Of all the stories that have dominated the entertainment news cycle over the past couple of weeks, one of the biggest is the possibility that 21st Century Fox might be preparing to sell many of its entertainment assets off to Disney. In fact, it's possible a deal will be announced this week.
That means that all of Marvel Comics' superheroes — including the X-Men and the Fantastic Four — could finally be united under one banner on the big screen. It's something that has a lot of fans very excited (because who wouldn't want to see Reed Richards and Tony Stark butt scientific heads?), but not everyone is so confident about the possibilities.
Among them is Logan director James Mangold, who directed two Wolverine films for Fox as part of its X-Men universe. Speaking at a Logan screening event alongside stars Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, Mangold lamented the idea, fearing that the family-friendly Disney brand would cut down on storytelling possibilities by refusing to let creators tell R-rated superhero stories.
“If they’re actually changing their mandate, if what they’re supposed to do alters, that would be sad to me because it just means less movies,” he said. “I just hope what we end up with is going to be a positive in terms of movies.”
Logan, presented as the final film for Hugh Jackman's version of Wolverine, was a massive success. It earned more than $600 million worldwide as a bleak, R-rated superhero film, but while that success was heartening, Mangold fears a future in which Disney would never allow such a film to be made because of merchandising concerns.
“The real thing that happens when you make a movie rated R, behind the scenes, is that the studio has to adjust to the reality that there will be no Happy Meals. There will be no action figures,” Mangold said. “The entire merchandising, cross-pollinating side of selling the movie to children is dead before you even start. And when that’s dead, it means you’re making a grown-up movie.”
Now, there is no guarantee that Disney would ever truly rule out making R-rated superhero movies. They might even, one day, branch out their own imprint of adult comic book titles like the Marvel MAX brand. But Mangold has a point. Disney has been the pinnacle of family-friendly entertainment for decades, and if Fox sells its superheroes back to them, films like Logan and Deadpool (and the upcoming X-Force) could be things of the past. Yes, the films will likely still get made in some form, but we could be robbed of variety.
What do you think? Does Mangold have a point, or is he worried over nothing? Let us know in the comments!