With Disney having secured their $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox assets, they are turning their attention to projects they’re not so fond of. Having already shuttered Fox 2000, Disney studio chief Alan Horn is jettisoning a bunch of projects that were in development prior to the Disney deal.
The $170 million tentpole film Mouse Guard has already been cut and is being shopped around, while the Paul Greengrass–Tom Hanks collaboration News Of The World has been sold to Universal.
The adaptation of Angie Thomas‘ best-seller On The Come Up has been sold to Paramount. THR reports that the Woody Harrelson dramedy Fruit Loops, while still in the Disney fold right now, will almost certainly be sold, too.
The reasons for these decisions vary. Even though Mouse Guard was set for production in May, Disney believed that a $170 million budget for a non-franchise film was too high. On The Come Up was sold because the latest Thomas adaptation, The Hate U Give, lost over $30 million despite a $23 million budget.
Meanwhile, a number of projects greenlit in December and January by Fox film president Emma Watts – who’s now with Disney – will go ahead. They include the Kingsman prequel The Great Game, the low-budget horror film Fear Street, and Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story.
It’s becoming clear that Disney has very little interest in films that are not connected to a franchise, or do not already have a built-in audience of some kind. News Of The World is a prime example of a auteur-helmed, star-driven film that would have been a tentpole release twenty years ago. Now a major studio wants nothing to do with it.
However, for the right price, there are a few standalone films the Mouse House is developing. One Is Clint Eastwood‘s domestic terrorist drama The Ballad Of Richard Jewell, and another is the Ryan Reynolds–Shawn Levy collaboration Free Guy. However, those sorts of projects are few and far between.
A producer involved in a Fox-produced movie said: “We are now just only beginning to see how all this consolidation will change how movies get greenlit and made. They are looking at everything”.