Disney Retiring Fox 2000; Fox Facing Growing Pains as Disney Subsidiary
As Disney restructures their company following their successful acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the studio has decided to retire the Fox 2000 label. Meanwhile, Paul Feig is set to leave Fox right after Disney took over and will now work for Universal as Disney announce their new lineup of executives.
Deadline reports that the Fox 2000 label – which has produced movies such as Life of Pi, The Fault in Our Stars, Hidden Figures, and The Hate U Give – is going to be dissolved. It was previously believed that head executive Elizabeth Gabler was going to continue leading the label into the Disney era, but now it appears that she’ll only be a producer in a best-case scenario. Director Joe Wright’s The Woman in the Window, starring Gary Oldman and Amy Adams, will be the last film released under the label.
While many have expressed excitement toward Disney acquiring Fox due to what it means for franchises like Marvel and Star Wars, as well as new life for franchises like Alien and Predator, others have cautioned that jobs will be on the chopping block, with between 4,000 and 10,000 layoffs expected to pare $2B in consolidation costs. Fox 2000 is one of the more surprising casualties of the merger, considering that it was initially expected that jobs that were deemed as being redundant were the only ones that were set to be cut.
Some worry that this might mean that Fox Searchlight may also be on the chopping block. To this, I’d say not to be too worried. Bob Iger has repeatedly spoken favorably of Fox Searchlight, and sees it as a valuable asset to the company going forward. However, Iger also noted that Fox 2000 had a place at Disney, and it looks like that’s not the case mere days after the ink dried on the deal. Fox Searchlight’s reputation for being a beloved producer of content that ends up being prime for the awards season should probably keep it afloat, as the company has produced several buzzy, premium movies on modest budgets.
Right now, it’s not clear what this means for the staff reporting to Gabler, as the decision to shut Fox 2000 down happened on short notice. Disney will complete the other films that are in-production at Fox 2000, but it seems as though they might be distributed under either the classic 20th Century Fox banner or the Fox Searchlight banner on a case-by-case basis. As for films that were in-development, but were not yet at a filming stage, it’s not clear if those movies will be cancelled or redeveloped under a new label. It’s entirely possible that some projects could go directly to streaming, since Disney are heavily emphasizing developing their direct-to-consumer platforms. Disney’s Alan Horn will ultimately make the final call on these projects.
Deadline also adds that Paul Feig has decided to jump ship and take his chances at Universal instead of at Fox. His label, FeigCo, is set to move over to one of Disney’s biggest rivals and the company behind the largest counter-bid to their initial offer to take over Fox. Upcoming movies that Feig is involved with include Last Christmas, 24-7, and False Alarm. Conversely, labels that are expected to stay at Disney-Fox include Chernin Entertainment, 21 Laps, and Scott Free. Among the other executives who have been dismissed from Fox are Andrew Cripps (Fox International Distribution Head), Dan Berger (Fox Corporate Communications Executive Vice President), Jim Fielding (Fox Consumer Products Chief), Greg Meidel (Fox Television President), and Chris Aronson and Spencer Kline (Fox Domestic Distribution President and Fox Domestic Distribution Executive Vice President, respectively).
In addition, the services of Heather Phillips (Fox Executive Vice President and Head of Domestic Publicity), Mike Dunn (Fox President of Product Strategy and Consumer Business Development), Bob Cohen (Executive Vice President of Fox Legal Affairs and Executive Vice President of Fox Stage Productions), Michelle Marks (Senior Vice President of Fox Media Promotions), Pam Levine (President of Worldwide Marketing), Kevin Campbell (Co-President of Worldwide Marketing), and Tony Sella (Chief Creative Officer of Worldwide Marketing) are no longer required. Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch has promised laid-off employees generous severance packages.
Grant Davis is a freelance writer who has covered entertainment news for more than four years. His articles have frequently appeared in Star Wars News Net as well as as other entertainment-related websites. As someone who grew up on Star Wars and comic book movies, he’s completely thrilled with the current era of genre entertainment.