Following the Disney/Fox merger last year, Disney is looking to drop the Fox name from all of its studios. This will effectively be the end of an era for one of the most iconic studios in Hollywood history, which originally formed in 1935 when Twentieth Century Pictures and Fox Film Corporation merged to form 20th Century Fox. Now, it's set to simply become 20th Century Studios as part of the larger Disney empire.
According to a new report, Disney is set to drop the Fox name from the various media assets it acquired in the merger, which went into effect last March. The biggest of these changes will be to the movie studio 20th Century Fox. Moviegoers have been familiar with the name and iconic logo for decades, as the studio was behind hits such as Die Hard, Alien, Star Wars: A New Hope and Titanic, amongst many others. The other big change will be to Fox Searchlight, the arthouse shingle that has produced memorable titles such as The Shape of Water, Little Miss Sunshine and (500) Days of Summer, just to name a few. It will simply become Searchlight Pictures. The indication is that Disney will keep the logos that we're familiar with as intact as possible, just with the new names in place.
This is a move that makes quite a bit of sense, as Disney wants to maintain its brand. However, this symbolically kills off one of Hollywood's major studios, which effectively, and more obviously, signifies that Disney has killed off some of its most fierce competition in the industry. Disney paid $71.3 billion to acquire Fox's media assets, which put them in control of a number of major franchises, including the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Planet of the Apes and many others. Plus, it has given them quite the leg-up in the streaming game, as they have more content to mine and Fox's stake in Hulu.
One question that remains is what will happen to 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television studios. There is no word yet on what the new names will be for those assets, or if they will change at all. It's noted that these changes have already started to take effect, as Searchlight employees have been given new addresses, and Fox.com has been replaced with searchlightpictures.com. It has even started in advertising, as the poster for the movie Downhill says "Searchlight Pictures presents" on it.
Aside from wanting to keep the brand consistent, Fox is a name synonymous with the Murdoch family. Fox didn't completely disappear in the merger. Fox News and other assets not included in the purchase are operating separate from Disney. The report suggests that Disney wants to distance itself from Rupert Murdoch and his synonymous association with the Fox name, given that Disney is historically a family company and the Murdoch's have weathered multiple public scandals through the years. This news comes to us via Variety.