Usually, corporate mergers are very dry or indicate a shrinking level of competition which should be confronted and examined with great clarity — the AT&T/Time Warner merger for example. But a new report from CNBC (via Deadline) may be of great interest to Marvel movie fans awaiting the moment Reed Richards steps out of the Negative Zone and introduces himself to Tony Stark. It seems Fox may divest most of its media holdings to long-time rival The Walt Disney Company in a merger which would leave parent company 21st Century Fox with its news and sports divisions.
According to the report, talk of the merger — said to be an “on-again, off-again” thing for sometime — sent the stocks of 21st Century Fox soaring. It’s unclear why word of the potential merge stirred such interest on Wall Street at this particular moment, though. Granted, that world is built on just as many whispers and rumors as our own comic book and movie industries. Perhaps some Wall Street analysts are also excited to see the X-Men and the Fantastic Four join Disney’s successful Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Back in the 1990s, when Marvel was an independent and struggling company, it sold off the film rights to a number of their key properties in perpetuity. As long as studios like Fox and Sony continue to make movies based on certain characters at a certain interval, they can hold onto those properties forever. In the case of Fox, these properties were the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and Ghost Rider. The latter was returned to Marvel after Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was released to an apathetic market. But the other concepts continued to make money for the Fox (X-Men) or became part of a contest between rival corporate moguls (The Fantastic Four). And despite both companies agreeing to use Quicksilver, both also doubted they would ever strike a deal as seen with Sony loaning Spider-Man and some associated character back to Marvel.
But should the talk of the sale turn out to be true, who knows what could happen. Galactus and Doctor Doom would be a great Phase Five villains. Maybe we’ll finally get a Fantastic Four film set in the 1960s. Of course, these are just wild pie-in-the-sky ideas as the talk of merger is just that.
Can’t stop Marvel fans from dreaming, though, right?