingsman 3 – 11/8/19
  • Frozen 2 – 11/27/19
  • Star Wars Episode IX – 12/20/19
  • The Call of the Wild – 12/25/19
  • Untitled Disney Live Action I – 2/14/20
  • Nimona – 2/14/20
  • Untitled Pixar Animation I – 3/6/20
  • Gambit – 3/13/20
  • Mulan – 3/27/20
  • Untitled Marvel Studios Movie I – 5/1/20
  • Maleficent 2 – 5/29/20
  • Untitled Pixar Animation II – 6/19/20
  • Untitled Fox/Marvel Movie – 6/26/20
  • Bob’s Burgers – 7/17/20
  • Jungle Cruise – 7/24/20
  • Death on the Nile – 10/2/20
  • Untitled Disney Live Action II – 10/9/20
  • Untitled Marvel Studios Movie II – 11/6/20
  • Ron’s Gone Wrong – 11/6/20
  • Untitled Disney Animation I – 11/25/20
  • Avatar 2 – 12/18/20
  • Untitled Disney Live Action III – 12/23/20
  • Untitled Disney Live Action IV – 2/12/21
  • Foster – 3/5/21
  • Untitled Disney Live Action V – 3/12/21
  • Untitled Marvel Studios Movie III – 5/7/21
  • Untitled Disney Live Action VI – 5/28/21
  • Untitled Pixar Animation III – 6/18/21
  • Indiana Jones 5 – 7/9/21
  • Untitled Marvel Studios Movie IV – 7/30/21
  • Untitled Disney Live Action VII – 10/8/21
  • Untitled Marvel Studios Movie V – 11/5/21
  • Untitled Disney Animation II – 11/24/21
  • Avatar 3 – 12/17/21
  • Untitled Disney Live Action VIII – 12/22/21
  • Untitled Marvel Studios Movie VI – 2/18/22
  • Untitled Pixar Animation IV – 3/18/22
  • Untitled Marvel Studios Movie VII – 5/6/22
  • Untitled Disney Live Action IX – 5/27/22
  • Untitled Pixar Animation V – 6/17/22
  • Untitled Disney Live Action X – 7/8/22
  • Untitled Marvel Studios Movie VIII – 7/29/22
  • Untitled Disney Live Action XI – 10/7/22
  • Untitled Disney Live Action XII – 11/4/22
  • Untitled Disney Animation III – 11/23/22
  • Untitled Disney Live Action XIII – 12/16/22
  • Untitled Disney Live Action XIV – 2/17/23
  • Avatar 4 – 12/20/24
  • Avatar 5 – 12/19/25

That’s quite a bit to digest here. THR is noting that Fox Searchlight and Fox 2000 will operate as-is post-merger, which should be a relief to people worried that they’d be forced to produce blockbuster after blockbuster with Mickey Mouse looking over their shoulder. James Cameron has tempered expectations by stating that Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 are only going to happen if Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 (which are currently being filmed back-to-back right now) are successes, and the December window for all four planned sequels is of benefit to James Cameron’s ambitious film series. Lucasfilm’s scheduling for the next few Star Wars releases – which we don’t know about and won’t until around next year’s Star Wars Celebration Chicago at the absolute earliest – should also be interesting to consider, as the December window has clearly worked for the franchise and potentially pushing back Avatar 3 a year might be a good idea if there’s a Star Wars movie ready to take its place.


Fox’s untitled June 2020 Marvel movie (which is most likely X-Force) may not even happen depending on the speed of the merger’s process, and apparently work on a Kingsman prequel is underway, so that ought to take one of Disney’s planned live-action release windows if a new one isn’t made. Gambit may or may not happen as well, given the project’s many ups and downs with its pre-production process over the course of nearly a decade of trying to get the damn thing made. Reports indicate that Fox is currently making one last push that one to begin filming in February 2019, since the script on the project has long since been complete and it’s effectively now or never for the movie. As long as the movie starts production before the merger is finalized, Disney will have to complete it once the takeover is complete.


But also worth noting is that there are still a few notable scheduling conflicts here for both parties to deal with. Obviously, it’s way too late for both Fox and Disney to do anything about the Nutcracker versus Queen matchup happening in the first weekend of this November, or the Mary Poppins and Deadpool showdown ahead. Ad Astra is a weird case in that its original release date wasn’t competitive with what Disney were doing and it’s instead flying right into Aladdin‘s path, pushing Stuber to a week before the release of The Lion King as a result. The good news is that many of these conflicts do not feature “battles” between similar demographics, and as such, there shouldn’t be overlap between them.


A potential move that could be made to ensure maximum profitability for these movies would be to take Ron’s Gone Wrong and get it as far away from a Marvel movie as possible. Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 are clearly a priority, so the live-action remakes set to follow those releases right now will likely move into their respective April windows for 2021 and 2022 respectively, much like how Death on the Nile is getting away from Star Wars Episode IX. After that should be pretty smooth sailing for Fox and Disney to figure out their future affairs, given that so few Fox release dates have been scheduled past 2020 and that other competitors aren’t staking their claims that far just yet.


The deal is currently on-track to finalize in the first half of 2019, with some reports suggesting that it may happen sooner rather than later. As of right now, things are looking pretty bright, as the deal only needs to be approved in a few more international regions in order to fully take effect.