You might say this is Fantastic news for Disney and Marvel fans.
According to Deadline, 21st Century Fox is close to selling the majority of its assets to the Mouse House in a blockbuster deal worth an estimated $68 billion (!) that is about to put a very big smile on the face of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.
That's because the historic merger would see Disney assume control of film studio 20th Century Fox and finally get its hands on its long-sought-after X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises — the cinematic rights to which Marvel had sold two decades ago when it was forced into bankruptcy before becoming the juggernaut film studio it is today.
That's in addition to Disney also acquiring the four Avatar sequels James Cameron has in the works that, when released, will likely help the Magic Kingdom earn back the money it's spending to buy this massive chunk of Rupert Murdoch's media empire. The sale also includes other 21st Century Fox assets including its TV studio, 20th Century Fox TV, FX, and National Geographic cable networks group, regional sports networks, and Murdoch's 30 percent stake in Hulu.
But the crown jewel from a Marvel perspective is Fox's X-Men universe, whose films have grossed nearly $5 billion worldwide at the box office.
Per Deadline's report, Feige is supposedly psyched at the prospect of weaving many of Marvel's most famous mutants like Professor X, Magneto, Jean Grey, Wolverine, and Storm into the current Marvel Cinematic Universe — in the same way the studio head incorporated Sony's Spider-Man into Captain America: Civil War and followed that up with a Marvel-produced solo outing, Spider-Man: Homecoming. And of course, Spidey will be appearing in Marvel Avengers: Infinity War, due out next year.
But there's also major fun to be had with the Fantastic Four, which has been sidelined the past year or so after the critical and box-office drubbing that the Josh Trank-directed 2015 reboot received. For many fans, Marvel's First Family has never been given the proper big-screen treatment it deserves under the Fox banner. And when Marvel briefly halted publishing the Fantastic Four comic book series in 2014 and stopped marketing them entirely, diehards speculated the move was out of spite for its inability to get the rights back from Fox, which was seen to be sullying the brand with subpar movies (in reality, the comic was plagued by poor sales).
Now that Johnny Storm and Company could soon to be back in the Marvel movie fold, the prospect for a new Fantastic Four film looks good again, so much that Captain America himself, Chris Evans, tweeted his own pitch for a crossover movie featuring a "Cap/Human Torch buddy comedy spin-off."
But wait! There's more. With the acquisition, Disney will also be assuming ownership of such would-be Fox blockbusters on the docket as X-Men: Dark Phoenix, New Mutants, Deadpool 2, X-Force, Gambit, and the James Franco vehicle Multiple Man.
Add Fox's Marvel properties and Avatar films to the torrent of Star Wars, Pixar, and live-action fare Disney releases on a regular basis and the studio will cement itself a media empire that will allow it to compete with streaming giants like Netflix, which is said to be spending $7 billion on original content next year — more than last year's gross revenue of the top three Hollywood studios combined.