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It’s been almost a year since Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox and we’ve already seen both the positive and negative effects of this landmark deal. Disney+ has been stacked with content from Fox and the X-Men are on their way, but people have lost their jobs and intriguing projects have been axed. Now another major change is taking place as Disney is dropping Fox’s name completely in a sweeping rebranding.
According to Variety, the Walt Disney Company is drastically altering the branding for the 21st Century Fox assets the company acquired last year in a $71.3 billion deal. The ‘Fox’ name will be dropped from the Disney’s film assets as the mega-studio moves into the future. The film studio 20th Century Fox will become 20th Century Studios and Fox Searchlight Pictures will become Searchlight Pictures.
Yes, much like in Disney’s 1981 film The Fox and the Hound, anecdotally known as the saddest movie of all time, the fox is being left behind in the wilderness of Hollywood history, with no place left for it with Big Mama in a rapidly changing industry. The erasure of Fox is a highly symbolic change and one that reflects the magnitude of Disney’s acquisition and the new status quo.
The changes are already being put into effect too. Email addresses for staffers at Fox Searchlight Pictures now end with @searchlightpictures.com instead of the @fox.com address they once did. On the poster for the upcoming Fox Searchlight Pictures production Downhill, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell, the credits read “Searchlight Pictures Presents” with not a ‘Fox’ to be seen.
Downhill releases on Valentine’s Day and will be the first Searchlight film to sport the new Fox-less logo. On the 20th Century Fox side of things, the Harrison Ford film The Call of the Wild will debut under the new 20th Century branding. These new logos will largely retain the aesthetic of their predecessors, sans the Fox of course.
Thankfully, although the name will be missing a word and the design will be slightly altered, it seems that the 20th Century logo will retain the swirling klieg lights and glorious fanfare that made the logo such an iconic part of film culture. The 20th Century Fox logo played in front of classics like the original Star Wars, Avatar and Home Alone and although the Fox is gone, at least we can still look forward to hearing that music when we go to the theater.
So although Disney is seemingly keeping the studios around, allowing the company to offer different and more adult fare that wouldn’t fit under the family-friendly Disney logo, the Fox branding is being erased, at least on the cinematic side of things.
What is unknown at present is whether or not this change will also take place at the small screen level. Apparently a final decision has yet to be made regarding 20th Century Fox Television or Fox 21 Television Studios, but discussions are underway on that matter. Should Disney ultimately decide to apply this rebranding to those entities as well, one imagines they would become 20th Century Television and 21 Television studios.
I don’t see why Disney wouldn’t just make this change across the board, but I suppose we’ll see. While this is a big rebranding, it is not a particularly surprising one. Although the Mouse may want arms that don’t have the Disney branding, that doesn’t mean the company wants the Fox branding.
When Disney purchased the 21st Century Fox’s assets from Fox Corp., it didn’t purchase every single thing owned by Fox that sported the Fox name. The Fox broadcast network and Fox News remained under Fox Corp. and that could lead to some confusion regarding what’s what and who owns what. The average person may assume it’s all one company and conflate them, which is not what Disney wants.
Disney wants to be completely in control of its assets and how they’re perceived in the marketplace and with two Fox’s roaming around, that simply wasn’t possible. So Disney will move forward with 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures.
Check out what Disney, 20th Century and all of the studios have on tap for this year in our 2020 Release Schedule and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest movie news.